Customer Communication Management Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Make Every Conversation Count With Effective Customer Communication

We all know that customers do not buy your products, they buy experiences. And you need proper customer communication management to deliver exceptional and personalized experiences. 

In today’s hyper-connected world, customers have more options to communicate with your brand. They can share a query via live chat, drop a feature request via email, or share their experience on social media. 

Therefore, it becomes all the more important to manage all inbound and outbound conversations using the best customer communication management software. It doesn’t matter if a customer interacts with a sales executive or a support representative, they can have a consistent experience every single time. 

If you are looking for some robust customer communication management strategies or the best CCM tools, you have come to the right place. In this blog, we will answer all your questions and help your business make every conversation count. 

Here we go! 

What is Customer Communications Management? 

Customer communications management (CCM) is a process used by businesses to improve the creation, sharing, storage, and retrieval of customer communications. CCM can involve multiple departments such as marketing (creating email campaigns), customer service (offering phone assistance), or the accounts team (sharing billing and payment notifications). 

From the above definition of CCM, it is clear that it can help your business hold meaningful conversations, deliver consistent experiences, and retain customers for the long term. CCM is usually executed with a tool that helps you streamline all your communication channels such as email, live chat, SMS, phone, social media, chatbots, and more. 

What Are the Benefits of Effective Customer Communications Management? 

Right from improved CX to reduced data risk, there are multiple benefits your business can enjoy by implementing the right customer communication management solution. Let’s discuss the benefits right away. 

1. Improve the Customer Experience 

CCM can help your business find answers to many important questions. For example, you can identify the most popular customer communication methods or channels used by your audience. Similarly, you can even track relevant metrics such as the average wait time for live chat, email, or the phone. 

With such great insights at your fingertips, your business can look to meet customer expectations and enhance the customer experience. For instance, if you see that a majority of customers prefer live chat to communicate, you can make it your primary channel and add more chat operators to meet the demand. 

2. Reach Customers with Proactive Communication 

Being proactive in your customer relationships can help you reduce customer frustration and eventually churn. With the right customer communication management system in place, you can share proactive communications and delight customers. 

Here is how you can engage in proactive communication: 

  • Share Regular Updates: Imagine a customer complaining about a product feature that does not work. Your team has registered the complaint but even after two days, there is no update. Now, this is bound to frustrate the customer. So to avoid such situations, you need to share regular updates with customers about their ongoing queries or complaints. Similarly, you need to share regular project updates with clients to keep them up-to-date on how your team is progressing. 
  • Report Unusual Activities: For any business, unusual activities or problems can occur on any day at any time. For example, your business website can crash or a payment gateway might fail to work. In such cases, you need to share proactive notifications with customers to inform them about the issue. This will also save your support team from answering unnecessary phone calls or emails. 
Read More: Proactive VS Reactive Customer Service: Which One Should You Choose?

3. Improved Training 

We all know that a customer communication management solution can help you store all ongoing and past customer interactions in one place. But how can this data help your business with employee training? 

Well, your team members can always access this storehouse of information whenever they need it. More importantly, when you hire new customer-facing staff members (sales or customer service), they can access email, phone, or chat conversations and understand the nature of the script that is followed. Managers can even identify top-rated client interactions and use them as examples to show everyone what is expected of them. 

4. Gain a Competitive Advantage

Let’s be honest, not every business out there values how they communicate with customers. As a result, there is an evident lack of consistency, guiding principles, and quality in customer communications. 

However, when your business follows customer communication management best practices, you can stay ahead of the competition. Customers will never have a hard time reaching out to your business for support or sales inquiries. Furthermore, they will be happy to share their excellent experiences with family members and friends and drive more prospects to your business. 

Most Common Customer Communication Channels

Modern customers are no longer dependent on the phone or email to contact a business. They have multiple communication channels that are available to them. Let’s explore them in detail. 

Email: Email is one of the most popular customer contact channels that can be used for marketing, sales, onboarding, customer service, and much more. Even though it takes longer to get an email response, customers prefer this channel as it is more professional and helps in keeping things well-documented. 

Live Chat: When it comes to real-time customer interactions, live chat is the king. Almost all popular websites today allow visitors to seek assistance via the live chat window. It is a great option to reduce customer wait times and increase agent productivity as they can handle multiple chats simultaneously. 

Chatbots: Chatbot is another communication channel that is witnessing exponential growth and innovation. AI-powered chatbots can help you automate your customer service and reduce the need for agent intervention. Moreover, unlike your team, bots can be available 24×7, throughout the year and help customers with their routine questions. 

Phone: The phone is still the most preferred channel to have meaningful, one-to-one conversations with customers. Why is it still so popular? Well, no other channel can offer the trust or comfort of speaking to a knowledgeable and empathetic agent. However, since an agent can only take one call at a time, this channel is often known for long hold times. 

Printed Documents: Printed documents are also used to communicate with customers. For example, your product can include a user manual that explains the various features and other nitty-gritty details. In such documents, the paper quality matters as customers can feel it, unlike digital documents. 

Social Media: Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn have allowed brands to connect, interact, and engage with their target audiences. However, a single poor review or complaint on social media can reach thousands of people in no time and jeopardize your brand’s reputation. 

Read More: Choose the Best Customer Support Channels for Your Growing Business

Customer Communications Management (CCM) vs. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

CCM and CRM are closely related as they both help in managing the communications between an organization and its customers. 

Although many people might use the terms customer communication management and customer relationship management interchangeably, there are not one and the same. 

So what’s the difference between CCM and CRM

Customer communication management is a process that helps your business create, store, and analyze all customer-related communications. For example, it can involve support-related phone conversations or email notifications to remind customers about their approaching billing date. 

On the other hand, CRM is a much broader, sales-oriented approach that focuses on storing customer data (account information, contact details, past interactions, purchase history, etc.) for the purpose of improving a company’s relationship with its customers. 

Customer Communication Management Trends You Must Know

Every year there are “latest” trends that influence the market. However, we have focused on a few customer communication trends that have been discussed and debated by experts for some years now. 

1. Hyper-Personalization

Personalization has been the talk of the business town for a good number of years now. With more and more customers demanding a hyper-personalized experience, brands are pushing hard to better understand their customers. 

According to a study by Epsilon, around 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a business that offers personalized experiences.

Businesses are striving hard to personalize not just marketing but any form of customer interaction. For example, simply asking the customer about their preferred channel and time of communication can be a game-changer. Your team members will know how to contact a particular customer and avoid frustrating them with untimely calls or emails. 

2. Automated Communication via Intelligent Chatbots

There is no doubt that AI-powered Chatbots are gaining tremendous popularity with the passage of time. They can help you automate your basic customer communications as well as the lead generation process. 

According to a recent study, 67% of customers prefer chatbots because they provide quick answers to simple questions. 

AI-powered chatbot

Source

Moreover, well-curated chatbots can help you reduce the burden on your support staff. Bots can hold human-like interactions, offer instant solutions, or connect with a live agent in case it is unable to answer. You can even collect valuable customer information to better understand their needs and concerns. 

Read More: 15 Best AI Chatbot Software in 2022

3. Omnichannel Approach

Omnichannel is another customer communication management trend that you need to incorporate for customer success. But what exactly does it mean? 

Well, omnichannel means streamlining all your communication channels in such a way that customers can easily begin a conversation on one channel and end it on another. 

With omnichannel help desk software, you can hold meaningful conversations with customers on their favorite channels. For example, a customer can share an email about any ongoing sales offers. Once the offers are shared, the customer can go to your website, receive product recommendations from a live chat agent, and have a delightful shopping experience. 

Read More: What is an Omnichannel Customer Experience? Benefits + Examples

4. Self-Service Customer Portal 

A customer portal is an online interface that allows customers to find relevant information and track the progress of their communications in one place. It can be used to encourage self-service so that customers can access self-help data at their own convenience without bothering your team. 

According to Harvard Business Review, around  81% of customers attempt to take matters into their own hands before reaching out to a human representative.

Customers can easily log in to the portal and perform a range of actions. For example, they can:

  • Track the progress of their help desk tickets
  • Revisit past interactions with your business
  • Submit a request or share a complaint
  • Change or upgrade their plans
  • View bills, statements, or product usage stats
  • Upload relevant documents

When customers can enjoy convenient access to essential information and submit requests in a timely and transparent manner, they are far less likely to switch to a competitor. 

Read More: What Is Customer Portal Software and Why Is It Important?

What is Automated Customer Communication? 

Automated customer communication is the process through which you automatically interact with customers, keep them informed, and educate them to better use your products or services. 

The best part of automation is that it removes human errors and inconsistencies that can appear while communicating with customers. For example, imagine the grammatical mistakes your team members can make if they have to write every order confirmation email manually. 

Another remarkable benefit of automation is that it helps your business save time and money. When a majority of communications are automated, your team can focus on other important tasks. 

Here are some examples of automated customer communications: 

  • Automated emails for order confirmation, signup, and payment success
  • Automated text messages for shipping details and delays
  • Knowledge base FAQ pages on returns and exchanges
  • Proactive website popups about ongoing sales and offers
  • In-app messages for sharing product tips and features 
  • IVR for appointment bookings and confirmations 
Read More: 10 Service Desk Automation Ideas that Boost Performance and Quality

Top 5 Customer Communication Management Software

Now let us look at some of the best customer communication management tools that can help you achieve your CCM goals quickly. 

1. ProProfs Help Desk

ProProfs Help Desk is the Customer Communication Management Platform With AI

ProProfs Help Desk allows you to track all your inbound and outbound customer communications in one place. You can communicate with customers via most-used channels such as email, live chat, web forms, help center, and more. In addition to this, ProProfs Help Desk allows you to encourage self-service via a knowledge base. Your team members can collaborate to create, edit, and publish self-help content. 

Top Features of ProProfs Help Desk: 

  • Allow team members to see who is replying to which message
  • Share proactive chat invitations with visitors based on the time spent on a webpage
  • Develop powerful chatbots to automate your customer communications process
  • Share surveys with customers to improve the customer experience
  • Monitor first response time, resolution time, open conversations, and other metrics

Pricing: Starts at $10/agent/month

2. Zendesk 

Zendesk is the best customer experiences

Zendesk is a popular CCM solution that allows you to have seamless conversations across channels so that customers don’t have to repeat themselves. With relevant customer data at hand, your team can deliver personalized conversations at scale. Moreover, with the help of intelligent answer bots, you can offer 24×7 assistance to customers even when your team is not available to take chats. 

Top Features of Zendesk:

  • Monitor interactions on social media channels such as Facebook and WhatsApp
  • Create a vast community forum and allow customers to communicate with each other
  • Share proactive notifications to drive engagement and prevent escalations
  • Integrate with multiple third-party business tools 
  • Build a help center and allow customers to find answers at their own pace

Pricing: Starts at $49/agent/month

3. LiveAgent 

LiveAgent is a communication management software that comes with a simple and intuitive interface.

LiveAgent is another leading communication management software that comes with a simple and intuitive interface. The tool offers powerful content authoring tools as well customer engagement analytics to manage key elements of your content strategy. 

Top Features of LiveAgent: 

  • Monitor your most responsive channels and their respective ticket volume
  • Track and respond to all conversations through the universal inbox
  • Automatically assign incoming conversations to team members
  • Prevent multiple team members from sharing duplicate replies
  • Automatically filter spam emails and keep your inbox tidy

Pricing: Starts at $15/agent/month

Read More: Top 10 LiveAgent Alternatives for 2022

4. Zoho Desk 

Zoho Desk is Omnichannel customer service software to delight and retain customers

Zoho Desk offers an omnichannel customer communication management software to transform how your business interacts with customers. For example, your team can manage customer conversations across a variety of channels such as live chat, phone, email, social media, and website. Even if you do not have a global team, you can offer 24×7 assistance by creating a dedicated self-service portal. 

Top Features of Zoho Desk:

  • Interact with customers in real-time via live chat
  • Foster an online community of visitors, prospects, and customers
  • Leverage the mobile app to stay connected with customers 
  • Escalate conversations that demand urgent attention
  • Connect with Zoho CRM and get all the context you need to delight customers

Pricing: Starts at $12/agent/month

5. Bitrix24

Bitrix24 is Build long-lasting connection in a matter of seconds

Bitrix24 is a customer communication software that comes with a built-in CRM. This makes it possible for your team to view all interactions between customers and team members as they are stored in a centralized location. In addition to this, the tool helps you monitor every communication channel by allowing you to manage queuing as well as routing. 

Top Features of Bitrix24: 

  • Create reports by date, customer satisfaction, and communication channels
  • Bring your brand’s social media conversations to one place
  • Choose between cloud, mobile, and on-premise versions
  • Manage customer emails using a shared inbox
  • Integrate with Jira, MailChimp, RingCentral, and other popular business tools

Pricing: Starts at $39/month

Ready to Improve Your Customer Communications?

Sophisticated communication is a power that we all humans have been blessed with. However, many businesses struggle to hold meaningful conversations with customers and end up losing them forever. 

So what’s the way out? Well, the right customer communication management strategy can help you improve the customer experience, keep them informed with proactive notifications, and gain a competitive advantage in the market. 

When you bring CCM best practices into your business culture, it is important to remember that it will take time. Watch out for trends such as hyper-personalization, increased use of AI-powered chatbots, omnichannel communication, and more. Moreover, an easy-to-use customer communication management system such as ProProfs Help Desk can help you stay on top of every customer conversation. 

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About the author

Jared is a customer support expert. He has been published in CrazyEgg, CoSchedule, and CXL. As a customer support executive at ProProfs, he has been instrumental in developing a complete customer support system that more than doubled customer satisfaction. You can connect and engage with Jared on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn