How Enterprise Communications Processing (ECP) is Transforming Customer Interactions

Three essential components play pivotal roles in the world of customer communications: customer communications management (CCM), enterprise communications processing (ECP) and enterprise content management (ECM). While they might seem interconnected, these components serve distinct purposes. All are important, but ECP stands out as a transformative force for customer communications and interactions.

The evolution of ECP

ECP is the layer of software that sits in between document creation, facilitated by composition software and document delivery to the recipients. Originally this layer converted print files to different formats and provided postal optimization in a batch-processing model.

Today, ECP has undergone a remarkable transformation, leveraging innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and cloud technology. Unlike its traditional form, modern ECP solutions utilize middleware web services and APIs, intelligently connecting various software platforms, applications and devices. This integration results in a unified system that offers streamlined customer communication processing services.

One of the standout features of ECP is its ability to eliminate extensive onboarding and programming efforts. Through seamless integration with existing CCM software, ECP harnesses reengineering tools to enhance documents. These files are transformed into various formats, including print, electronic, mobile-ready and accessible formats. ECP facilitates real-time output and multichannel delivery using a digital transformation engine.

How ECP works with CCM and ECM

ECP can be used in conjunction with CCM and ECM to create a comprehensive digital transformation solution for customer communications. For example, a CCM system is used to compose customer communications from templates, including letters, notices, order confirmations, explanations of benefits (EOB), disclosures, account statements and other transactional customer communications. Those customer communications are then handed to the ECP system to process, transform and deliver those communications to customers in the right format — print, digital, mobile and accessible — through their preferred communication channels — USPS, email, corporate portal, newsletter, text message, smartphone app and others. After processing them, the ECP system sends the customer communications to an ECM system to be stored as a record for corporate record retention and compliance with regulations. The ECP system can be used further to retrieve and deliver those communications from the ECM system to customers in the right format on demand. ECP can also be used to package multiple documents into printable digital bundles for eDiscovery, case management or “request for information” regulations. The original customer communication record need not be altered in any way.

Benefits of using ECP

There are many benefits to using ECP, including:

Streamlined communication processes: ECP can help organizations streamline their communication processes by automating the transformation and delivery of customer communications. This can lead to significant time and cost savings. This is particularly important in organizations with multiple CCM platforms.

Personalized customer experiences: ECP can help organizations deliver personalized customer experiences by enabling them to send communications to customers through their preferred channels, in the correct formats for the device being used. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty while reducing operational expenses.

Reduced operating costs: ECP can help organizations reduce costs by suppressing manual printing and mailing processes, as well as reducing paper and ink waste.

The synergy of digital transformation and ECP

ECP plays a pivotal role in reshaping customer interactions. It catalyzes change by collaborating seamlessly with digital transformation initiatives.

Transforming print: ECP facilitates the conversion of traditional print files into digital formats. This conversion not only aligns with digital initiatives, but also enhances accessibility for customers, allowing them to interact with businesses through their preferred formats and channels.

Multichannel eDelivery: ECP enables businesses to suppress print volumes and transition to multichannel eDelivery. Customers now receive communications through their preferred digital platforms, enhancing their overall experience and engagement with the brand. ECP can expand the range of channels and formats used to communicate with customers.

Personalizing customer interactions: By capturing customer preferences, ECP ensures that communications are tailored to individual needs. This personalization, whether through email, mobile apps or other digital channels, strengthens the bond between the customer and the brand.

Mobile optimization: With the omnipresence of smartphones, ECP ensures that communications are optimized for mobile devices. Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, customers can seamlessly access information, fostering a more mobile-friendly customer experience.

Streamlining digital workflows: Automation is at the heart of modern business operations. ECP optimizes digital workflows, enhancing efficiency and reducing manual interventions. Automated processes ensure that communications are delivered promptly and accurately.

Examples of how ECP can be used to improve customer communications

  • A bank can use ECP to transform customer onboarding letters and agreements into PDF, accessible PDF and HTML formats, then route those communications to customers through their preferred channels, such as email, corporate portal or mobile banking apps.
  • A telecom company can use ECP to transform customer bills into mobile-ready formats, and then send a summary of those bills in responsive HTML with the amount due, payment due date and QR code for customers to make payments through their smartphones.
  • An insurance company can use ECP to store policy documents in an ECM system for delivery to customers in their preferred formats, and then make those documents available for future reference.

ECP is a versatile technology that can be used to improve customer communications in a variety of ways. For organizations looking to streamline communication processes, deliver personalized customer experiences and reduce costs, ECP is a good option to consider. Its integration with CCM and ECM systems creates a comprehensive ecosystem for digital transformation. ECP is a cornerstone to reshape the way enterprises integrate their systems, automate their workflow and connect with their customers. It ultimately sets new standards for customer communications processing and engagement in the digital age.

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Erin McCart is Senior Product Manager at Crawford Technologies, a provider of document solutions that streamline, improve, and manage customer communications. McCart has 25 years of product management and marketing experience in the software industry and content management and output management markets.