By: Chris Murphy, VP of Product Marketing, Smart Communications
Enterprises around the world are navigating a digital landscape and customer expectations that are changing faster than ever, leading many organizations to rethink how they interact with customers—especially companies within highly regulated industries like financial services, healthcare and insurance, as well as the public sector. As these enterprises engage with customers at critical moments in their lives, it’s imperative that one-way, transactional communications be replaced with two-way, interactive conversations that offer a seamless customer experience. This is where cloud-native customer communications management (CCM) software can help.
An unfortunate truth is that outdated, legacy CCM systems do not provide the necessary agility to meet customers’ growing expectations. Companies that implement pure cloud CCM will be more capable of achieving the unmatched levels of innovation, agility and scalability that today’s customers require.
In this post, we’ll explore how making the shift from legacy, manual systems to a cloud-based CCM solution can help enterprises remain agile, competitive and compliant, as well as some of the main challenges that can be solved with CCM.
Why is Cloud CCM a Necessity for Highly Regulated Industries?
Early adopters of cloud-based CCM are already noticing the benefits of making an investment in sophisticated cloud software. In fact, the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Customer Communications Management Applications 2022 stated that organizations cited a 26% improvement in customer satisfaction as a result of embracing digital transformation. Enterprises need the right systems to help them decrease friction while still gathering the details and information required to help customers achieve their goals and remain satisfied.
As noted earlier in the post, highly regulated industries often interact with people at their most vulnerable or critical moments: a car accident, a first-time home buying experience or claims appeal after a major health issue. Navigating these life milestones is difficult enough, for both the customer and the company’s employees. With less time spent on paper heavy, manual tasks, employees have more room to be empathetic and focus on providing an exceptional customer experience.
When every customer interaction is high-stakes, enterprises within the insurance, financial services and healthcare industries require solutions that provide deeper visibility into every customer touch point, increased efficiency and the ability to deliver omnichannel communications – all of which is only achievable with a cloud-first approach.
How Cloud-based CCM Solutions Enhance Business Efficiency
In our fast-paced world, efficiency continues to be a main driver for businesses. The way we work and live has shifted exponentially over the last several years, making the customers of today more digitally savvy than ever. People have become accustomed to working out of their homes with systems and tools they once never used. Now, businesses are playing catch up and they need future-ready ways to help them remain efficient at scale. Rather than taking a reactive approach to these changes, proactive enterprises understand the cost savings and agility that come from cloud-based CCM solutions. Some of those include:
- Greater Visibility into Delivering Compliant Communications. When considering the need for compliance and the ever-changing regulations, visibility into the language being used across forms and other external communications can make or break a brand, like manually searching for and replacing dozens of instances where language may be outdated or replaced for any number of reasons. This could be due to compliance regulations that dictate the way a contract is formatted. However, a sophisticated CCM solution that leverages the power of the cloud can search an entire library of communications for fragments (including sentences, logos or pre-made E-signatures) and replace it with the correct content. Minute details, like font sizing or color, can also be updated easily as per regulatory standards, such as a Terms and Conditions section in a document.
- Reducing Administrative Burden on the IT Department. Another big benefit of utilizing cloud technology is for IT departments. Unlike legacy, on-premise tools, a cloud-based customer communications management solution reduces the burden on IT and frees up resources/budget that allows for more innovative initiatives. Without the added weight of managing or updating software and systems, IT teams can spend more time taking a strategic approach to the products or services a company offers.
- Increased Control and Ownership for Business Users. The business user has more control and ownership of the software and can enjoy seamless updates (managed by the vendor) and flexibility that isn’t possible with on-premise tools. This is especially important when considering the hybrid or fully remote working situations across large workforces. With cloud software, customer service representatives have the needed flexibility to provide a great customer experience from anywhere in the world—without sacrificing customer safety or risking non-compliance.
The above benefits certainly extend to highly regulated industries like financial services, insurance and healthcare. In the rest of this post, we’ll examine some additional benefits of CCM for each of those industries.
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Customer Communications Management Benefits for Healthcare
The healthcare industry, for good reason, has some of the toughest regulations and compliance-related expectations. To remain compliant and agile, while also focusing on patient satisfaction, requires health insurers to rethink the systems and solutions they use to manage the end-to-end customer experience. In addition to those top priorities, key findings from a recent Forrester report highlighted these main challenges facing health insurers:
- Health insurance members prefer offline channels for customer service due to unsatisfactory digital experiences
- 51% of customers are dissatisfied with phone interactions
- Insurers find it challenging to provide a seamless, personalized digital experience
- Insurers’ top priorities indicate a focus on acquisition rather than improving current members’ experience
The above challenges can be solved by investing in a customer communications management solution that leverages the power of the cloud and provides health insurers with a strategic approach to improving customer experience—from acquisition through servicing—and ultimately improving retention. Consolidating CCM use cases onto a single enterprise-wide platform also improves operating efficiency and increases speed to market.
Helping members be seen and known as individuals will take a concerted effort to do away with manual processes and tools that only offer a one-way transaction. Health insurers need to reimagine how they engage with members and adopt digital solutions that enable interactive, two-way conversations.
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Customer Communications Management Benefits for Insurance Providers
Not only are customer needs very similar in both the healthcare and insurance industries, the compliance and regulatory requirements are, too. Protecting customer data and reducing errors is critical when thinking of the total customer journey. In addition to these drivers, the following are also top priorities for companies in the insurance industry:
- Reducing cycle time and NIGO rates for claims to increase customer satisfaction and associated renewals
- Reducing dependency on IT to create new reports, reduce template maintenance and number of templates
- Eliminating disparate systems to provide for a more cohesive approach to managing customer conversations
Unfortunately, insurance companies that are hanging onto legacy technology might also be hindering speed-to-market innovation, limiting digital-first strategies and inhibiting the ability to respond to rapidly evolving product and customer preferences. To overcome these challenges and meet strategic priorities across the industry, insurers must invest in CCM solutions that help them foster two-way, interactive customer communications with agility and efficiency.
Manual, analog systems might be the expectation for insurers, but their customers are digitally savvy and have adjusted their expectations based on how they do business with companies that have already digitized and automated core business functions. To become a truly customer-centric organization while also remaining competitive, insurers must accelerate their innovation by adopting pure cloud, digital platforms that work seamlessly with policy, claims, billing systems and other enterprise software tools. This approach will allow for personalization and omnichannel delivery across the entire insurance lifecycle.
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Customer Communications Management Benefits for Financial Services Institutions
Banks and financial institutions have always competed for loyalty and wallet share based on delivering the best customer experience (CX), which has only become more difficult as new digital channels of engagement pop up every day. According to a March 2022 report from Celent, 58% of banks say “it is more challenging to win and retain customers than 12 months ago.” Competition from fintechs and non-bank lenders means banks need to step up their digital game.
CCM software solutions enable banks to engage customers with personalized, relevant communications in real time across a growing number of channels and engagement points, from getting a loan to onboarding investments to statements and customer service transactions. CCM platforms built for enterprise scalability enable banks to manage and deliver millions of documents or digital messages every day, including marketing offers, product information, compliance disclosures, renewal notifications, delinquency notices, just to name a few.
Meeting customers where they are while delivering the right messaging across all channels is just one way banks and other financial institutions can not only cut down on customer frustration, but also reduce compliance risks by managing communication templates. Banks can achieve massive cost savings by reducing paper and postage costs for ongoing communications. According to Forrester, one bank saved $16.7 million in overall costs by modernizing its CCM platform and shifting to digital communications.
Solving these challenges is at the forefront of the mind for many leaders in the financial services industry, as well as how to:
- Support digital-first, two-way conversations that encompass the entire customer lifecycle, beyond sales
- Provide customers with seamless transitions between in-person and virtual communications without friction
- Remain compliant and protective of customer data while still providing flexibility throughout the various touchpoints
Financial institutions and banks are beginning to operate with a new customer experience paradigm. The old standard of reactive, one-way interactions is no longer accepted by a digitally equipped consumer base. Instead, banks and financial institutions have begun the process of adopting systems that can meet these increasing customer demands and allow remote or hybrid workers to account for gaps, no matter where they’re working from.
This digitalization goes beyond delivering documents or signing contracts; two historic use cases of early CCM tools. Customers can now be empowered to create their own journey, so to speak, when provided with digital-first, interactive conversations across the various engagement mechanisms that exist (e.g. website, chatbots, apps, in-person, phone). These capabilities support a customer-centric approach that is enabling financial services institutions to win customers and grow deposits.
Why Smart Communications
Interactions across the insurance, financial services and healthcare industries are often stressful and/or high-stakes. This means it’s even more important than ever to deliver a customer experience that accounts for these factors. In fact, recent benchmark data from Smart Communications revealed that communications are important to 81% of consumers’ overall experience with a company—a high percentage when considering the various factors included in the end-to-end customer experience.
As one of the only CCM providers in the space that is fully committed to a cloud-first approach, Smart Communications has enabled many enterprises with the ability to shift from one-way, transactional communications to two-way, interactive conversations. This is one reason why we’ve been recently recognized on the Aspire Leaderboard for the strength of our solutions, strategic vision and global reach. In addition, Aragon, IDC, Gartner and other analysts have named us as a leader in our industry.
When considering the unique and specific needs in highly regulated industries, Smart Communications takes compliance and data safety seriously. We’re certified compliant by an independent third party and maintain HIPAA, ISO 27001, PCI-DSS, SOC 1 and SOC 2 certifications. This makes it possible for enterprises to provide contextual, compliant communications across the various channels their customers prefer.