When you are working with a central customer database, these features are critical to maximising the benefits of a digital communication platform.
The previous article in the series looked at the single database and like “day follows night” the next step is all about your ability to utilise these features (Automation, segmentation, data capture, and reporting).
Using data to just “batch and blast” emails or SMS messages is the most inefficient way of utilising digital communication. It’s equivalent to throwing a dart at a dartboard, in the dark, wearing a blindfold. Now and then you are going to hit the target, but there are going to be far more holes in the wall to be patched up than direct hits.
Organisations are sometimes forced to patch together different technology solutions to be able to communicate via multiple channels. If you are using a central database, you have a great opportunity to deliver the right content to the right people and improve the overall customer experience as you do it, but only if you can automate, segment and capture data.
A single database is crucial when it comes to automation, segmentation, data capture and reporting. Without it would just get too complicated to manually pull together the results of different campaigns, spread across different databases and different communications channels. It starts getting complicated fast! ONE database, ONE multi-channel digital communication platform offering the ability to automate, segment, capture data and report opens the door to a better customer experience.
The first communication you make with a customer should be viewed as a form of dialogue, a two-way street. Thanks to technology, inbound communication is as valuable as outbound. For inbound to be valuable, you have to be able to update the database as required and that means integrating with the organisation’s core business systems (via APIs / SFTP). The connectivity between your digital communication platform and your core business system should happen on a regular basis (i.e. daily) depending on how you use your digital communication platform. This allows an organisation to view all the different communications they have with their customers on an individual basis (from operation to marketing).
Facebook is an excellent example of how individuals are in control (within reason) of the content they receive. A good communication strategy can take its lead from this. Asking your customers what information they are most interested in and what channel they prefer to receive it on is a valuable insight. A digital communication platform should be able to capture customer preferences/data and act on it as appropriate. These customer preferences are an example of obtaining data and an excellent example of how you can create a better customer experience.
Using a multi-channel digital communication platform can appear complicated, and for many, a bridge too far, but I urge anyone reading this to embrace their fear. The fear of “going digital”, the fear of creating a single database, the fear of handling personal data and the fear of change itself can stop organisations from moving forward in this area. The good news is there are plenty of “baby steps” an organisation can take on the journey to a centralised communication strategy, and the first one is ONE platform (Which50).
Automation is another feature in the arsenal of the digital communicator. For example, if you have an automated new employee journey and you use the platform to execute this journey. The platform can be set up to initiate an induction campaign when a list of new employees is uploaded. You can then re-connect with those who have not yet read the communication(s) and ensure that they do by using another channel or sending a second automated email. Examples like this illustrate the use of the platform is not confined to external communications.
Another example of the platform at work is a utility client which uses Which50 to carry out their bill collection process. If they could not segment, automate and update the central customer database (via SFTP / APIs), a person might pay a bill halfway through a bill collection campaign but still receive demands to pay. It is important they are removed from the database list once they have paid! If the customer paid their bill in the local Post Office, the campaign has to “Know”. It sounds like it might be too complicated for some but thanks to technology it’s not. In fact, with basic training, anyone can set up such campaigns.
Which50 our multi-channel digital communication platform can automate, segment, capture data, personalise, retarget and report. It is used across operational and marketing departments bringing together different business units. This is the first step to centralising all communications. The commercial environment is moving towards centralising their customer databases for communication purposes, and in doing so, they create the necessity to automate, segment and capture data to realise better customer experiences.