MSP Today Expert Feature
March 09, 2016

Getting the Most Out of Customer Communications with Hosted Managed Services


By Special Guest
Stephanie Pieruccini, Vice President of Research and Enterprise & Technology Consulting Services, Madison Advisors

Managing customer communications continues to be a challenge for today’s insurance organizations. Customer communications and their corresponding workflows quickly become very complex due to the need to maintain compliance and make regulatory changes along with making communications more personalized, relevant and actionable. Add in the growing channel delivery expectations in the digital world and these hurdles have caused many insurance organizations to fall behind when it comes to achieving strategic communication goals and engaging with customers.


As might be expected, these rapid changes in customer communication requirements have driven software providers to build additional capabilities into their solutions. Unfortunately, these ever-increasing capabilities can often create a technology proficiency gap that leaves companies struggling to make effective use of or generate a return from their customer communications management (CCM (News - Alert)) investments. Moreover, document composition tools represent only one element of customer communications lifecycle management, leaving internal IT departments with the burden of integrating numerous tools into an already disparate CCM infrastructure.

To take some of this strain off enterprise IT groups, many print service providers and service bureaus have also expanded their service offerings to provide capabilities above and beyond print services. However, these services have primarily been limited to composition and document redesigns. A gap remains in helping insurers connect and centralize various lines of business to align communications strategies and ensure consistency across communications.

To address this gap, a new segment of service providers have found a niche by addressing enterprise CCM with hosted managed services (CCM HMS). These companies do not offer print production services as one might think. Instead, they partner with enterprise organizations, such as insurers, and their communications stakeholders to create a strategy for managing communications. Whether specifying a specific composition tool or leaving it to the CCM HMS provider, insurers can be relieved of the responsibilities of day-to-day document change requests, legacy document conversions and document redesign initiatives that bog down enterprise IT groups. The CCM HMS provider can also work with designated print service providers, whether internal or external, producing manufacturing-ready files to prevent production issues and post-composition needs. Additionally, enterprises can leverage these firms’ expertise in multichannel communication strategies and customer channel preference management to develop a plan that meets the needs of both the various lines of businesses and their customers.

The expertise and experience that CCM HMS providers have with the various composition and post-composition tools helps to ensure the insurer is leveraging the most advanced features and functions available in CCM technology platforms, including container-based design, content-level change tracking, reduction in the number of templates through the use of variables, addition of dynamic components and intelligent designs prepared for delivery through a number of current and future channels. Some of these areas may not be top of mind for many insurance enterprises but could make a difference when preparing documents and communications for future initiatives.

Another benefit of working with a hosted managed services provider is the transparency that comes from the dashboard and tracking tools provided by their platforms. The CCM HMS integrates with both enterprise and print service provider solutions to enable real-time tracking of communications, from composition through print production and mailing. These interfaces also allow enterprises to empower business users to make some communications changes on their own within a controlled environment.

Typically, the services provided by CCM HMS providers can be customized in a variety of ways to meet specific enterprise needs and address concerns. Insurers can choose between options such as having the provider host the solution completely or installing it behind an enterprise firewall, taking complete responsibility of composition and delivery off IT or partnering with the enterprise IT group on specific communication initiatives, and even helping to connect the marketing and transactional communications functions for a robust, multi-channel communications strategy. The opportunities are endless and customized to each enterprise’s unique setting.

CCM HMS is certainly not the only way to resolve a gap between Customer Communications Management software capabilities and enterprise implementations. However, it can be an ideal solution for many insurance organizations looking to lighten the load on IT resources and focus initiatives on the overall customer engagement strategy rather than the day-to-day logistics of creating and distributing communications.

When engaging with a CCM HMS provider, an insurer is not only partnering with a service provider for a solution to manage customer communications, it’s also partnering with experts who know these software tools inside and out and understand the challenges that enterprise organizations face today. Their expertise will help design a solution that meets the specific needs of the insurance enterprise and its stakeholders and, ultimately, allow the insurer to focus on its primary objective— customer engagement.

To access the research report on which this article is based, click here.
 

Stephanie Pieruccini is the vice president of research and enterprise & technology consulting services at Madison Advisors. She can be reached at stephaniepieruccini@madison-advisors.com or on Twitter (News - Alert) @spieruccini.




Edited by Maurice Nagle




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