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Digital Automated Document Factories Support Cross-channel CCM

By Richard Huff

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transition from paper-based customer communications to digital channels, making cross-channel management of customer communications crucial. While digital channels, such as email and text messages, have grown significantly in the past few years, Madison Advisors has found that customers continue to prefer different channels for different types of communications. As a result, organizations need to be able to support a customer’s interaction moving across channels with minimal friction for high customer satisfaction.

Today, a customer interaction with the enterprise often extends beyond one channel. A sales inquiry may start with an email, a paper contract may be generated for signatures, and the interaction may be concluded with a text notification. Customers expect a seamless interaction to extend across channels. Enterprise organizations need interconnected solutions capable of generating each customer communication, automating the processing of each communication, and tracking them to ensure that a customer interaction is not lost and that the status in one channel transfers to another channel.

The cross-channel management of customer communications enables organizations to reduce the amount of friction experienced by customers, improving the overall customer experience. For example, a text notification to a customer saying their bill is ready for viewing reminds customers to check their email and reduces the payment cycle time. Allowing customers to choose preferred methods of communication depending on the type of communication improves the overall customer experience.

The traditional automated document factory (ADF) is a collection of software modules integrated and configured to support print production. The ADF manages production with automated workflows triggered by the receipt of a file or a timer. For regulated industries, such as insurance and healthcare, the ADF retains proof that a document was mailed to a specific customer on a specific day. However, these solutions do not support digital channels to the same extent.

The changing paradigm with an emphasis on the customer experience requires new solutions capable of managing the process for both physical and digital communications. To meet the new demands, enterprise organizations need to assemble a digital ADF capable of integration with line of business applications, as well as newer customer data repositories, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and consent management applications.

The digital ADF supports all communications and, more importantly, automates the processes when the appropriate channel changes between channels. The new solution monitors communications as they relate to the customer lifecycle, triggering processes to automate customer interaction and eliminate as many manual steps as possible. In addition, the digital ADF links the various communications and documents together.

For example, a claims process generates a number of back-and-forth communications, including digital photos, documents from third parties, and a payment. From the insured’s perspective, it should not matter if the information is shared through an online form, a text message with attached photos, or a paper check, all these documents are part of the same incident. The insured would not expect to have to re-enter personal information repeatedly at each stage.

Ideally, the digital ADF supports a broad range of communications, including sales and marketing, and it leverages a centralized data repository for a 360-degree view of the customer and a record of all associated customer interactions. The solution also includes or has access to a content repository capable of storing different types of content and delivering it in a channel-appropriate format.

Most enterprises are still in the early stages of digital transformation initiatives and CCM systems remain fragmented. As a first step, it is vital that organizations evaluate their own business goals and properly assess their customers’ expectations to ensure that the solution aligns with both. The organization should identify which channels customers are asking for most often, as well as which channels best support the various business processes.

The future state for a digitally transformed environment will reveal business, functional, and technical requirements that must be met to support the transformation. Madison Advisors works with its clients to identify the appropriate business goals and requirements and then select the right solutions to meet these goals.

The current state of the ADF market is explored in more detail in Madison Advisors’ Brief “Automated Document Factory Solutions Enter the Digital Age,” October 2022.

Over the past two decades, Madison Advisors' industry-neutral expertise enables enterprise organizations, service providers and technology providers to achieve their strategic objectives around today’s evolving customer communications management (CCM) requirements.
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