3 Ways to Approach Multichannel Customer CommunicationOct 07, 2016
We all know that communication with customers is evolving. Companies are making efforts to get in touch with customers on their terms, which inevitably results in supporting multiple channels. As a company you can approach this in different ways, depending on budget, time to market and the desired customer experience.
The e-book "Connecting Customers to a Deeper Conversation" of Lexmark introduces the concepts of active and passive multichannel customer communication. Although they are spot on and useful concepts to understand the possibilities of multichannel communication, I want to go a step further and introduce the concept of responsive multichannel communication. But first things first. What is active and passive multichannel communication?
Passive Multichannel Communications
If the same content and the same look and feel are used for multiple channels, then we speak of passive multichannel communication. So typically, the same template is used for multiple channels:
- First, to generate print output (e.g. a statement that is bundled, ordered and enriched with OMR barcodes for enveloping)
- Secondly, to generate attachments in an email (or PDF documents on the company portal that are referred to in emails)
Passive multichannel is a valuable strategy to customer communication, as it takes into account the customer preference, it doesn’t require the effort (and budget) to manage multiple templates and is typically achievable on short term. On the other hand, the content is not adapted to the channel, which results in less desirable customer experience.
Active Multichannel Communication
The term active multichannel communication is used if the content is different for the different channels. Although it is not absolutely necessary, this often results in multiple templates as those templates differ too much. For example
- A template for print output that has a formal header, a call to action with a QR barcode, references to the URL of the website and 2 pages with general terms and conditions.
- A template for email output
Active multichannel communication adds differentiation in content based on the channel, which definitely contributes positively on the customer experience. On the other hand, this can have a negative impact on the budget if you don’t have the right tools to manage multichannel communications efficiently!
Responsive Multichannel Communication
In the active multichannel communication approach, the responsive aspect of communications (in both design as delivery) is lacking. If you’re looking for an optimal customer experience, you definitely need to consider responsive multichannel customer communications.
With responsive template design, it is possible to craft communications that provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience across a wide range of devices. Depending on the available screen space, parts of the communication are shown differently or not at all.
With responsive channel delivery, you take into account the response of the used channel to trigger follow-up actions. Imagine that you send an email and your customer just switched email address. As a result, the email bounces or it is not read within 5 days. In the responsive multichannel approach, you have the possibility to design the next action that is executed automatically. This can be sending the same communication via the postal service (with request to update email address) or sending an SMS with the request to update the email address.
The responsive multichannel approach adds a responsive aspect to the design and the delivery of communications. This is a step forward in the provided customer experience compared to the active multichannel approach.
What's Next? Let's talk!
As a company you have to decide which approach you want to implement, based on the available budget, time and desired customer experience. Scriptura Engage helps іmрrоvе сuѕtоmеr experience thrоugh thе аutоmаtіоn of customer соmmunісаtіоnѕ and supports all three approaches. Our customers uѕе оur Cuѕtоmеr Communication Management software tо design, рrоduсе, and dіѕtrіbutе critical buѕіnеѕѕ communications thаt are highly-реrѕоnаlіzеd аnd іntеrасtіvе.
Let's go over your specific situation and see how you can benefit from this.