Taking Control of CCM to Build a Long-Term Marketing Strategy


Change can be scary and weird, especially if you lack ambition. People and companies who strive to be the best live for change. You can see it in the way they challenge and change the status quo. They are in constant motion. If you look at the way they move you can see a long-term strategy and forward momentum.

I’ve worked at HomeServe for ten years and, to be honest, I feel as passionate about the company as I did when I started. We’re an international home emergency assistance provider with 2.2 million customers. We don’t just offer insurance, we also operate a network of tradespersons who help our customers recover from all kinds of home emergencies. These contractors and suppliers handle every manner of home repair.

Before I started at HomeServe, I'd only ever worked agency side, mostly in marketing and design agencies. This was my first exposure to client-side and it was a whole new world for me, but I embraced the challenge.

A Decade of Changes

I regularly get asked why I've stayed here so long. The simple answer is that the ambition of the company matches my own and I've been fortunate to have been given opportunities to do different roles. I started as Production Manager and then was promoted to more senior roles, the last one being Head of Marketing Communications, leading a team to effectively manage all marketing activity.

Whilst I was Head of Marketing Communications I was asked to join a team to deliver a large scale business transformation programme. It would mean a step out of my comfort zone, but the opportunity to be part of a transformation of this scale was too tempting. Originally, it was supposed to be a years secondment, but two and a half years later and I'm still working on it. The scale of change is far more than implementing new systems, new ways of working, or new processes. We're changing the way we approach change and that's very exciting. 

Part of the significant investment was to bring the composition of all prospect and customer communications in-house. The reasons for this were to enable us to be in control of our own destiny, be more responsive, and support the objective of becoming an omni-channel business. I was responsible for the solution design and implementation of customer communication management (CCM) in-house from a programme perspective.  

As the programme comes to an end, I'll move into a new position as Head of CCM where I'll lead a team to successfully manage all communications via multi-channels. A key part of my role will be working with our marketing teams on a long-term CCM strategy for HomeServe. 

A Frictionless Customer Experience

A big key for us is to move to an omni-channel business where our customers can interact with us when they choose, via a channel of their choice—all while they get a consistent experience. We want to leverage intelligent data, the right data tools, and creative marketing logic to tailor great communications to everyone who interacts with us. 

We already have a customer-centric culture, but there are enhancements that can be made which will be bolstered by how we communicate. We want to put an end to difficult conversations and complicated emails. One way we’re simplifying things for our customers is by switching to a single contract model. We’re combining multiple policies into single contracts that all renew on the same date and have a consolidated recurring payment.

To support our strategy, bringing CCM fulfilment in-house was imperative and this is something we've wanted to do since I started here, but we previously lacked the expertise. We weren’t sure how to do it or even what we needed to do it. To be honest, we didn’t have the internal structure to achieve this goal, so we outsourced our CCM to an external partner. However, over the last few years, our knowledge and understanding of CCM have expanded, making this the right time to move forward.

Customer Testimonials Made the Difference

The RFP process for a new CCM solution was fairly straightforward. We contacted the leading CCM vendors, specified our requirements, and went through a robust selection process. Quadient—which was called GMC at the time—stood out. To be fair, the competition came very close in terms of technology, but Quadient was a better fit in terms of culture. Their values were more aligned with ours. Their technology roadmap and success criteria met our needs far more than the competition did.

Having trouble deciding between vendors? Talk to their customers.

The customer testimonials were another key element for us. There are too many companies that will do anything to achieve a five-star rating. I didn’t get that feeling from Quadient. We spoke to a lot of their customers and we tried to understand their pain points, and why Quadient was a good fit for them. We found a refreshing level of honesty. None of them made claims we couldn’t believe. There was never a sense that this was all too-good-to-be-true.

We also felt a level of trust, and this was crucial to the onboarding process. The Quadient platform is such that it can integrate with other marketing technologies and fit into our overall marketing vision and strategy. 

Bringing Quadient In-House

You have to understand that we were bringing Quadient in-house to manage a core revenue stream for our business. The volume of customer communications we generate is huge. We send out 2.2 million policy renewals and 56 million direct mail pieces every year. And that’s only on the print side of things. 

The database we use to compile our print mailings, emails, policy statements, and most of our promotional and regulatory copy comprises 20,000 cells. We needed a technology and a partner that would allow us to manage all of this on our own. Quadient was the answer we’d been looking for all along.

Bringing CCM in-house was the right thing to do. HomeServe is a very ambitious company. Our products and our marketing strategies have grown in complexity. So have our communications needs. Outsourcing was the right solution in the past, but it no longer fits our needs.

Outsourcing CCM might make sense in the beginning, but in-house provides the flexibility to grow.

We are still in a transitional stage. Right now we are focused on using Quadient to streamline our print communications, but soon we’ll be looking at digital communications. There’s a real thirst for knowledge here. Our transformation depends on using Quadient to launch a full-blown omni-channel CCM strategy.

While our initial steps in this process have been a success, that doesn’t make the change any less scary. We’ve been doing CCM one way for so long that it’s hard for people to look at things in a new light. This is why we are working to support each other, to build confidence in our team, and to bolster enthusiasm about the solution we’ve built. We are truly on the cusp of a major transformation.

People are starting to see the value of having complete control over CCM. They understand that it’s going to be a game changer.

Rolling out Quadient and Beyond

We are now in the final weeks of the testing phase. In October, we’re going live with Quadient and we’ll be reaching out to real customers using the tools, and that will be the time I’ll fully transition to my new role as Head of CCM.

At that point, I’ll be doing a discovery workshop with Quadient and engaging them in our marketing transformation plans. Once we go live and have a real sense what the world looks like through the prism of an internally managed Quadient CCM platform, we’ll start looking at the next steps we can take together. How can we continue to innovate? What kind of long-term CCM strategizing might we envision? What are the things we can do with Quadient? What are the things we can’t?

It’s nice to think of the October rollout of Quadient as the end of the journey. In some ways, it is. I can breathe easy for a few days and think, “Mission accomplished.” But there’s so much work ahead of us. 

I have to admit that we haven’t been good at leveraging marketing technology in the past. But Quadient is helping HomeServe build long-term strategies that will transform our CCM into a powerful marketing tool that reflects and propels our ambition.