GMC Software Technology : Multichannel Communications: New Media Channels Offer Many Paths to Improved Customer Communications

By Michael Watts, COO, GMC Software Technology

With a slowly recovering economy and changing consumer habits, building trust and loyalty with customers has never been more important for insurance organizations. While traditional print mail-including policy statements and correspondence-and the customer service call center remain viable and important channels of communication, there are now new media channels that offer many additional ways to convey information and interact with consumers, including mobile and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Successfully implementing a multichannel marketing communication strategy will most likely be the single biggest challenge-and opportunity-for insurance organizations over the next few years. And today, meeting consumer needs effectively means more than delivering the information they want. It also means providing access to it morning, noon, or night via print, electronic, the Web, and mobile devices, all according to customer preferences. A carefully planned customer communications management strategy-supported by the robust technologies that can make it happen-answers these requirements.

Essential considerations

Designing a multichannel communications initiative raises several important considerations that must be addressed for the program to be effective. The following are the most common:

  • Obtaining quality data. Customer information is often created and stored in legacy and siloed front and back office applications, systems and workflows. Gathering and consolidating useful data about customers can be a challenge. Be sure your communications solution can tap into and merge data from these various sources.
  • Integrating all delivery channels. Once you�ve identified and collected the data required for your program, the next consideration is ensuring the ability to coordinate and integrate it across a range of media output channels. For instance, will the next statement for each customer be personalized based on their interests and their preferences? Will it be delivered in their preferred channel? Does it take advantage of feedback obtained through a channel like e-mail? This is a critical aspect of a successful multichannel framework.
  • Efficiently managing multiple channels. Managing the process, users and roles, interfaces, and update methods of a variety of communications channels can seem like a daunting task. For instance, user roles and permissions should be honored anywhere in the framework. Additionally, the ability to manage content-independent of the documents and channels that receive them-is crucial. Be sure your solution has these management capabilities or your organization may be overwhelmed by process and content complexities.
  • Designing for multiple channels. Another critical success factor for multichannel communications is creating flexible content that automatically changes to match the requirements of the delivery channel. Without this kind of flexibility, designing for multiple channels can become a painful and complex process.

Finding a customer communications management solution to fit your needs

Having the right technology in place for managing customer communications across all media channels is essential to a successful program. Software solutions are available to address the requirements of a multichannel, personalized communication strategy. It is important to choose one that is user-friendly enough to allow business users to create interactive, point-of-need, personalized documents. The solutions available offer varying capabilities, so it pays to do research to find the exact solution you need to achieve your communications objectives.

Many organizations outsource their physical print/mail operations to service bureaus and BPOs. In these cases, it is still important to have an in-house customer communication solution in place that will leverage the power of your non-technical, customer-focused employees to design, deliver, and maintain meaningful personalized customer communications while meeting the business and technical requirements of your print/mail provider. Insourcing customer

communication management while outsourcing print fulfillment provides a way to maintain control of your communications and improve efficiencies.

Meaningful communications are the lifeline between insurance organizations and their customers, and it�s wise to consider this a core capability of your business. With the growing use of internet-based communications and the proliferation of smartphones and tablet devices, customer expectations are on the rise with regard to how your organization communicates with them. Implementing a well-considered customer communications strategy can help you forge stronger relationships with customers by getting important information to them more quickly-and with a personal touch via the channel they prefer.

Michael Watts is the COO for GMC Software Technology, a provider of document output for customer communication management. GMC Software Technology offers a seamless, easy-to-use, and powerful solution that enables business users to reduce the complexity and costs of customer communication management across business silos. The company�s secure, scalable, and reliable solution produces personalized and regulatory compliant communications that can be delivered to members via the channel of choice. He can be reached at m.watts@gmc.net.

About About GMC Software Technology

GMC Software Technology delivers the most effective solutions in the field of Customer Communications Management (CCM). With unrivalled experience in the industry, GMC has consistently demonstrated the ability to help businesses increase customer engagement across all touchpoints. The company�s CCM platform, GMC Inspire, enables enterprises to deliver relevant communications, at the right time, through the preferred channel for every customer � driving customer loyalty, acquisition and operational efficiency.

GMC Software Technology serves thousands of clients worldwide across the banking, insurance, retail, business services, telco/utilities and healthcare industry. Having received numerous awards in the field Customer Communications Management, the company is recognized as an industry leader for innovation. For more information visit www.gmc.net.