If your job involves speaking with customers, it involves customer service, too.
Customer service isn't just a concept that's restricted to one department at your company. Rather, it's a business strategy that should be engrained into your corporate culture. It doesn't matter if you're on a customer service, sales, or marketing team, your employees should be customer-centric and focused on creating delightful experiences.
One place to start is with customer communication. Having a standardized approach to how you engage customers creates a brand experience that employees can replicate consistently. That way, it doesn't matter if a customer is working with a service, sales, or marketing rep, they're experiencing positive interactions throughout the customer journey.
In this post, we'll explain what customer communication management, or CCM, is. Then, we'll wrap up by listing some software options that can help you manage customer interactions more effectively.
Customer Communication Management (CCM)
Customer communication management (CCM) refers to a business's 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.
And, 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 to an accessible space encourages departments to work collaboratively and drives a flywheel that attracts, engages, and delights customers.
Outbound communication comes in two forms. It can either be a live interaction, like a phone call or in-person conversation, or it can be a digital interaction that's 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 these interactions is becoming increasingly important for CCM as business continues to shift into a digital landscape.
Now that we've provided an overview of CCM, let's look at the tools your team should consider for managing customer communications.
Customer Communication Management Software
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. And, its conversations feature centralizes responses so communication is funneled into one collaborative space. There, employees can distribute attractive offers, nurture interested leads, and delight frustrated customers.
Price: Free CRM, $50/month per agent for Sevice Hub Starter, $400/month per 5 agents for Service Hub Professional, $1,200 per 10 agents for Service Hub Enterprise
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.
And, TrueDialog has one-to-one texting as well. So, not only can agents send out alerts, but customers can 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: $99/month for Small Business Plan, $375/month Business Pro Plan, $899/month for Enterprise Plan, $2,499/month for Customer Enterprise Plan
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 one, consistent interface. By making this internal process more efficient, your agents will improve their response rates and solve problems faster.
Price: $15/month per agent for Base Plan, $25/month for Advanced Plan, $45/month for Enterprise Plan
Unymira 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 off of the website content. This creates a self-service hub that customers can navigate to whenever they have a question about your products or services.
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. It also lets you save customer information, so you know which channels each customer uses most.
Another cool feature that MessengerPeople has is "chatblocks." These are prewritten 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: 499€/month for Medium Plan, 999€/month for Large Plan, Pricing Available Upon Request for Extra Large Plan
If you're looking to assess your customer communication plan, read about conducting a contextual inquiry.
Originally published Mar 17, 2020 8:00:00 AM, updated June 24 2022