What is CCM, and
How Can it Benefit Your Business?

Ira Brooker    Written: November 4th, 2019       Last Updated: April 1st, 2024  

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If you have ever hung up on a customer service call out of frustration or angst or stopped using a company because of bad customer experience, then you know the commercial benefits of offering good customer support and service. You’ve also already answered the question of “what is CCM software”.

CCM is the abbreviation for customer communications management. A CCM platform is designed to maintain superior communications between a business and its clients. Today it is used in almost every industry but has a large focus in banking, property and casualty, and manufacturing, because it works.

It is estimated that as many as 65% of customers will hang up on an automated system if they can’t reach good customer service. At the same time, if you have one negative customer experience, you’re going to need to provide 12 positive ones in order to compensate for that one unresolved problem.

That is where customer communication management comes in. Read on to learn more about what CCM solutions mean and how they can benefit your team and business.

What is CCM?

CCM is an abbreviation for customer communications management. An end-to-end CCM platform gives your company the ability to create, generate, and deliver many different types of personalized documents — millions of copies per day in dozens of different formats — via all possible electronic and traditional mediums using just one single platform.

A single digital platform can not only compile all of your customers’ data and create personalized communications for each one, it also allows you to manage the entire communication process. A CCM platform empowers employees and aids them in problem-solving for your brand.

We’ve all had the experience of poor customer service and hang-ups when customer service or support problems aren’t managed well.A solid CCM solution takes the angst out of customer support. You can use it for subscription renewals, customer correspondence, bill payments and invoices, and a wide variety of documentation needs.

CCM also puts power at your customers’ fingertips. If you are able to use a CCM platform to contact a brand and avoid a lengthy hold process on the phone, you are instantly connecting closer to that brand and more likely to come back to use their products and services.

Imagine if you are about to board a flight on vacation and wanted to check about getting a credit card increase, or add on a travel insurance rider to your health plan. You could do that in a few minutes with a strong CCM platform and avoid a phone call that could cost you 15 to 30 minutes.This helps the business make money and provides a product or service to you as well.

What is CCM in Business?

Employing CCM effectively in a business environment requires establishing a consistent, reliable customer experience. That goes beyond choosing software and technology and extends into creating an overall communication strategy. By establishing plans and rules for how, when, and under what circumstances your business makes contact with your customers creates a more welcoming and responsive environment for both your customers and your internal teams.

A CCM plan should encompass all channels by which your organization communicates with customers — emails, business documents, invoices, contracts, blog posts, and more — as well as means for customers to choose the methods of contact that work best for them.

What Is CCM Software?

To state it simply, CCM software is a tool that helps businesses create, manage, and deliver communications to their customers. An ideal CCM software solution should not only make it easy to provide personalized, consistently branded communications to individual customers, but also to scale along with needs of the business.

CCM software also boosts data analytics efforts that allow a business to determine which communications are most and least effective for its customer base, and make plans for more effective customer communications in the future.

Why Is CCM Software Important?

For businesses in many industries, investing in CCM software is not just important, but necessary. The fact is that if your organization is not making the move to automated customer communications software, you are putting yourself at risk of issues ranging from compliance violations to strained customer relationships to employee burnout. Those are the kinds of challenges that can allow your more tech-focused competitors to pull ahead of you by personalizing messaging, using omnichannel communications, and providing a better overall customer experience.

The Pillars of CCM

While every business has its own unique customer communication needs and preferences, most CCM systems can be broken down into four key pillars. A software solution that can effectively address each of these areas is a must-have for any organization looking to upgrade its CCM operations.

Advanced Data Integration

Your CCM runs on data, which makes it essential to have a system that can extract and process data quickly and accurately. An automated CCM solution can integrate seamlessly with your existing CRM software to extract data from a wide range of sources. Data capture tools using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) can use APIs to capture information from emails, online forms, and even scans of paper documents. That eliminates error-prone manual data entry while making it easy to integrate data from any source into your system.

Document Template Management

Being able to automatically control the creation and distribution of documents greatly improves the accuracy, speed, and relevance of customer communications. A strong document management system including a built-in content repository, template library, and workflows for reviewing and approving documents allows business users to build communications documents without involving your IT team.

Automated Document Assembly

Document assembly software makes it easy to aggregate multiple documents of various kinds into a single package. Ideally, this includes a simple-to-use interface that lets even less tech-savvy business users assemble complex documents that are compliant with all industry, regulatory and client-specific requirements. That speeds up the process and frees up your IT team to focus on more pressing issues.

Personalized Communications

Your customers deserve a consistent communication experience, but that doesn’t mean all of your communications should be the same. In fact, being able to personalize communications is one of the most important elements of building a strong relationship with customers. Your CCM system should allow your team to collect customer data and use your templates to craft that information into personalized correspondence that makes your customers feel seen and valued.

Workflow Management

A CCM software solution makes it simple to automate many processes that would be too complex and time-consuming to manage by hand, allowing you to guide communications from initial design all the way to final delivery. CCM automation also makes it easier for internal and external stakeholders to collaborate on documents, and for your team to define participants and workflows. By automating functions such as data collection, document assembly, and the review and approval process, your team can save significant time and costs.

Customer Journey Mapping

Using software to map your customers’ journey saves considerable time while also revealing deeper insights, from their first interaction with your business to their post-purchase experience. That includes consolidating data from a variety of channels, tracking behavior for multiple customer personas, analyzing the reasons customers end their journey, and other valuable insights into how your organization communicates most effectively with customers.

Omnichannel Communications

Omnichannel CCM solutions allow your organization to offer more flexibility in your customer communications. When customers have the chance to choose their preferred channels, they are encouraged to communicate more and build more loyalty to your business. Whether they prefer email, SMS messaging, social media channels, traditional print media, or a combination of methods, omnichannel solutions allow them to converse seamlessly across channels as they need.

How Important Is CCM for Your Business?

If you want an illustration of just how important an effective customer communications system can be to a business, consider just how many things can go wrong for a business that doesn’t have one. This short video follows the journey of a customer named Manny, who’s in for nothing but headaches once his bank switches to an impersonal and unresponsive communications system. Take a look for a strong reminder of what not to do.
Let’s look at some of the specific issues Manny encounters in this video:

Problem: Manny receives too many unwanted paper documents.
Solution: A CCM solution with multichannel capability makes it simple for customers to choose the channels that work best for them. Manny should be able to change to electronic communications with just a few clicks.

Problem: Manny receives communications in Spanish rather than English.
Solution: A CCM software solution with a self-service option should allow Manny to access his profile directly. That way he should be able to choose his own preferences without any external assistance.

Problem: Manny can’t connect with anyone at his bank who can directly fix the problem.
Solution: A CCM system allows even business users who are not tech experts to make real-time changes without going through the IT team. With a solid CCM system, Manny’s banker could have made a quick fix to his profile.

How CCM Benefits Organizations in
Highly Regulated Industries

Investing in automated CCM software solutions is a good idea no matter your industry, but it’s especially beneficial for organizations operating in highly regulated industries such as insurance, financial services, and healthcare. In the healthcare industry alone, more than half of patients use some form of digital communication with their providers, and finance and insurance communications are likewise moving increasingly online. Considering that only 6% of financial firms are confident that their communications are fully compliant with regulations, it is clear that any measure that can help with compliance should be welcome.

A strong CCM strategy removes many of the most common causes of compliance violations by eliminating human touch points, and with them, the risk of human error. Even complex workflows can be easily automated to ensure that all communications pass through the correct channels and receive necessary approvals quickly and efficiently. That not only boosts overall compliance with governmental regulations, industry standards, and internal policies, but also speeds up processing considerably.

The Benefits of CCM Software

Customer communications management is too important a consideration to be entrusted to inefficient and outdated manual processes. Investing in a reliable, automated CCM software solution is the surest way to provide your customers and employees with consistent and effective communications that keep your messaging on-brand. Some of the benefits of automating CCM include:

  1. More Effective Template Management – For an organization with a large number of customers and/or a high volume of documents, automating template management is a virtual necessity. In a manual system, trying to personalize communications for each recipient across multiple channels and time schedules quickly becomes unmanageable. Rather than wading through hundreds or thousands of templates, a CCM software solution allows your team to cut down on template overpopulation with agile, flexible tools that ensure that your customer communications are both on-brand and personalized. A library of reusable components such as fonts, logos, and content make it simple for business users to craft branded documents without relying on your IT team.
  2. Omnichannel Distribution and Data Integration – Consolidating customer communication data using older CCM systems can be a complicated task that often requires bringing in a third-party contractor or having your IT team write custom code. An automated CCM system with an open API framework and capability for built-in data integration makes it a simple task to pull and process a variety of data from cloud servers, websites, xml, and various databases. That information can then be incorporated into communications that are automatically dispatched across every channel used by your customers.
  3. Easier Review and Approval of Workflows – Using manual processes to review and approve outgoing communications can be a long and error-prone process that takes up a lot of valuable time and resources. Automating those workflows not only sharply reduces the time it takes to process communications, it also eliminates much of the risk of human error while also making it easier to follow audit trails, detect possible problems, and identify patterns and inefficiencies that can impact future decisions.
  4. Connecting Teams with Integrated Workflows – Maintaining consistent messaging can be difficult when your communications are being handled by multiple teams with different approaches and objectives. Automating CCM with integrated workflows allows your organization to keep your communications on-brand and on-message across your entire platform. That also has the added bonus of eliminating repetitive manual tasks and cutting down on bottlenecks and unexpected changes.
  5. Scalable CCM Solutions – Your CCM system needs to be able to grow and adapt along with your overall operations. An automated software solution provides flexible scalability without requiring changes from your IT team or third-party providers. A full-stack CCM solution can scale as your business and your customers evolve, making sure that your technology is up to date and ready to meet whatever business challenges come your way.
  6. Efficient Document Assembly – An effective CCM solution gives you the flexibility to quickly scale to meet varying customer demands. Whether your customers need large volumes of documents delivered in batch or smaller runs on demand, automated document assembly makes it easy to scale quickly and correctly, while still maintaining consistent branding and compliance.
  7. Supercharged Customer Experience – You can put your CCM software to work building an unparalleled experience for customers of all kinds. That includes creating personalized communications that speak to each audience’s specific needs; providing omnichannel options that allow customers to choose their preferred channels; and smart documents complete with hyperlinks, clickable content, and embedded video and audio.
  8. Enhanced Security – Concerns about online security are at an all-time high in an era of rising cybercrime and data theft. Investing in an automated CCM software solution boosts security by consolidating sensitive data into a single, secure, cloud-based location. The enhanced visibility of an automated system also makes it much easier to identify security gaps and potential issues early.
  9. Paperless Document Storage – Communicating via outdated paper documents creates a number of problems for your business. The expense and environmental impact of not just paper, but also maintaining printers and other electronics adds up quickly. A digital CCM solution eliminates that waste and frees up physical storage space, creating a future-proof solution for document management.

Who Should Care About CCM?

The impacts of investing in a quality CCM solution will be felt across your entire enterprise. Streamlining customer communications has benefits not only for the teams working directly with those communications, but also for teams at every stage of your operations. Just a few of those areas include:

Information Technology (IT)

By centralizing data and implementing tools that make it easier for non-tech employees to make real-time changes and adjustments as needed, without the assistance of your IT team. That removes time-consuming and tedious tasks from IT’s plate, freeing them up to focus on more pressing tasks while also speeding up your communications process.

Operations

Your operations team benefits from the use of CCM software via an overall boost in efficiency and accuracy. Streamlining workflows, eliminating time-consuming human errors, and deeper visibility into processes and potential issues all add up to a smoother, more consistent operations experience.

Procurement

CCM solutions boost accuracy and turnaround times for your procurement team by opening up multiple channels of communication for suppliers. That allows vendors to communicate with your team via the channels that work best for them. Self-service options empower vendors to submit information without having to go through a human touch point, while deeper visibility makes it easy for them to track orders from beginning to end.

Accounts Payable

CCM software can have a huge impact on accounts payable (AP) processing by reducing or eliminating reliance on manual tasks. Automating such steps as data entry, routing for approvals, obtaining sign-offs, and matching invoices to purchase orders drastically cuts down the time spent communicating with vendors and suppliers, making the process easier and more efficient for everyone involved.

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The Benefits of Moving to Cloud CCM Software

There are several key options for customer communications software, including solutions offering on-premise storage, cloud storage, and hybrids of the two. While every business will have different needs for their communications management, cloud-based solutions will be the best option for most modern organizations. A cloud CCM solution can easily scale and evolve to match your customers’ changing needs. Outdated legacy systems simply can’t keep up with the pace of modern communications. Let’s compare some key differences between the two.

Legacy CCM Systems

  • Offer limited functionality
  • Provide limited communication channels
  • Involve multiple human touch points
  • Lack visibility into customer journeys
  • Often handle only simple workflows
  • Don’t scale to changing needs
  • Don’t integrate easily with other solutions
  • Provide limited security

Cloud-based CCM Solutions:

  • Offer enhanced functionality, including personalization
  • Allow easy omnichannel communications
  • Streamline repetitive tasks without human touch points
  • Integrate easily with existing systems
  • Provide at-a-glance visibility into all processes
  • Easily accommodate complex workflows
  • Scale easily to meet changing demands
  • Boost data security with centralized control

A CCM Platform for the People

CCM boosts efficiency across all channels in business, to the advantage of both the business and the consumer. Let’s take a closer look at what CCM can do for your organization.

1. Streamline Customer Support

You can optimize the customer support process while also driving efficiency within every department of your brand. You are empowering your employees, and your customers as well. Not only that, but you will also gain more visibility with your brand, and could even attract new customers. When one of your customers receives successful support via the CCM platform, they are more likely to recommend your brand or business to their friends and family.

How many times have you gotten a bonus or refund or a little surprise from a company that went out of their way to improve a negative experience you had? What was the first thing you did? You told everybody you knew about it. You can improve all of your customer support needs through one platform when you use CCM. You can eliminate labor resources that may be sucking you dry or systems that might be as well. At the same time, you can create omnichannel communications in a way that streamlines all processes in your business.

2. The Numbers Don’t Lie

If you’re still wondering what CCM is and how much it can do for your company, then let’s take a look at the numbers for confirmation. Around 33% of businesses say that email and phone are still the most popular channels for customer communication, but digital channels are making rapid inroads. Studies show that 93% of customer journeys begin online, making a digital CCM strategy essential for most organizations.

Not only can you use CCM to streamline your business and improve productivity, but you will also notice an immediate boost in your bottom line when you do. The numbers don’t lie. CCM can help you improve your business, improve your sales, and even help you get more customers. When you establish a solid CCM platform for your brand and business, your customers notice.

3. Make Every Customer Count

It is a no-brainer that good customer service drives sales, and bad customer service makes a business lose money. Research shows that social media and other digital tools help, with 66% of customers saying that a fast reply is at least as important as pricing to their buying decision. A strong CCM platform is the twenty-first-century answer to good customer service because it puts the power in the hands of the consumer. It is a tool that helps you to retain customers but also get new ones. At the same time, it makes your customers and clients feel empowered to problem solve, while maximizing efficiency for your team and brand, across the board.

Less is More with CCM Platforms

Your company generates a lot of documents. A LOT of documents. Quite possibly millions of documents. The more customers you have, the more documents you will produce. The amount of time and money your company pours into dealing with these different types of documents can be quite a drain.

Fortunately, implementing a CCM platform will help your business succeed. In the past, your company might have thought it needed a lot of different pieces in order to have any semblance of decent customer communications. It’s time to shed that mentality and go with a “less is more” approach.

Less time and money, more efficiency

Without a solid CCM platform, businesses have two paths for customer communications: generic or painstaking.

Going down the generic path, companies use one or two templates to create documents for all customers. No customer is unique, except maybe for different customer ID numbers. Customers receive plain, bland communications that might or might not have anything to do with their interests. They receive it because all of the company’s customers receive it. Most times, communications like these end up in the trash can, so by “saving money” going the generic route, these companies actually end up wasting money by not using targeted communications.

Then, there’s the painstaking path, or the one companies use when they have six, seven, eight or more different programs pulling customer information from just as many different locations. The painstaking approach also typically involves several people in the IT department working with several people in the marketing department, who in turn are working with several people in the sales department, to come up with what is actually going to be sent out to their customers, but since there’s no true approval process, there’s really no telling if the right information goes out to the right customer.

By implementing a CCM platform, your company will be able to improve its outbound communications workflow while saving time and reducing costs. Reducing production times and cost, avoiding errors, minimizing compliance issues, streamlining the process, and optimizing the customer communications workflow are just a few of the benefits of CCM.

Joining all of the aspects involved in the design, production, and delivery of professional documents into one single, easy to use platform lets your company worry less about the technical aspects involved in the process, and focus more on delivering great customer experience.

Less bland correspondence, more interactive communications

By implementing a CCM platform, your company can create one intelligent document that engages your audience via an omnichannel experience. The right CCM platform not only solves the technical aspects related to document production and management but also makes it possible for each customer to get the right information — tailored to their preferences — at the right time.

Creating highly customizable, interactive, smart documents that incorporate and centralize information retrieved from several sources, into one intelligent document, based on each customer’s specific needs, is an integral part of today’s customer experience. Programmed to offer a different individual experience to each receiver, these living documents allow customers to choose the information they want to see, the way they want to see it, in real-time, across different devices and communication channels.

That includes smart documents you can interact with, which function similarly to a web page. One attractive sheet in which you can incorporate, or link to, all sorts of text/audio/video content that your customers get to interact with the way they want.

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So, what is CCM? Your business can answer the question by implementing MHC Engage CX, the CCM platform that makes every customer count. Discover the benefits of MHC today for all of your customer communication and engagement needs. Contact us for a free demonstration and see it in action today! 

Customer Communications Management FAQs

A customer communications management strategy is a way for enterprise businesses to control and manage high volumes of personalized customer communications while making sure that their messaging remains consistent and on-brand.

A customer communications management (CCM) company is a business that offers strategies, solutions, and software designed to make it easier for other organizations to manage their outgoing customer communications documents across multiple channels.

Customer communications management is an important element of customer experience. It is a coordinated strategy for managing multiple channels of customer communications in a way that addresses the individual needs of each customer while also providing consistent and on-brand messaging.

“CCM” stands for “customer communications management.” This is a coordinated strategy for providing consistent, accurate communications to all of an organization’s customers across multiple channels and platforms.

“CCM” stands for “customer communications management.” “CRM” stands for “customer relations management.” The two concepts are closely related, but distinct in several key ways. CCM is focused specifically on the channels and messaging an organization uses to communicate with its customers. CRM takes a broader view of customer data, including demographics, behavior, and purchasing history.

There are as many distinct customer communications management strategies as there are businesses. Finding the strategy that works best for your organization involves understanding both the needs of your individual customers and your overall business.

Customer communications management (CCM) is used in every industry that involves communicating with customers. A coordinated CCM strategy is especially important in industries that involve high volumes of documents and messaging across multiple channels of communication, such as banking, manufacturing, and property and casualty.

“ECM” stands for “enterprise content management.” “CCM” stands for “customer communications management.” The key difference between the two is that CCM focuses primarily on outgoing communications from an organization to its customers, while ECM focuses more on the ways an enterprise organization processes incoming communications, documents, and workflows.

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Ira Brooker

Ira Brooker is a freelance writer and editor based in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He has been writing blogs and copy about software-as-a-service solutions for most of the past decade. Before exploring accounts payable and workflow solutions with MHC, he wrote about fields including cybersecurity, workforce management, online accessibility, audiology, retail sales, and much more. When he’s not doing business writing, he also indulges in writing fiction, journalism, arts criticism, and bar trivia.

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