The right communication management system is a key to maximizing efficiency in customer communications. Comms insiders understand that a modern ComOps platform is the way to go. But how do you get the rest of your organization on board?

Elixir’s Solution Architect Brent Augustus, and Account Executive Greg Tschida put their heads together. They came up five tips for implementing a ComOps platform in enterprise organizations.

You can get everyone on your team thinking and talking about better communications strategy with these tips, no matter where your organization is in its communications maturity.

Brent and Greg have decades of combined experience in digital transformation and solution implementation. They’ve seen this process work!

This month’s webinar is all about how you can do it too.

The 5 tips on improving your customer communications process that are covered in this webinar:

  1. Find sponsors within the organization who will advocate for your comms solution. Early buy-in at the C-level will ensure a successful project.
  2. Organize stakeholders. ComOps can benefit teams across your organization, so it’s important to have as many stakeholder groups at the table as possible.
  3. Define business requirements of a new ComOps platform. Figure out all the challenges an organization needs to meet, so that the solution can be tailored to your strategy.
  4. Find a single ComOps platform that satisfies your customer communications strategy. Find a platform that intuitively meets the needs of your users and is as strategically forward thinking as your company.
  5. Start with achievable goals: Pick the low hanging fruit. Starting small will ensure an organization gets fast ROI. Early success can be expanded upon and built up into more complicated projects.

TIP 1: Find Sponsor Within Your Organization Who Will Advocate for Your Comms Solution

Customer communications strategy can be a great idea. A C-suite sponsor can be the difference between a good idea and successful digital transformation.

It’s usually the folks doing the hard work of customer communications who see the opportunity for improvement. But they don’t always have the authority to make structural change happen by themselves.

A sponsor in the leadership team can make all the difference.

What to look for in a sponsor:

  • Authority: C-suite sponsors, like a VP of Communications or Market Strategy, will lend credibility and authority to your comms solution. Their authority will also help to gather other stakeholders later in the process.
  • Strategic Line-of-sight: Higher level executives have foresight into your company’s future communications initiatives. This will help you tailor a comms solution to your company’s future growth (and present the solution to stakeholders!)
  • Budget Input: Executive sponsors have sway over budget. Also, they can operate across business units and pull financial support from other teams that will benefit from the upgrade.

TIP 2. Organize Stakeholders

A ComOps platform can transform the way your whole company communicates with your clients or members. Get input and buy-in from as many stakeholders you can.

Be the change you want to see in your company.

Reach out to other teams! Find out what your stakeholders could gain from a move to ComOps.

Stakeholders vary company to company. Here are some of the teams that you might want to talk to:

  • Product management
  • Marketing
  • Compliance/legal (especially in regulated industries)
  • Business users
  • Subject matter experts (who work with regulating bodies and changing requirements)
  • IT Services (the ones who will connect the systems behind the scenes)

IMPORTANT! Don’t leave out your end users. You know, the ones who will be using the new platform day-to-day. Talk to customer service representatives, contact center staffers, sales agents, and customer consultants.

Talking to as many stakeholders as possible will ensure cross-department buy-in when you propose the new platform.

TIP 3. Define Your Business Requirements

Talk to your stakeholders and make a list of features you want in a ComOps platform. Or, list the challenges in your customer communications strategy that you want to address with your digital transformation.

Think about User Stories.

This is similar to the marketing concept of customer journey mapping. Some helpful questions to ask every stakeholder are:

  • Who are the users in your group, and what are their day-to-day activities?
  • From the time a user logs in to the time they log out, what tools are they using?
  • Who are they collaborating with?
  • What are they collaborating on?
  • What are they accomplishing by the day’s end?

* At Elixir we emphasize comms solutions that are user-driven or user meaningful. The experience of each user should be specific to that person. Don’t overwhelm them with a lot of fancy features and functions that they don’t need for their task *

Every organization has its own compliance and security needs. Figure out your needs, and make the ‘Cloud vs. Premise’ decision

On-premises customer communication software allows for tight control from within your organization. However, on-premises can involve certification audits around high-trust and HIPAA compliant communications.

Modernizing organizations are moving to the Cloud because Clouds have become more secure. A benefit of cloud-based ComOps platforms is that security is managed in a SAAS agreement.

Data considerations will be essential in choosing customer communications software in a new comms solution.

Companies receive communications in various formats. For example, a proprietary CRM format. Figure out what format your data is staying in or if the format is going to be upgraded. Some data transformations can take months. Make this consideration early in the process.

What are your Delivery Services Requirements?

A strong delivery strategy is forward-thinking. Print delivery is the most traditional delivery method. But if you’re moving to ComOps, it may be a time to expand your customer communications strategy.

Digital delivery has been growing by leaps and bounds. A cloud ComOps platform can help your company transition to a digital customer communications strategy. So, think about the features that will help your stakeholders.

What kind of digital agility is important to your company? For example, can you send and archive communications on an AWS or Azure server?

If you are communicating digitally, how do you account for a missed connection? Emails occasionally bounce and some text messages don’t go through. Customers change their contact info. There needs to be a mechanism that intelligently decides what next step is for delivery.

A strong ComOps platform has automated solutions to make sure that the customer gets all your communications.

Are your customers ready for a digital communications strategy? Print is expensive and many customers are getting used to receiving communications on different channels. Consider doing a customer survey about possible channels that your company is considering adopting.

One of Elixir’s customers uses WhatsApp to deliver and close contracts. A strong customer communications strategy is creative and forward-thinking when it comes to delivery. What is the best way to reach your members?

We recommend reaching out to your legal and compliance teams for this discussion. In regulated Industries like healthcare and finance, they are very strict rules around how customer communications are delivered.

What are your industries regulatory considerations?

Every industry’s regulatory standards are different. In regulated industries, ComOps platforms help to streamline workflow approval and automate audit trail tracking.

A regulatory cycle might demand updates to existing customer communications. This may be to a one-time communication or a statement that gets issued every month or every quarter. Something as simple as a customer phone number change may require submitting documents to a regulatory body.

Show your stakeholders how to optimize their checks and balances. This is also a good time to assess what the data that you are looking to move onto your ComOps platform. To complete your digital transformation, you will need data and documents to be organized, locatable, and correctly formatted.

Let’s consider Volume

Many industries have mandated deadlines where customers log onto their portals en masse to access their documents.

Volume peak periods are part of your business requirements. This is a factor in documents production as well as managing traffic coming through your system.

Prep for a flawless system integration

You want to enhance your customer’s and users experience. So, your ComOps platform should make it easy to continue working on the projects your stakeholders are already working on. Your digital transformation should not stop the train, it should speed it up.

Fortunately, Innovations like flexible API’s make integration very accessible. A strong ComOps platform should be able to interface with CRMs (like Sales Force or Pegasystems).

*At Elixir, we have an API that allows pre-existing member portals and customer portals to access our stored documents. These processes are enabled with multi-verification security standards to ensure that each user only sees their own documents. *

Find out what systems and data you will need to integrate in your transformation.

TIP 4: Find A Single ComOps Platform that Satisfies Your Customer Communications Strategy, in the Short and Long Term

You’ve talked to your stakeholders, you’ve made your list of requirements, and you have support from a sponsor. Now it’s time to consider user experience and fit the pieces together.

Find your features.

Oftentimes, companies will only research a platform’s content creation capability. But you are ready to look at all the stages in the life cycle of document management.

So far, we talked about factors like client workflow, approval workflow, delivery, archival, automation, and user interface. So, you should have a pretty good set of features that you are looking for.

Help your users.

It’s time to think about user experience. Big areas to consider are document design and approval workflow. These are major factors in the time that customer communications take to get to market.

Your research can help you consider user experience for every stakeholder. A strong platform will have an intuitive, roll-based interface that is customizable to its different users.

Look ahead.

This is where the connections you made with your sponsors and leaders in other teams will really shine through.

A ComOps platform, like a customer communications strategy, should have long term vision. How will your platform meet your company’s needs and initiatives in one year? In three years?

A modern platform can be highly automated. What types of automation solutions will benefit your company?

TIP 5. Start with Achievable Goals: Pick the Low Hanging Fruit

Find strategic documents that will be easiest to onboard first– get a faster ROI.

The fifth and final tip is for organizations that have made the switch to a ComOps platform. Start by building a road map of which strategic documents should be onboarded first.

Consider what documents will be the easiest to configure and have the easiest data to manage. Also consider what documents require the least stakeholders to support.

Starting with achievable goals will prove rapid ROI to project sponsors and to senior managers.

It will also garner support and excitement throughout the organization once other business groups see how successful the process is. This will accelerate the onboarding larger more complicated projects, and make you look like a genius.

Summary: 5 tips on improving your customer communications

To successfully implement ComOps processes and improve your customer communications processes, it is essential to involve as many stakeholders from across the organization as possible. This will ensure buy-in and understanding of how the ComOps solution can benefit each team.

It is also important to have well-defined business requirements so that the right solution can be chosen. The ideal ComOps platform should be intuitive and strategic. If you would like help with these steps or with evaluating your current customer communications strategy, or you’re ready to adopt a new ComOps platform now, book a meeting with us today to discuss if Elixir is the right ComOps platform for your organization.