Improving the customer experience (CX) is top of the agenda for many organisations at the moment.
According to industry analyst Forrester, of all the industries aiming to improve in this area, banks are in line to enjoy the biggest revenue increases if they improve CX. The good news is that, for all the hype around using ‘internet of things’ and Big Data to improve CX, focusing on customer communication at a more fundamental level can be the most effective way to make a difference.
From formal letters about changes to terms and conditions to more free-flowing blog posts about charitable fundraising initiatives, written communication provides a great opportunity to improve the customer experience. Coincidentally, people are becoming increasingly confident and proficient at creating content – such as blogs and white papers – in a work environment; this comes as a by-product of the democratisation of the publishing process, which means that anybody can publish a blog or sell an ebook.
Financial services organisations can capitalise on this evolving employee skillset by using it to come across in an increasingly human way, which can greatly improve the CX.
Unfortunately, there‘s a stumbling block that is tripping many organisations up when it comes to producing content internally. Put simply, while consumer-market blogging and publishing platforms are popular due to easy uploads and the fluid nature sites can take, the content management systems (CMS) used within the industry are often streets behind, using legacy technology and unintuitive design.
Employees are likely to be frustrated by this, as the process of writing, uploading, editing and collaborating on content can be a lot more difficult in a work environment than it is at home. This can have a negative impact for businesses, with employees possibly less keen to take on written work, taking longer to complete it and potentially not communicating with customers and prospects in the best way.
Three steps to success
From credit unions to accountancy firms, organisations across the board must take action to ensure their content appeals to customers. Whether it’s an introductory guide to a new type of service being introduced or a letter about upgrades to a local bank branch, there are three steps to follow for great content:
1. Ensure content quality and consistency
Before they do anything else, brands must step back and ensure they are able to communicate with clarity and consistency. However, that’s easier said than done. For all the corporate guidelines and brand voice handbooks, the ever-increasing sprawl of communication channels now demanded by customers – and growing trend of outsourcing elements of communication and brand design work to third parties – means there is an increasing threat of inconsistency creeping in.
To head this off, steps must be taken to prevent the brand message from being diluted. Businesses must make sure there’s consistency across every piece of content – either in development or publicly available – so that they can give the right message over the right channel at the right time.
2. Provide a synchronised omnichannel view
It will be very difficult to ensure quality and consistency without visibility into content that’s being created and published/shared with customers. For example, there’s a risk of repeating the same information several times across annual account review letters and client update emails, if there is not visibility between the teams creating them. Further to this, it can also prove confusing to be faced with multiple versions of the same piece of writing, and be unsure about which is the final approved version, or why certain aspects have been removed.
To prevent these problems from escalating, businesses must ensure they are in full control of content across all devices and channels. As such, a synchronised omnichannel view can be mission-critical. This will allow employees to be confident creating content and applying it across email, post, apps and other channels, as well as seamlessly integrating with new technologies and data points that are acquired by the business over time.
3. Take a view from the top
To lay the groundwork for success, businesses should ensure all legacy technologies are linked together. For example, the inputs and outputs from multiple CMS versions running in different departments within the same organisation should be joined up. A straight rip-and-replace approach can often prove too traumatic and difficult to carry off in practice, which is why a halfway-house approach works well: it allows banks to both keep the legacy technology roots in place and modernise their approach to content creation and management.
They can negate the need to rip out the roots by introducing a system which lies over the top of existing processes. With a system that unifies legacy data and content, it is possible to painlessly plug directly into unstructured data and content on an ongoing basis.
The three steps are simple: be confident about quality and consistency, ensure you are able to take a synchronised view of all channels and get an overarching, fluid platform in place. After taking these steps, businesses can be confident they are using written materials to communicate with customers and prospects in the most effective way and will be able to reap the long-term rewards that perfectly targeted, consistent, on-message content can bring.
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