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Understanding the needs of your customers is at the heart of any successful business, but how do you achieve that when you have millions of customers? One way is through effective communications. If you target messages and communications based on customer information that resides in your current systems, you’ll discover great opportunities for increasing customer satisfaction and generating value.

Most organizations realize that they need high-quality data to run their business applications, but few appreciate the importance of the unstructured content flooding their systems. In fact, the applications employed by most organizations for customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning, and supply chain management handle  structured, transactional information, such as addresses, customer numbers, and order numbers very well.

As companies standardize and streamline processes for customer service, contract, maintenance, project, and quality management, the need to connect this flood of unstructured content to their business processes and manage it more effectively becomes even more critical. Integrating unstructured content like customer emails, invoices, bills, , and so on into core business processes provides the essential mechanism to support document and records management, collaboration, and information retrieval. It also ensures efficient and high-quality process execution by not isolating unstructured and structured content in silos.

The next step after integrating your data is personalization. Personalizing each document based on a customer’s profile and billing information, even when you serve millions of customers, can transform regular bill presentations into one-to-one marketing communications. But for it to be effective, the personalization process has to be something that nontechnical business people can rapidly create and directly embed in documents when developing cross and up selling offers targeted to particular customers.

A great example of how an integrated document process can help expand the value of existing IT investments, significantly reduce operational costs, and better serve customers is the utility industry. Many already integrate and automate their internal business processes. Adding an integrated document process into the mix would allow them to:

  • Optimize high-volume production printing and distribution, which lowers expenses while providing greater value through flexible bill format and delivery
  • Reduce service costs,  the sales cycle, and customer calls
  • Quickly implement targeted customer programs with personalized, integrated messaging and make changest on the fly
  • Leverage the information already stored in existing systems and profit from what they already know

Do you think that there’s a solution like that out there? Have you used one? What was your experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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