The expanding range of tools and platforms used for customer communications has made it increasingly difficult for enterprises to implement a consistent communications strategy across the organization.
With a wide range of platforms including marketing automation, CRM, customer communications management, social messaging, core transaction processing systems, websites and mobile apps, the number of tools, as well as the number of channels used to interact with customers, are increasing.
While the core communications systems typically have central ownership, several regions, product, promotion, and channel-specific customer engagement initiatives exist in disjointed silos of teams, departments, and business units.
As a result, multiple, inconsistent, sometimes conflicting, messages are sent to customers at odd times leaving them annoyed and disgruntled.
In our conversations with clients, enterprise architects often cite their biggest customer communications challenge to be the inability to enforce a consistent contact policy on customer communications that sit beyond the purview of core engagement systems.
Just to cite a few examples:
a. How do you avoid contacting a customer beyond a certain number of times every week?
b. How do you ensure sending communications only during social hours?
c. How do you eliminate accidental consent violations?
These are all critical considerations especially amid the tightening regulatory environment with stringent customer communication guidelines. For example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulation that comes into effect starting May 25, 2018 mandates explicit collection of consent from customers before organizations contact them for any purpose. Organizations that fail to abide by the guidelines can face 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater) in penalties.
Applying consistent customer contact policies across the enterprise using IMIconnect
One of the key objectives that we set for ourselves when designing IMIconnect was to make it easy for developers and business owners to ensure alignment with organization’s customer contact policy even when working in large cross-functional teams.
IMIconnect offers several key features that enable you to implement contextual social hour, opt-in status, and contact threshold checks, among several other such policies, across customer journeys. Here is a brief introduction of some of these features:
a. Consent check – IMIconnect flow builder offers a pre-built node for checking customer’s opt-in status before sending out any outbound message across any channel. We populate the opt-out list once at the time of initial onboarding. Thereafter, the list refreshes as and when a customer chooses to re-subscribe or unsubscribe from your communications lists. Direct integrations with other systems enable real-time list update.
b. Social hour node – IMIconnect makes it easy for you to configure the preferred time windows for sending outbound messages as per your customer contact policy. Instead of writing complex code to validate message timings and buffering communications during non-social hours, you can simply configure the time intervals at a granular level for each day and each channel. The platform automatically holds the communications triggered during non-social hours and sends them during the next available slot.
Refer docs for more information on how you can use social hour node to avoid sending communications at odd hours.
c. Communication threshold – The next challenge and arguably the most difficult to address is limiting the number of outbound messages to a maximum threshold within a certain time duration. For example, not more than two marketing messages within a week.
With IMIconnect, this problem is easily resolved through cross-flow data sharing. As and when you set up your customer journeys on IMIconnect, you can maintain and access a communications counter in a central database and access it as a session variable across flows. The count increases every time you send an outbound message within a certain time duration and refreshes to zero once the new cycle starts.
IMIconnect’s ‘Evaluate Node’ allows you to define and execute your custom logic within a flow.
d. Drop redundant messages – While the earlier examples are standardized features desired by most businesses, certain situations demand custom logic implementation. For example, once you decide to defer messages triggered by business systems during non-social hours e.g. parcel notifications sent for each intermediate stop during an overnight shipment, sending all the buffered messages at the next available slot makes little sense. You can instead add custom logic to suppress all the redundant intermediate messages and deliver just one consolidated message or the latest one (e.g. latest parcel delivery status) to the customer.
The possibilities are endless. With IMIconnect it is totally your choice on when and how you want to communicate with your customers. By centralising all your customer communications on a secure cloud platform like IMIconnect and using our purpose-built features, you can easily implement an enterprise-wide consistent customer contact policy and begin to build the foundation for a central view of all customer interactions, across channels and business systems.