It’s all over the news. Millions of people around the world are re-evaluating their careers. Many are moving into new fields, long-term employees are retiring early at record rates and some employees are just quitting. In November of this year alone, 4.5 million people have left their jobs. What has been named the “Great Resignation,” is resulting in a mounting labor shortage that is challenging many businesses— and causing companies to rethink their people-dependent processes. With fewer mid-level managers returning to work, businesses are now faced with finding ways to do more with fewer people.
All of this makes the complete utilization of your customer communications management (CCM) systems critical. With more customers communicating online (making a text-smooth interface paramount), we have moved to a time where the digital space is as inviting and simple as an in-person transaction. More importantly, communications are deployed via the media the customer requests, which gives a bonus of increased open and response rates. Consumers now can feel the concierge experience they enjoyed while visiting a brick-and-mortar business.
Digital communications are no longer relegated to strictly marketing messages. With the distributed way in which we now work, communicating digitally is alive and in demand; and the benefits are being recognized. For example, transactional bill paying through multiple bill-pay channels has decreased late payments, postage and printing costs. Digital tools that offer electronic bill payment and presentment (EBPP) assist in counteracting the effect of delivery slowdowns, as well as employee shortages. Clients that were once averse to online bill pay are now viewing it from a perspective of convenience. This makes it the perfect time to exercise a reset of your customer communications processes. If you haven’t already done so, now is also the time to take advantage of the Great Resignation to make a push to greater automation.
It is worth the investment to look for solutions that don’t require a triage to keep running efficiently or human intervention for quality checks. Daily, we are asking teams to make what could be a million-dollar gamble when utilizing manual verification processes, but if the teams are new, overworked or simply not there anymore, we have a problem. It is important in 2022 to take stock of current processes and procedures, find the common issues, address them and make a business case for how they can be automated for the future.
Another advantage of the push to automation spurred by the Great Resignation is the opportunity to redesign your customer communications. The business of staying connected has never been more important—or more complicated. New challenges demand that intelligent, easy-to-use tools from mobile devices are the future. It is imperative to recognize the changes the pandemic, as well as the shift in workforce, has caused and create new methods of communication. Fortunately, there are many excellent software solutions and developers continuing to push the envelope so you can create new ways to move your customer communications forward.
Identifying the processes and having a clear understanding of why they are in place is the first step toward moving to a more automated workflow. Implementing a system that creates confidence and is proven to be stable and dependable requires not only looking at current needs, but also effectively anticipating what tomorrow’s needs will be. Cracking the code to create better processes can be time consuming, but it is worth it to achieve increases in throughput and elimination of the inaccuracies that are possible with manual intervention.
Within the world of automation there are many software choices, from proprietary programs that range from those packaged with a manufacturer’s printer to custom modularized automation platforms, with pricing that varies significantly. It is important to look for software that is flexible and also has an eye on research and development. A serious commitment to social platforms and alternative ways to get the attention of the new generation is also key. It may be time to survey customers to discover how are they consuming media and how they want it delivered.
Archival capabilities is another key area, along with PDF size, storage and attention to accessibility. And let’s not forget to seek out and leverage new approaches, such as artificial intelligence (AI). AI-based solutions are available in the market today that can do work faster, with less cost and more accurately than manual processes. With paper being less desirable as communications evolve, platforms that can be leveraged to ensure the accurate delivery of customer messages across all channels will continue to take precedence.
Finally, explore what the vendor company is doing to encourage innovation within its own walls. The right partner not only sells a solution that works for today, the company also actively invests in developing solutions that meet the increasing requirement to simplify and speed the creation of customer communications.
The changes in how we do business brought on by the pandemic may require a “great reset” on the part of your business. Smart, forward-thinking businesses will take a fresh look at the business model they have operating in place today and find ways to make processes less people-dependent and more solution centric with the understanding that doing so will be a critical component to success and continued growth.
Gautam Jit Kanwar is president of BelWo Inc., a global provider of managed services specializing in customer communications management (CCM) consulting and delivery solutions that help companies meet strategic CCM goals.
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