by Brad Banyas | 8/18/15
It is hard to avoid the buzz around “the cloud” these days, and for good reason. Using the cloud to access information, storage and services can dramatically lower your costs, improve flexibility and workflow, and bring about better business performance overall. As a result, more than half of U.S. businesses now use cloud computing. Analysts estimate that cloud-based services now account for over 50 percent of the demand for managed IT services in the U.S. Companies find immediate cost savings with the cloud because there are no up-front costs, and as business grows, the service infrastructure grows with demand.
The Next Big Thing
I believe that cloud-based Customer Communications Management (Cloud CCM) is the next “big thing” in cloud computing. Communicating with customers is not as simple as it used to be and Cloud CCM provides both the technology and the platform to make it easier and more effective. Let’s face it: Consumers now interact with businesses primarily through social, mobile and online systems. As a result, managing the “customer experience” is more complex and more strategically important than ever before. Customers expect and demand a smooth, relevant and helpful experience no matter what how they interact with you. Cloud CCM gives companies the tools to do just that.
In the past, companies controlled their brand messaging and customer correspondence by communicating via paper. The one-way communications channel was straightforward, but often uninspiring. These days, effectively managing your customer’s experience across multiple communications channels is not just an advantage, it is a critical imperative for business success. But it is difficult to achieve if you rely on antiquated systems, disparate pockets of technology, and isolated people and processes. Cloud CCM provides the answer with a platform to manage communications across all channels – email, online, social, mobile, and even print – to keep pace with customers and consumers who now regularly use multiple and social networks as part of their everyday lives.
The fundamental benefit of Cloud CCM is that it is a platform to enable more strategic and thoughtful activity behind how your company engages with customers on an ongoing basis. While Cloud CCM has plenty of impressive technology behind the scenes, the real world benefit is about engagement, not technology. Cloud CCM can drive deeper levels of engagement by centralizing disparate systems and processes surrounding transactional, marketing, and social communications that improve customer and brand experiences. But gaining real-world benefit from Cloud CCM requires a new mindset. Generating results requires a strategic approach to manage customer engagement rather than a technical focus on managing customer communications. It’s more about the degrees and effectiveness of engagement than it is about multiple channels of output or the array of technology used to get it there.
It is important to have a management tool that brings all of your customer communications into one platform — no matter what form they take. Capabilities should include message personalization, target segmentation, and campaign analytics. Cloud CCM helps reach across communication channels in social media, mobile and online formats and then analyze the effectiveness of those social connections. With integrated print-on-demand services the approach lets you take full control of printed materials as well, and streamlines workflow across all of your customer communications.