Two major trends are currently dominating the development of customer communication. These will be focused on within this publication and possible responses to them explained.
DIGITAL COMMUNICATION CHANNELS ARE DIVERSIFYING EVER FASTER
While the digitization of customer communications in many industries has progressed more slowly than many expected over the past few years, it is currently gaining speed. However, there is no 1:1 shift – for example, from print to email channels. The new contact channels are more diverse than paper-based communication was. In addition to e-mail channels of different quality and security levels, contact options such as instant messaging, chat platforms incl. their automation in the form of chatbots and comprehensive customer portals are gaining in importance. It is interesting to note that
the decline in e-mail communication, even before it is likely to have reached its peak, is already being forecast with similar clarity as was the case at the beginning of the noughties regarding the decline in paper-based communication (read more on that in our Inacta Output Management Benchmark 2020).
In order to be able to react to the development described, omnichannel-compatible systems are required that enable the integration of the digital channels mentioned and at the same time eliminate the demarcation between mass and individual correspondence. The latter is also necessary to ensure the highest possible degree of automation where possible and, conversely, to achieve a decisive degree of individualization where this is technically necessary.
Setting up and operating such customer communication services requires experience and specific know-how, which brings us to the second trend.
BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURING IS BECOMING MORE COMMON
Complex, omnichannel output platforms place significantly higher demands on architecture, operation, and maintenance. Classic, transactional printing used to be comparatively static from host systems, both in terms of content and technology. As modern organizations continue to focus on their core business areas, it is obvious that the operation of these omnichannel-capable output platforms should be handed over to specialized service providers. A trend toward business process outsourcing (BPO) is emerging, in which both the operation of the output service and the development of the templates used there for omnichannel communication are taken over by service providers. This also includes any execution of print and dispatch orders for the paper mail channel, so that, if the underlying contracts are intelligently designed, cost savings can be achieved by
shifting to digital channels.
The prerequisites for successful BPO models, as described above, are a minimal degree of business maturity of the departments placing the orders and a specification basis that is neatly managed in terms of both processes and tools. By means of these, the control of the selected service provider can be transparent and precise, and potential frictional losses are reduced to a minimum.
Deputy Unit Manager Business Consulting
Head Output Management & Insurance