In our previous blog, we examined how today’s customers expect fast, easy access to information and services via online experiences. We also revealed the unfortunate truth that many financial services organizations and insurers often fail to meet those expectations. Digital servicing communications in particular are typically relegated to hard-to-navigate PDFs, which lead to uninspiring and even off-putting experiences.
To satisfy millennials who represent greater than 50% of the workforce today who are comfortable and conversant with technology, organizations need to refactor the digital customer experience, by keeping these key principles at the forefront:
To address these principles, Messagepoint recommends five steps to help you transform your digital customer experience.
The systems most organizations currently have in place to manage regulated customer communications all share a common approach: they are document-centric.
It’s not surprising. As Forrester analyst, Cheryl Mackinnon wrote in December 2020, “we’re still trapped by the mental model of paper”. That model colors every aspect of content management, down to how we still measure content in pages and file it in folders. It’s a model that puts unnecessary restrictions on the management of our content, communications, and digital innovation. The allegiance to the document is one reason why PDFs dominate the digital experience.
Document-centricity is not the optimal approach for the digital-first era. A page-oriented view of a paper document does not translate well to digital channels, particularly mobile devices. This means your customers have a poor digital experience and can’t always receive the information they need. Documents also come with logistical drawbacks. With regulatory requirements that vary from state to state, slight product or service level variations can mean hundreds of almost identical document templates end up in a document library, each having to be created, updated, and maintained – the very essence of inefficiency. Any inconsistencies in updates to shared content across these templates lead to disjointed and inconsistent customer experiences, as well as exposure to regulatory risk.
Instead, financial organizations need to adopt a modularized approach to content management. Stop thinking of communications as whole documents and begin thinking of them as made up of content components. These components can be written content such as addresses, disclosures, offers, phone numbers, product descriptions, servicing notifications, terms, and conditions, or even URLs. Or they can be graphics, such as charts, illustrations, infographics, or logos. Content also includes variable data elements like an account balance, a credit limit, a date, an interest rate, or a payment amount due.
These content components are often repeated across multiple communications and channels, but when employing a document-centric approach, they are duplicated and maintained separately in individual document templates, requiring updates to be made to each file. The process is incredibly inefficient, and leads to the risk of human error, duplication, and missed updates. When it comes to legal compliance language, any such mistakes can have serious consequences.
In a modular approach, these content components are centrally managed and leveraged to compose communications that are automatically targeted to the recipient and their situation. This is the key to giving customers exactly the information they need when they need it at scale.
Documents lead to silos: individual templates in partitioned document libraries, with different teams, processes, and systems in place for managing each separate channel: web, mobile, print, etc. Those silos, whether managed internally or outsourced to third-party service providers like web development agencies or print service providers, are maintained independently. Content is naturally tied to a particular delivery channel or presentation layer.
Separate teams and processes for managing content lead to inefficiency and disjointed customer experiences. Since each system has its capabilities for personalization, organizations are typically unable to develop a consistent customer experience across channels. That matters. When things aren’t seamless, customers notice.
When you abstract content from the presentation layer and manage it in a centralized content hub – a single unified engine that allows content to be provisioned wherever needed — you drive both efficiency and consistent personalization. Relevant content is dynamically assembled and displayed in composed form (like a printed letter or email notification about a cost of borrowing change ), or in component form (such as that same cost of borrowing content delivered to the appropriate pages of a mobile app).
Your content hub should connect to your production and presentation systems via APIs to automate the process of communication and content distribution. When it comes to delivering content components, it’s particularly important to be able to do it in a “headless” way – delivering content in response to calls coming over an API. The appropriate personalized content is then delivered via APIs to digital endpoints that determine the format and presentation of that content. Modularized content can be easily curated from your content library to deliver a dynamic digital experience to your clients in near-real time. This headless approach also future-proofs your content, by ensuring flexibility to accommodate new channels in the future.
With a vast spread of documents and content managed in separate silos and systems, it can be very difficult to organize and track each instance where a specific piece of content appears. Within a content hub, on the other hand, content is centrally controlled, organized, and found using intelligent search and categorized using metadata.
Metadata tags help identify which state the content applies to, the regulation code it adheres to, the product version it relates to, the dates of applicability – any subcategory that can be identified and retrieved.
Metadata tags can help you easily organize and find related content – related disclosures, or even variations by channel that pertain to the same regulation or disclosure. So, when you need to make an update due to a regulatory change, it is easier to find all the related content components. Regulatory changes at financial institutions come with strict deadlines and serious penalties when those deadlines are missed. Every non-compliant communication is a regulatory risk; organizations must know where every use of regulatory language can be found.
Servicing communications can be very complex. They are subject to regulatory specifics such as disclosures, they contain variable data, and contain multiple variations for specific products, states, etc. They also need to be tailored to each distinct client.
Consider a credit card application as an example. An onboarding package will vary on several different fronts. The type of card product the customer chooses will determine costs, benefits, and rewards. The state of the customer’s residence will dictate precise regulatory disclosures. And the language of the communication may vary.
A document-centric approach means a proliferation of templates: one for each possible variation. Every variable adds an additional layer of complexity, exponentially increasing the number of templates required. The sheer volume means changes and updates happen slowly, costing organizations the ability to respond to in an agile manner. When multiple channels enter the mix, the situation can rapidly spiral out of control.
Intelligent content hubs solve this problem with variation management because communications are built as part of a hierarchy. Parent variations enable shared content and layouts to be passed to any child variants.
Back to the credit card example. The hub enables centralized control over the common content, while dramatically reducing the number of templates under management. It also enables the right variation of the content to be presented to the customer with the right personal variable data in place – and this is all done dynamically in response to the API call given the information available about the customer.
Content hubs make it easy to create dynamic, targeted digital experiences. Which will not only improve the digital customer experience but also open the door to hyper-focused upselling opportunities.
Communications aren’t created by technical experts or legal teams; they’re created by the line of business and servicing teams. The document-centric approach forces these business teams to rely on their IT teams to build and update communication content in the various composition and communications silos. Change becomes a time-consuming – and expensive – endeavor, as each revision requires programming, testing, and feedback. And since hardworking IT professionals have many other responsibilities besides managing servicing communication updates, involving them in the process only slows it further.
Built with no-code interfaces, content hubs make it easy for non-technical teams to make changes on their own. With a content hub, business users can author content, gather approvals, generate proofs to validate changes, test data sets to ensure messaging plays correctly, and finally push the changes live themselves. Delivered by APIs to digital endpoints, changes go into effect, without requiring the help or input of an IT team.
Content hubs are also built to optimize content, not merely replicate it. Unlike ordinary word processing tools, an AI-assisted content hub can offer actionable insights, assessing the sentiment, brand presentation, and reading level of communications. Ensuring communications meet the appropriate levels of each will lead to delivering consistently engaging digital experiences to your customers.
By shifting your approach, preparing content for centralized control to enable reuse in dynamic digital experiences, leveraging metadata, pursuing personalization, and empowering business users to manage content, financial services organizations and insurers are well on the way to delivering engaging, customized digital customer experiences. With these five steps, organizations can vastly reduce redundant work and duplicated effort, saving time and money while increasing agility and efficiency. More to the point, the improved digital customer experiences they deliver will noticeably enhance customer retention.
Break free from a document-centric paradigm. Deliver the dynamic, personalized digital experiences your customers expect with a centralized content hub.
Contact us today to learn how Messagepoint helps financial institutions create dynamic digital customer experiences.
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