Changing Business Outcomes—and Stereotypes—with Modern CCM
Delivering a great customer experience in the information era separates great companies from good ones. Meeting the expectations of discerning audiences, and being able to provide them with information and services in their channel of choice—when they demand it—presents some interesting challenges for businesses.
At New Zealand Post, we faced two major hurdles in assisting customers' migration to digital channels and improving their physical communications. The first was a common problem most companies face when it comes to CCM: We require a streamlined, efficient, and proven system.
Our second hurdle was a perception gap, because many companies originally didn’t think of us as a digital company. Thankfully, we’re changing those perceptions through delivering innovative thinking and tangible results.
Previously clients would come to us and say, “We need to get this type of correspondence to our customers. Here’s the data. Here are the business rules. Put it together for us, print it, and mail it.”
We would deliver those solutions by generating the composition, ensuring it was correctly addressed, printing it and making sure it went in the right envelope, and then posting it.
Digital Requires a Step Change
We see an interesting trend occurring when clients look to transitional communications from analogue environments to digital channels. A common mistake is to replicate the existing output by simply presenting this online. Some will say they’ve gone digital, when in fact they have failed to digitize the client experience, which is distinctly different. That later enables the receiver to have an interactive experience in varying forms, rather than being sent a plain text email with a PDF attachment of the print document.
Just sending that email doesn’t qualify as a true digital experience. A common problem is that the content is often not compatible across a myriad of devices resulting in a poor customer experience. It doesn’t allow receivers to engage in portals and apps in which businesses have invested heavily. It fails to map a customer’s journey and pinpoint areas where they got lost in the process, thus removing the opportunity to maximise their experience.
Reviewing existing communications with our clients enables them to challenge traditional perceptions, and puts us in the position to help them more fully understand the value of true digital.
They therefore are in a better position to drive revenue and remove cost from their business.
Digitising means appreciating the value that results from a quality customer experience: Retaining customers, bringing in new ones through word of mouth, and improving the speed that they can make payments are just some of the benefits.
At New Zealand Post, we’ve realised that shaking the perception that we’re just a mail house means we must be proactive and forward-thinking on behalf of our clients. To do that, we have adopted a consultative partnership approach to our client engagements. We appreciate the need to understand their business so we can deliver effective CCM experiences, both now and into the future.
Not All Platforms Are Forward-Thinking
This shift would have been impossible without migrating off our legacy systems. They just weren’t up to the task and we were using nine of them! Many of them were end-of-life at the time digital channels were becoming more prevalent. We worked with these historic builds that were 5–10 years old. All the licensing and infrastructure required to maintain these platforms was no longer commercially viable and fit for purpose.
Many of these platforms were highly prescriptive in what we could build with them and there were gaps in what each platform could deliver. By virtue, they were inflexible and difficult to make changes in. Making programming changes above and beyond the existing scripting was problematic. For instance, a single project may have used three disparate platforms. Meaning when it came time for the client to make a tweak, like swapping out content, that change might have to happen in three different places, resulting in more cost and delays to clients.
These platforms placed material demands on our professional services team, because each required a very specific type of developer. If each system had ten jobs on it, that required three developers who would work on only that platform. Across nine platforms, it quickly meant we needed all these people with very specific skillsets and we used none of them effectively.
Using nine platforms was costly to our clients and us. It was a mess. Thankfully, we found our solution in Quadient.
Doing So Much More with Less
With the move to Quadient Inspire as our single CCM platform, we can cross-skill developers so everyone understands how the platform works. They all build on the same program, and that gives us the ability to move resources around more readily. Being able to move all the data work on board with Inspire also means that as a developer, we're able to work with data directly without relying on extra resource with a specific skillset. That’s a big-time saver for our clients.
What we really like about Quadient is that it’s not solely focused on being a composition tool that churns out a specific output. It provides more features to improve customer experience and it’s flexible in how it allows multiple output types. For instance, you can build something right the first time and enable multiple channels. That equals less developer time spent on what are essentially composition constraints. No more rebuilding the same thing over and over for different digital platforms.
Our clients are excited about how we manage ‘proof of concept work’ with them. Previously they would tell us what they wanted and there wasn’t much of a conversation.
We can now say, “We’d like to try this with you and this is why we think this would work for you. Here are the advantages. If it doesn’t work, we’ll try something else.” Moving to this single platform has enabled a material shift for our clients, and provided us with a competitive advantage.
Immediate Customer Impact
The impact of our revised approach quickly became evident. For example, Loyalty NZ, New Zealand’s largest loyalty program who administers Fly Buys, experienced a positive change. We used to create Fly Buys statements via two legacy platforms: one for data and one for composition. Issues often arose because the data and artwork had to be formatted very specific ways for the process to work. It used to take the best part of a two-week development life-cycle to process these statements.
Once built in Inspire, development could be completed within eight hours and when we ran the Fly Buys statements, processing half a million records took about two hours versus four to six hours previously. Immediately, this demonstrated obvious benefits and our customer loved the experience.
Another example is where we have used Inspire to process individually tailored documents drawing from multiple data sets. Showing our clients how to organize their data through Inspire resulted in a markedly better customer experience, saving both time and money.
Southern Cross Heathcare Society is one of the largest health insurance companies. They were previously utilising multiple legacy systems, including two different systems for sending out renewals and certificate information. Because they used these two disparate systems, they would generate documents individually and then mail them separately. It doubled their postage and printing costs and there was no guarantee these documents would arrive to the customer at the same time, resulting in a poor customer experience. Southern Cross was rightfully concerned about this, as it was resulting in more phone calls to their contact center and customer churn.
The obvious solution was to produce a single integrated document providing the customer with the certificate, the information on their new policy or renewal, and the billing details. This is what Southern Cross wanted, so they turned to us for a solution.
We presented a concept that would be easily deployed. Since merging these records was as simple as identifying two data sets, we could then let them choose from about 30 different document types and compose any kind of communication they wanted all possible through Inspire.
This resulted in material savings to Southern Cross, because they previously produced tens of thousands of these policy wordings and each one required input from us. Now, we generate these documents in a streamlined fashion, on demand. Data triggers are easily set, advising us that they want something turned into a tabulated booklet, for example.
When we receive that trigger, Inspire takes that data and changes the look and feel of the document. Instead of receiving a very simple letter, their customer receives a personalized policy booklet. That’s a massive experience improvement!
Initially, Southern Cross was convinced this whole process would take four or five years. We halved this time, much to their delight and ours. When Southern Cross saw how well we performed on this initiative, it up opened other possibilities. We now have such a strong relationship with them as a result, and they’ve invited us into other areas of their business to work on further enhancements.
Reframing the Conversation
As a full end-to-end solution, Inspire has opened so many options about the way we build for our clients. It makes for a different conversation where we are less focused on composition and can instead help our clients strategise for their digital future.
We know we’ve successfully reinvented our company because we hear clients say, “We thought you were just a mail house that would print stuff and send it out. We didn’t understand you were looking that much further down the line and have the capability to match.”
New Zealand Post is in the business of CCM, and like anyone in this business, we know the value of word of mouth. Businesses talk to other businesses because they have the same set of issues. They all want to go digital, and we’re well positioned to assist and guide customers on this journey.