It’s spring 2015. At InfoTrends, my previous employer, I had just completed a major landmark study on the State of the Customer Engagement market. The research surveyed 800 enterprise professionals across Western Europe and North America, who had a responsibility for producing, managing and delivering customer communications. The sample was a good mix of IT executives and business professionals – marketers, business analysts, head of departments. It also struck a good balance in terms of the various types of communications that you will find in an enterprise organization: transactional documents (bills, statements), mobile / web driven messages as part of business processes, business correspondence, and marketing communications (e-mail / direct mail).
The results were phenomenal: it confirmed all of our thinking, but most importantly, it very obviously showed that enterprises are overwhelmed by the complexities of adapting their customer communications to the requirements of today’s consumer. Under pressure from new consumer demographics (i.e. Millennials and Gen-Z), the shift to mobile, and increasingly from digital disruption by their competitors, virtually every enterprise has now embarked on a digital transformation journey. The primary goal is to improve the customer experience (CX), as this so often leads to higher business performance. To improve the CX well, underlying business processes need to be digitized, business models re-invented, and all customer interactions need to be mapped and understood, as shown in the graphic below.
While the objectives are clear, the road to get there is a difficult one to travel, especially for enterprises in the traditional B2C markets (financial services, insurance, utilities, telcos). There are many challenges around how IT and Marketing should work together, how to deal with legacy and compliance, how to overcome organizational boundaries, and how to deal with risk and governance.
Going back to the research, and thinking about how digital transformation will be the biggest business initiative for the years ahead, I realized that digital transformation for businesses in mature B2C markets will only achieve its full potential if the underlying communication issues are properly tackled. There is no point in streamlining a business process so that it can be readily adapted to new market requirements if it then takes 3 months (actual market averages!) to make the required back-office communication changes.
So this brings me to the vision of the company: Transforming the last mile of customer communications for success in overall digital transformation. This is broader than just technology – it requires alignment of people, processes and technology. It requires an understanding of what Customer Experience means from a customer communications perspective, what a centralized CCM platform can bring, how existing restrictions in terms of legacy, risk and compliance can be mitigated, and how global best practices around governance and organizational alignment (i.e. CCM Center of Excellence) can be adapted to your business context. It is my belief that CCM has the potential to become a mainstream component of Customer Experience Management, and my vision is to make that happen.