The New Omnichannel Communications Ecosphere

6 min read
Jan 11, 2023 10:43:00 PM

The Next Generation of Customer Communications

Omnichannel Delivery

Your next generation of customers read fewer magazines, watch less network television, and have abandoned the radio in favor of music streaming services. Their day-to-day interactions are mediated by fast paced and curated experiences with technology. Smartphone screens are quickly becoming the largest point-of-sale for the under-40 demographic. This is the new customer communications ecosphere. Staying competitive in a market dominated by online marketing and communications means you need to meet consumers where they are: online, on their phones. But the competitive edge in the battle for the online market is about more than how well you can advertise on social media. The edge comes through generating meaningful engagement. You need to provide personalized quotes, account information, claims requests, and sales agreements through social media and mobile apps. This is called an omnichannel strategy. This approach to customer communication targets every channel, including social, mobile, email, SMS, and print. Platforms like Elixir unify your communications strategy for omnichannel delivery.

What is an Omnichannel Strategy:

The term omnichannel refers to the many ways, or channels, that you can communicate with your customers. An omnichannel strategy is one that capitalizes on the advantages of each channel. And it’s about more than delivery. It’s about Customer Experience. A strong omnichannel strategy uses customer profile data and metrics to ensure that each customer is being engaged on the optimal platform. The technologies offered by many digital channels enable you to monitor your customer’s engagement and ensure that your communications are being received, read, and responded to. A strong strategy is one that can move between channels, offering the customer a seamless experience however they choose to engage. The monitoring and data analysis that go into generating a better omnichannel customer experience will also save resources for your enterprise. A strong omnichannel strategy cuts reduces uneeded communications that your customer is not engaging with. It Doesn’t send them messages over channels they won’t use. Their best experience becomes your most efficient strategy. This can result in huge benefits for large organizations. For example, imagine an insurer with a million members had been sending physical statements to all its members, then implemented a way to send them digitally. If only 10% of the members adopt digital delivery, that is a savings of about $50,000 each month, or $600,000 annually, just on postage!

The most important channels for your omnichannel strategy are:
  • Social: This includes messaging apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. On platforms like Instagram or Facebook, you can generate engagement through Ads.

  • Beyond the ads, these platforms are direct communication and messaging channels to your customers. They provide one-to-one, secure, real-time communication capabilities. Documents that in the past had to be delivered physically can now be delivered directly through common social apps. The customer journey from ad view -> click -> form fill -> policy creation -> secure signup and payment can be completed in minutes without leaving the platform.

  • Being able to deliver communications through the same app that attracted your customer is a guaranteed way to boost retention and see your ads turn into rapid sales.

  • Mobile (company app): Your company’s app is only as good as its deliverables. Customers expect at least the same responsiveness on a native app as they would interacting with your brand on a social platform.

  • Apps also offer space for customers to digitally archive their paperwork like policy cards and Id’s. This is an opportunity for you to keep your customer’s portfolio fully up to date without effort on their end, and without printing and sending new policy cards every new billing cycle.

  • Seamlessly integrated app communications are a strong element of customer retention. If a customer cannot get the documents and communications they need on your app, they won’t use it. At best, you will lose a channel to reach them and they may find a competitor with better user experience. 

  • SMS (text messaging): Letting customers opt into direct text messaging keeps them completely connected. Reminders, alerts, and offers can be delivered instantly without them needing to log into any of their other applications. 

  • Email: At this point, email is tried and true. Since 2021 digital has replaced print as the most used channel of correspondence in customer communications across the United States (according to Gartner). 

  • Email will be the preferred method of contact for some demographics that are slower to adopt app-based communication. However, effective emails combined with a user-friendly app experience can open the door for a customer to become an app user. 

  • Print: While print is the slowest and most resource consuming channel, it is still important to have it in your wheelhouse. Some customers will prefer it. 

  • As print communications become a smaller share of a customer’s regular engagement, print starts to become an area for new opportunities. A personalized birthday card, or glossy promotional material stand out more when your customer is not expecting to see your company’s name in their mailbox.

A strong omnichannel strategy will effectively use each of these channels. The effectiveness that your strategy can achieve will depend on how well you can track and analyze your costs and benefits and how quickly you can react to your analysis across your channels. Running your entire multichannel strategy from one platform that provides digital and post/print production capabilities provides you with the agility to fine tune your strategy and stay competitive.

From Ads to Sales–Staying on Channel

Your company is already advertising across most new media platforms. You have metrics to show you’re generating clicks. But are you turning those clicks into sales? If your customer is being sent off their social media app to a company website, you might be losing them instantly. If you’re generating views and engagement on apps like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, then you should be generating sales their as well. Manulife, an insurance company in China, was able to sell over 18,000 new policies in under six months when they introduced an initiative that sold policies directly through a social media messaging app. Acording to a Gartner report, Manulife was able to make the policy shopping process a 90 second experience. Customers could generate quotes using personal information, make a payment, and receive their policy documents in under 2 minutes. Read more about the process this case study.

From Ads to Sales–Staying on Channel

Speed is everything:

Omnichannel delivery is not re-inventing the wheel, it’s more like upgrading to an engine from a mule. Insurance companies must still generate the same forms and documents as ever. See How an Elixir User cut their Application processing time from 1.5 Weeks to 30 Seconds In a market where consumers can order anything from groceries to airline tickets on their phones in moments, your company’s insurance products should be as easy to buy. If your customer can buy your policy from their phone screen, then they should be able to also file claims, view their documents, and renew their subscriptions with the same ease. A modern platform is the engine that drives these interactions. It enables you to produce meaningful personalized documents at speed and at scale. Producing at speed is more efficient with platforms that ensure print document creation happens concurrently with creation of communications for other channels. On Elixir for example, your team creates a communication document one time, and the platform adjusts it for each channel (including your high speed printers.)

Automation on the Back End, Personalization on the Front

At the heart of an omnichannel communications strategy is smart technology. Your company needs to be able to mass produce individualized and error-free documents the moment a consumer asks you to. The Elixir platform enables smart templates and smart content libraries. These tools generate personalized documents that are auto-populated when a customer makes a request. The production process is interactive, so a customer can generate documents based on their personal information. This makes documents like policy quotes, responses to claims, and policy information documents instantly available and deliverable on any channel. You can also generate scheduled communications at scale. Collateral like monthly statements or policy ID cards can be produced in mass using customer data and smart templates. And these can all be delivered via social, email, mobile, SMS, or print. Integrating your customer data and smart document production will also give you the opportunity to make every communication more meaningful.

Integrate Everything on the Cloud

Navigating the new Communications ecosphere will look like a seamless user experience to your customers. They will buy their policy from their social media account, get alerts via text message, and file claims or renewals on their mobile app. But for you, the company, this could mean a lot of moving pieces to keep up in the air. So, keep everything connected on one platform, in the cloud. Using a cloud based platform means that all your customer communications materials and data are organized, accessible, and agile. By integrating a platform like Elixir with your customer data, you can auto-generate deliverables and track their progress through their selected channels. The cloud provides a secure and dependable work environment that has the agility and modularity to fit with your company’s existing technologies. It makes your work environment as seamless as the customer experience. This boosts productivity; this generates faster document production; this leads to better customer experiences.