U.S. Customer Communication Management

U.S. Customer Communication Management: The Changing Landscape


The way companies communicate with their customers is undergoing rapid changes in recent years. With digital technologies becoming ubiquitous, customers now expect interactions with businesses to be personalized, convenient and seamless across channels. Meeting these rising expectations has made customer communication management a priority for organizations looking to enhance customer experience and boost loyalty.

The Digital Shift in Communication Preferences

A decisive shift towards digital channels is reshaping customer communication preferences. According to surveys, customers now prefer to receive communications such as offers, bills, statements and updates via email and text messaging rather than postal mail. This shift has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic as more people stay indoors and rely on digital connectivity.

A study by Comcast found that nearly 60% of U.S. customers now opt for paperless billing over print mail. Similarly, research by West Monroe shows that over half of customers prefer to receive marketing communications via email. This digital uptake is seen across generational groups with even older customers becoming more comfortable with online interactions.

To stay relevant, companies need to migrate majority of their transactional and marketing communications to digital while retaining some print capabilities for customers who still prefer it. This requires rethinking legacy processes, redesigning workflows and gaining insights from customer data.

Personalization is Key

Another significant trend gaining ground is personalization of communication. Customers want interactions to be tailored to their individual needs, interests and purchase history rather than receiving generic mass messages. Data science and AI tools are helping companies deliver more personalized touches across channels.

For instance, banking major Chase started analyzing transaction details to send individualized offers to customers on products they may find relevant. Verizon customized its loyalty program communications using data on customers’ device ownership and plan usage. Under Armour leveraged purchase history to personalize discount codes and recommendations in emails.

As consumers share more data online, the potential for building richer customer profiles will only grow. Brands able to harness insights from diverse data sources will be best positioned to deliver hyper-personalized experiences in communications. However, maintaining relevance while respecting privacy will remain an ongoing balancing act.

Omnichannel Strategy is Critical

With U.S. Customer Communication Management traversing multiple touchpoints, maintaining consistency across channels has become critical for effective communication management. Silos between digital and in-store staff often result in disjointed experiences frustrating customers. An integrated omnichannel strategy is now imperative.

Large companies like Amazon and Walmart have seamlessly integrated their physical and digital operations to offer consistent experiences. For instance, customers can check order status or return items at both online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Smaller retailers are also learning to replicate this omnichannel model. A study by Accenture revealed that around 65-70% of shoppers research online and complete purchases in-store demonstrating the need for harmony. Coordinating messaging, content, offers and customer identity management across platforms allows addressing customers holistically.

Embracing New Communication Channels

While traditional channels still hold value, emerging platforms are also gaining traction requiring ongoing experimentation. For instance, messaging apps have evolved into sophisticated business tools; brands are leveraging WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat to extend support and sales.

Live video is another rising trend where companies engage customers through features on social networks and dedicated apps such as Facebook Live. Home improvement brand Lowe’s leveraged the platform to provide DIY tutorials and answer questions in real-time.

Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are slated to emerge as an important interface for consumer interactions in future with capabilities for advanced features like voice biometrics. Early adopters are exploring apps to access account details, pay bills and perform tasks using voice commands.

The evolution of technology will continue spawning new channels at a rapid pace. Developing adaptive strategies balancing experimentation with established approaches will help organizations prepare for coming changes in communication landscape.

Customer Service is Pivotal

At the core, good communication is predicated on delivering strong customer service across touchpoints. While new technologies offer many benefits, human interactions still hold tremendous value in resolving issues, addressing queries and providing reassurance particularly during complex transactions.

Providing highly skilled support staff equipped with contextual customer information is key. Several companies are innovating on this front – Bentley trained its representatives on product engineering to offer deeper solutions while Volvo focused on emotional intelligence to create an empathetic experience.

Outsourcing select queries to chatbots or virtual assistants can reduce routine load but will need to be judiciously implemented. Customers tend to prefer speaking with human agents especially for sensitive matters. A balanced hybrid model blending different modalities based on need remains the approach moving forward.

Data and Analytics for Actionable Insights

A critical enabler underpinning effective customer communication strategies is gleaning actionable insights from massive volumes of customer data. Tools for capturing structured and unstructured information from touchpoints are helping build centralized profiles including preferences, purchase patterns and service interactions.

Advanced techniques such as predictive modeling, sentiment analysis and targeting algorithms allow segmenting customers, anticipating their needs, addressing concerns proactively and optimizing messaging in real-time. For instance, analyzing emotions during chat conversations helps re-route unhappy customers to senior agents immediately.

Data governance, privacy and security practices must also be diligently implemented considering regulations. Finding balance with customer experience will be an ongoing challenge. Nonetheless, as customer communication becomes hyper-tailored and contextual, such analytics capabilities will remain a vital asset for companies.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it