If your company establishes a standardized approach to engaging customers, you'll be able to create a consistent, positive brand experience. That way, it doesn't matter if a customer is working with a service, sales, or marketing rep. They're always experiencing positive interactions throughout the customer journey.
In this post, we'll dive into the basics of CCM, and explore some of its key benefits. Then, we'll highlight some software options that can help you manage customer interactions more effectively.
What is customer communication management?
Customer communication management (CCM) refers to a business' outbound strategy to communicate with its customers. In most cases, CCM is executed through a tool or software that localizes conversations into a central location. Ultimately, this helps marketing, sales, and service teams optimize customer engagement.
Customer communication isn't limited to your customer service team. It's a strategy that involves customer-facing employees across the entire organization. Centralizing your outbound conversations in an accessible space encourages departments to work collaboratively and drives a flywheel that attracts, engages, and delights customers.
CCM and Outbound Communication
Outbound communication comes in two forms:
Live interactions, like a phone call or in-person conversation.
Or digital interactions conducted through a written medium.
CCM accounts for both types and uses unique tools to record and categorize these conversations.
Live interactions are typically recorded on a support ticket or the contact's profile within your team's database. That's because these conversations are completely personalized and are only important to specific customers.
Digital interactions, however, can be relevant to your entire customer base. For example, if you're a subscription-based business, all of your customers will receive an invoice. Even though they don't interact much with this content, it still makes an impact on their customer experience.
Auditing and optimizing digital interactions is becoming increasingly important for CCM, as business continues to shift into a digital landscape.
Key Benefits of Effective CCM
Implementing a consistent CCM strategy has three major benefits.
1. Increased Personalization
Personalized interactions can help customers feel more connected to brands and encourage them to spend more over time.
Achieving this goal, however, requires effective use of customer communication data. Consider a repeat customer that has a demonstrated preference for specific products in your catalog. In the past, they have also experienced some issues with quality that were resolved via customer service.
Effective CCM makes it possible to connect the dots on this consumer experience and ensure agents are equipped with the data they need to quickly address customer concerns based on their specific history with the brand.
2. Enhanced Engagement Tracking
User engagement is a key component of ongoing sales success. In fact, customer engagement can help boost the brand experience, increase customers' sense of loyalty and trust, and provide valuable feedback for future decision-making, according to research firm Gartner.
The right CCM platform sets the stage for this tracking by allowing companies to gather data from multiple sources and create a comprehensive customer profile.
3. Improved Customer Experiences
Want to keep more customers and capture new customer attention? Improve the user experience. From websites to emails to phone calls and direct messages, the more frictionless the experience, the better for your brand.
CCM tools can measure how customers interact with your brand, how often they come back, and what (if anything) they're saying to other potential customers about their experience.
Customer Communication Management Software
Managing customer communication can be a challenge without the proper tools. Here are five software solutions that can help you keep a pulse on the user experience.
HubSpot is an all-in-one marketing, sales, and customer service platform. Its system is rooted in its free CRM, and every tool it offers is connected to your central customer database. That way, it doesn't matter if you're a marketing, sales, or customer service rep. All of your employees will have access to the same tools and information.
For customer communication, HubSpot has tools that manage both live and digital interactions. Its marketing and sales email tools help teams proactively connect with customers and engage them over time.
Plus, HubSpot's conversations feature centralized responses so communication is funneled into one collaborative space. There, employees can distribute attractive offers, nurture interested leads, and delight frustrated customers.
Price: Paid options range from $50 monthly per agent for Service Hub Starter, $425 each month for up to 5 agents for Service Hub Professional, and $1,200 each month per 10 agents for Service Hub Enterprise.
What we like: With HubSpot, you get an all-in-one solution that actually does it all. From customer data collection and management to analysis and action rooted in reliable metrics, HubSpot can help move your CCM from average to ahead of the pack.
TrueDialog is an SMS communication tool that schedules and sends text messages to your customers. You can distribute offers like coupons and surveys, and send important notifications to your entire customer base.
TrueDialog has one-to-one texting as well. So, not only can agents send out alerts, but customers can also respond to them and ask questions if needed. This removes friction within the service experience because customers can use the same communication channel to get immediate answers to urgent questions.
Price: Prices start at $99 per month for the Small Business Plan, $375 per month for the Business Pro Plan, $899 per month for the Enterprise Plan, and $2,499 per month for the Customer Enterprise Plan.
What we like: Texting is the new phone call, especially among younger customers. In fact, 98% of texts are opened — compared to just 20% of emails. It's easy to see why getting in touch through text can help drive sales success.
This CCM software acts as a host for various messaging tools. So, regardless of where your customers prefer to communicate, you can engage them on the same medium they're most comfortable using.
On your end, however, all conversations are routed to a shared inbox, allowing your agents to communicate through a consistent interface. By making this internal process more efficient, your agents will improve their response rates and solve problems faster.
Price: Prices start at $15 each month per agent for the Base Plan, $25 per month for the Advanced Plan, and $45 per month for the Enterprise Plan.
What we like: Kommo provides a birds-eye view of your sales pipeline that pulls data from multiple sources, in turn delivering end-to-end visibility of your sales and marketing cycle. The platform also makes it possible to close deals anywhere, anytime, with a full-featured mobile app that unifies all of your messaging tools.
USU is a customer service tool that uses a knowledge base as the center of its communication platform. Once the knowledge base is built, you can create features like chatbots and service workflows that stem from your website content. This creates a self-service hub that customers can navigate to whenever they have a question about your products or services.
Price: Pricing is available upon request.
What we like: Knowledge is power. And in this case, knowledge is potential revenue. By creating a customized and in-depth knowledge base that users can access on-demand, it's possible to remove friction from the user experience. If customers have a question, chances are they can find the answer in your knowledge base rather than reaching out to agents. In addition, USU offers software, service, and IT management to help unify both employee and customer experiences.
MessengerPeople is a communication platform that focuses on live chat. It lets your team communicate with customers through the most popular live chat channels like Facebook, WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, and Telegram. You can also save customer information, so you know which channels each customer uses most.
Another cool feature that MessengerPeople has is "chatblocks." These are pre-written responses that can improve an agent's efficiency. Rather than typing out a response that's used daily, agents can simply paste the recording into the chat and send it immediately. This saves them time and creates more consistency within your customer communication.
Price: Pricing starts at 499€ each month for the Medium Plan, and 999€ each month for the Large Plan. Pricing is available upon request for the Extra Large Plan.
What we like: Live chat can help your agents better connect with customers, especially since they're talking to a real person rather than a chatbot. Chatbots, meanwhile, can cut down on the amount of time agents spend answering common questions and let them focus on what matters: finding leads and closing deals. MessegerPeople offers the best of both worlds.
Making the Most of Your CCM
Not sure if your CCM is meeting expectations? Start with a contextual inquiry to discover where your CCM is working and where it needs improvement. This will help pinpoint which of the tools listed above may be the best fit — and where they can help close the gap.