Guest blog: Maintaining speedy communication to mitigate reputational damage

Guest blog by David Taylor, Executive Director, Paragon Customer Communications

Guest blog by David Taylor, Executive Director, Paragon Customer Communications

The basic principles of great customer communications are now understood by all organisations: consistency, speed and accuracy. But delivering communication that is in line with those principles – every time – can prove to be a challenging task for any business.

There are several obstacles that can stand in the way, including siloed departments, legacy systems, a lack of system integration, or complex compliance and regulation considerations. These can all make for a slow, or potentially patchy response to the demands and needs of customers, regulators and other key stakeholders.

However, with a single negative experience shown to have four to five times greater relative impact than a positive one, as per McKinsey research, it’s not an option to just accept your current communication output for what it is. Customers are expecting more from businesses and having operational challenges that hinder that process is not something that should impact the customer.

By committing to improving customer communication, you can set your organisation on the path to an enhanced customer experience, a minimised compliance risk and greater operational resilience.

So, what can you do to drive positive change in your customer communications?

Work with silos, not against them

In the past, the advice for driving positive organisational change would have started with: destroy the silos! However, the bigger the business, the harder it is to break these silos down, and, in many cases, silos may not actually be a bad thing.

However, where they do exist, improving the speed of information exchange across and between siloed areas of the business is essential to delivering communication consistency and speed of change.

In a large business with multiple departments responsible for producing and signing off a piece of customer communication, each will have their own priorities. However, the more people that are involved, the tougher it can be to ensure that content is effective, can be signed off quickly, and maintains appropriate tone, brand and narrative.

For example, a letter being sent to customers may require involvement from marketing, operations, and risk and compliance, each of which will have their own business needs, responsibilities, and approval processes.

The key to ensuring consistency and speed of change in this scenario is maintaining a single point of truth. In other words, a single point of control to maintain standardised, unified content across all channel delivery.

Maintain a full audit trail

With separate departments taking ownership of different types of customer communication, obtaining a full audit trail can be a laborious task. However, communication audits are required for both compliance and consistency’s sake.

A clear and precise audit trail will give you the evidence you need to show the regulator that you made a required change to customer communications on or before a particular date, for example. If a mistake is made, a complete audit trail can help show the regulator that action was taken promptly to rectify the situation.

Having the ability to go back through your communications history will also make it easier to identify areas where organisational structure and processes can be improved.

Get in a position to respond quickly

While maintaining a full audit trail is essential to staying on the right side of the regulators, speed of response is no less important.

Consider the case of bank rate change mailings, where the challenge is meeting the regulatory deadline to communicate the implications to each and every customer. This is a potentially mammoth task, requiring large volumes of content to be edited very quickly to reflect the change.

In many cases, legacy systems simply can’t keep up.

 A single point of truth will help to maintain consistency of communications, while allowing for the creation of bespoke approval processes. Providing a complete audit trail, with insight into who made a change to a piece of content, where they were logged in, and the date and time stamp of all the approvals and changes.

For more information visit: www.paragon-cc.com/en-gb

The views, opinions and positions expressed within guest blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the BSA.