Digital transformation is tough but it’s worth it. As digital slowly becomes more ingrained in our ways of working and engaging with each other, new opportunities driven by progress show themselves nearly daily. On the long road to digital transformation, the first step to take is customer onboarding, causing this digital transformation to go hand in hand with improving your customer communications.

In this week’s blog we will discuss the three media of customer communications. Find out what medium currently holds your focus, discover what elements you need to put in place to take that step to the next level and how this will boost your digital transformation as well as customer engagement.

First medium: Analog communications

Although analog may sound almost prehistoric, it still makes up for a large part of modern customer communications. Analog TV is dead, but print communications, even in this digital era, are still very much alive and kicking.

However, analog communications require a lot of effort from multiple departments, from an external design agency, to marketing teams and postal services. And of course IT, which is often tasked with creating a vast amount of templates (per brand, language …). As there is no business user empowerment, IT is bottlenecked, which holds back operational efficiency and lengthens the time to market.

For what result? Have a look at this invoice. As far as personalized communications go, print does offer a wide array of possibilities, but, as more personalization in print comes at higher costs, a lot of businesses stick to basic personal data such as name and address and the typical “Hello John” or “Dear Sandy”. The options for cross- and upselling are very limited. The closest thing to interaction is including a QR code to help the receiver to start on a more interactive customer journey online.

For businesses still committed to analog communications, it’s important to take the step to the next level. By going digital, their operational efficiency will increase as well as possible revenue through cross- and up-selling and relevant individual communications.

Second medium: Digital communications

In terms of how they are developed, digital communications are not so different. The involvement of IT remains really high while the business user remains unable to make his mark. Their added value lies in how they are delivered and what this means for both the company and the customer experience.

Digital communications boost operational efficiency because they are cost effective and immediate. This immediacy also allows for more personalized communications. With links to websites and email addresses interaction becomes possible as well, albeit in a rather limited way as the receiver is forced to shift to another channel/platform to follow through and take action. As a result, attempts of cross- and upselling seldom deliver results and drop-out rates often go through the roof.

The challenge with this medium is understanding individual customer needs and expectations. Use these valuable customer data to tune your digital communications and be relevant time and time again. This is the key to making the customer feel valued and respected.

Third medium: Interactive communications

Now, combine this relevance with interactivity, and you have just made the step up to the third medium of customer communications. Provide your customers with everything they need within the same communication and the freedom to explore what they want and need in a frictionless customer journey. That’s what interactive communications are all about.

To achieve this a larger ecosystem must be established with different technologies (AI, IoT, orchestrator, analytics, DAM, PIM, ERP, …) gathering and funneling customer information. Also, silos must be bridged to allow the different departments within your business such as sales, customer support and IT to come together.

Once designs and brand guidelines are established by an agency, business users develop interactive communications tailored to individual customers. These are made available via webportals, apps, … and pushed at a specific time or proactively to the customer via one or multiple digital channels (push notification, whatsapp, sms, …) for maximum engagement. As the business user is in control, response times are shorter and the communications are more relevant and stay consistent throughout the customer journey.

Interaction is the backbone of the communication. Have a look at this Energia invoice. The customer can easily click through, swap between gas and electricity overviews, go back in time to check previous deposits and consult infographics on his consumption and information on different products and services. It provides everything the customer may look for. And more. The communication includes promotional content to suggest other products or services he or she might be interested in.

As you can see, interactive communications are intentionally designed to keep the customers within the communication and stimulate them to take action. Therefore interactive communications are ideal for cross- and upselling. By minimizing costs of time, space and effort, operational efficiency is improved. Also, business revenues will increase and, as the customer can take action easily and immediately with peace of mind, bills will be paid faster as well and customers can be converted more efficiently to new processes.