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The Future of Customer Communications Management: Rethinking Document Generation Software

Neal Keene | January 16, 2019

If you’re like me, you’re old enough to remember the era of Document Output Management as a software category used 10 years ago. And you’ve also seen it evolve into what analysts renamed Customer Communications Management (CCM) a few years later – reflecting the shift from printed documents to digital channels. These days, the market is in the midst of another major shift – and the reality is that your CCM (or document generation) software may be holding you back from true digital transformation. Are you ready?

What is Customer Communications Management Software?

If you’re not familiar, CCM software enables automated production of any personalized content, from simple bank statements or travel visas, to complex contracts and insurance policies, to basic customer correspondence. In many circles, “doc gen” is still the shorthand covering a wide variety of applications.

However, most companies still use CCM software to produce and send those communications in batch. This is often a manual process where you upload data files and then your software cranks out personalized letters or statements by the thousands or even millions.

The challenge is that today’s digitally savvy customers, partners and other stakeholders not only expect you to communicate instantly on demand – via SMS, email, web, digital PDFs, and sometimes even print – they also want a real-time response – often across multiple channels at once – that are tailored to their specific needs. They want to complete their transactions quickly – maybe even sign that agreement over a mobile device – and move onto other things.

Here are some examples of documents or agreements that can be produced on demand in real time:

Customer Acquisition

  • New account or other application confirmations
  • Custom quotes and proposals
  • Contracts
  • Negotiated loan agreements
  • License registrations

New Customer / Partner / Employee Onboarding

  • Policy or other enrollment documents and completions
  • Cross-sell and up-sell offers
  • Know Your Customer (KYC) verifications
  • Automated billing setup
  • Welcome kits

Customer Service

  • Claims / first notice of loss confirmations
  • Self-service account updates
  • “Skip a payment” or payoff requests
  • Financial Statements of Advice (SOAs)

Why Does On-Demand Document Generation Matter?

The faster you deliver a quote, policy or contract upon request, the more likely it is you will win new customers, retain more of your existing ones and grow your business. This need for speed is one of the reasons companies are looking to rethink their CCM software.

Analysts like Gartner agree. “Customer communications management (CCM) tools and strategies are evolving from a focus on static, printed output and a unidirectional, broadcast model, to a more dynamic, interactive model in which communications are delivered on demand via multiple channels,” Gartner wrote in “Three Steps to Enrich the Customer Experience With Contextualized Communications.”

“Customer communications management (CCM) tools and strategies are evolving from a focus on static, printed output and a unidirectional, broadcast model, to a more dynamic, interactive model in which communications are delivered on demand via multiple channels.” –Gartner

This focus on speed is also a function of the growing role of mobile devices in transacting business. Even if your CCM software can deliver SMS output, it may not be able to deliver that text message based on a form submission. That’s why it’s so important to connect CCM outputs with the inputs you can get from guided forms.

Determining the ROI of Updating Your CCM Software

One of the easiest ways to know if it is time to switch to next-gen CCM relates to your use of people and manual processes. To know if your traditional CCM is forcing you into over-reliance on outdated, manual efforts, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do we have dozens (or more) operations staff who spend time reviewing contracts?
  • Do we have multiple staff members manually assembling content fragments into a single template?
  • Do we still rely on staff to “push” content to multiple parties in a transaction?
  • Do we still depend on non-automated and non-digitized creation of complex documents?

If the answer is “Yes” to any of these questions, you are falling behind the market in terms of speed and agility.

With next-gen CCM solutions, you can incorporate interviews to capture new information and inputs throughout the business process, even when content exists in different parts of the business and needs to be assembled into a single communication.

When you make it easier for customers, prospects, and partners to conduct business with you in all these different areas of the business, you will earn loyalty and far greater customer long-term value (LTV).

The Future of Customer Communications Management

This post on delivering real-time, personalized customer communications is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recognizing all the ways legacy CCM falls short of your company’s modern, on-demand needs.

In fact, we actually identified seven common pitfalls for traditional CCM tools. Download our 7 Ways Your CCM Solution Fails eBook to dive deeper into this topic.

If you’re looking to update or modernize your document generation systems to meet digital demands, let us show you a demo.


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