By Gina Ferrara, Senior Analyst
My colleague, Gary Simpson, VP of Business Development and Service Delivery, and I had the opportunity to participate in the thINK Conference held in Boca Raton on October 9-11, 2017. This event can be summarized in one word: kyosei, a word that represents Canon’s corporate philosophy. It is defined as “all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, harmoniously living and working together into the future.” The thINK Conference embraces this concept with its emphasis on creating a welcoming community for all participants to share ideas for the betterment of the inkjet print industry.
Now that the conference has passed, I have begun to reflect a little more on kyosei and how it might be useful if adopted by other organizations. At Madison Advisors, we have worked with numerous enterprise clients to review, document and clarify customer communication goals relative to revenue enhancement, cost and risk reduction, technology requirements and customer experience and engagement. Using our optiMA™ process, it is our objective to develop an actionable, enterprise-wide customer communications strategy. Customer communications management (CCM) is no longer specific to one line of business or marketing, and not solely the responsibility of technology and the internal print shop—it belongs to all—but the key is to identify all stakeholders so that the strategy benefits the entire enterprise. Unfortunately, since many large organizations tend to operate in silos, creating a strategy for customer communications is no easy task. This is why I believe that the concept of kyosei can be useful for these organizations. Allow me to elaborate.
Developing a successful CCM strategy requires involvement of all stakeholders, but it is not limited to the obvious ones such as the business lines and marketing, technology and the print and mail operation (if the organization maintains an in-plant). There are other critical stakeholders that should be engaged as well, such as compliance and legal, customer support and the call center, front office personnel in the branches and field agents. Internal departments responsible for all touchpoints through which a customer may interact with an organization such as email, web, mobile app or social media should also be included. How can an organization be sure that all stakeholders have been identified? The answer is what brings me to my next point: the customer journey.
Customer journey and customer journey maps are two concepts that have recently attracted a lot of attention in the CCM industry—and this comes as no surprise due to the strategic focus placed on improving the customer experience (CX) to gain a competitive advantage. A customer journey mapping exercise is a great way for an organization to “take a walk in a customer’s shoes” and gain insight on what it is like for a customer to conduct business and interact with the organization. Those interactions may occur via any channel, whether it is print or email, over the phone or through other digital means such as a mobile app, web portal and social media. Journey maps document all of the processes necessary to complete a specific action, and can help identify the internal stakeholders, touchpoints and communications generated during the course of the interaction, e.g. the journey. It is critical to identify both the outbound and the inbound communications, since many outbound communications will trigger or require a response from the customer.
One of the keynote speakers at thINK was Captain Mark Kelly who said, “How good you are today is no indicator of how good you can become.” This statement should be kept in mind throughout the customer journey mapping exercise. To be successful and gain a competitive advantage, an organization must understand the customer journey and be open to new ideas and change. This requires engaging all stakeholders across the enterprise to collaborate as one community, and determine ways to add value and provide a positive customer experience. This is kyosei.
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