Venture Resources

What is a Customer Communications Management Platform?

Mark Lammers
by Mark Lammers

June 18, 2024

This article reviews the core concepts of Customer Communication Management platforms, exploring their functionalities, benefits, and impact on customer interactions. Whether you're a seasoned professional seeking to enhance your organization's communication strategy or new to navigating the complexities of CCM technology, this comprehensive overview aims to illuminate the pivotal role of a CCM platform in fostering meaningful customer relationships.

First, let's start with the foundation of customer communications management.  



What is CCM? 

what is ccm03

Customer Communication Management, often called CCM, is the industry behind the curtains of the world's most successful businesses, delivering printed and electronic transactions between a company and its customers. While marketing and sales communication uses advertising, direct mail, and social media platforms to promote and sell products, CCM focuses on the communications necessary for the business and the customer, such as contracts, invoices, statements, notices, and letters.  

 In recent years, the boundaries between a company's transactional communications and marketing programs have been eroding. Marketing messaging, for example, can often be incorporated within transactional documents and vice versa.   

 However, key differences remain between the two in function and format.  

  • While marketing enterprises often have specific start and end dates, transactional communications run – daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually – to keep the customer informed and responsive.  
  • As such, CCMs handle large amounts of sensitive personal data, classified as Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and Personal Health Information (PHI). PIIs and PHIs can include information about loan foreclosures, past-due payments, health statements, account balances, and contract obligations.   
  • CCMs rely heavily on this data to stay on top of critical transactions. Aggressive production deadlines are often 24-48 hours after input data arrives to ensure informed and efficient communication between a business and its customers. Marketing communications, conversely, are built several months in advance.  
  • While marketing campaigns usually focus on marketing output – the advertising product – businesses continually depend on CCMs to manage both incoming and outgoing transactions from the customer. This includes 100% fulfillment of all input records, post-production verification of mail/content sent, and business rule programming and testing. These processes involve frequent changes to document templates and content as technology, customer needs, and business goals continue to evolve.  



Early CCM Steps: The Pre-Production Stage

The early steps of the CCM production workflow prepare data and page templates for paper and electronic output. These first steps, complicated and challenging as they may be, are the heart of CCM production.  

We identify and provide insight into the complex issues they deal with, some of which concern:  

  • Identifying and understanding the input data that becomes a document's variable content, most often numeric data, but can also be text and graphic data
  • Securing data transfers from internal information systems to the platform where the data is processed
  • Standardizing the input data, meeting delivery channel requirements, and recording suppressions the client may want to be removed
  • Integrating input data with standing page templates according to programmed business rules 
  • Post-processing tasks that provide confirmation and verification so that the content is composed correctly and sent to the output provider  
  • Creating output files that can be used by a print engine, email, SMS text deployment system, or online viewing applications  
  • Distributing the file stream to the appropriate production entity in a timely and secure manner  
  • Ensuring proper post-distribution management, like providing electronic archive files and information for verification requirements  



Why is a CCM Platform Important?

As stated earlier, CCM production requires speed, accuracy, 100% fulfillment, and post-production accountability. To meet these requirements, the pre-production process must be highly automated, precisely programmed, and amenable to quick human intervention when needed. If they do not reach these high standards, none of the requirements could be met.   

The best way to ensure success is through strong management and coordination, using a platform designed specifically for CCM pre-production processing.   

A CCM platform combines propriety programming, software products, real-time information, and a user interface built specifically to handle the early stages of CCM production. Its broad capabilities allow the early production steps to be fully automated, without which aggressive deadlines and accuracy requirements could not be met.  

Customer communication management platforms can: 
  • Integrate software solutions that process input data, compose variable content pages, and output a file for delivery by mail, email, SMS text, or another omni-channel method
  • Incorporate all pre-processing steps into a seamless, uninterrupted effort 
  • Keep the workflow moving and monitor how the tasks are proceeding via a dashboard 
  • Offer online self-service engagement with business rule programming and template content from any time, from any place 
  • Provide alerts and comprehensive incident reports for verification and auditing purposes 
  • Create files of each document in their original form for archiving and future reference  



Input and Output Variety 

An essential requirement of modern CCM production is converting a wide variety of input data into an equally varied series of document outputs.   

Nearly all companies with large CCM programs draw variable input data from several information systems. Some systems are legacy, constructed over several years; some are recently installed. In some cases, the input is not "raw" data but fully pre-composed pages from an internal page composition engine. This variety of systems and data types, by nature, means different file types and format outputs, all of which must be standardized into a single program application.   

 While the input is driven by the complexities of internal information systems, the output is determined by consumer empowerment and preference.   

The rise of digital consumer products, mobile and high-speed internet, social networks, and greater digital savvy have placed consumers in the strongest position ever when dealing with banks, insurance providers, investment companies, and other similar verticals.  

 As such, the CCM output from these standardized files must be capable of delivering these changing consumer preferences, often distributing the same communication in two or more channels. A CCM platform must successfully manage this unique crossroad between input and output, all while remaining compliant amidst the ever-increasing regulatory demands for accountability, to be considered a best-in-show performer.  


Input and Output Variety 

Who Needs a CCM Platform?  

With the dramatic rise of electronic channel delivery and the continued demand for print, it's critical a platform seamlessly manages every output option. This includes adhering to individual requirements and document composition needs of each delivery channel. A successful platform can compose output for any channel at the same scale and speed to meet quick 24-48 hour turn times.   

Companies with medium to large CCM programs need a CCM platform to run the programs efficiently, cost-favorably, and in compliance with regulatory agencies and consumer expectations. Typically, such companies have a complex network of information systems with data needing standardization, as well as preference centers capturing the individual channel preferences of each customer. These companies often have greater compliance and data security liability concerns, wherein a proven platform mitigates that risk.



Who Needs a CCM Platform?

Ready to choose a Customer Communication Management Platform? 

Venture Solutions offers comprehensive customer communication platforms that drive digital transformation through omni-channel delivery, focusing on personalization, automation, and customer experience.   

Venture Solutions has everything you need to deliver next-level customer communication service, whether you already have an omni-channel communication strategy or need help getting started. Our customer communications management software helps organizations realize the benefits of omni-channel delivery, including reduced costs, improved customer experience, and greater operational efficiencies.   

Our CCM platforms include: 

Venture NSite™: A unified technology platform that empowers your business to compose, edit, proof, and approve synchronized communications in real time across multiple channels through one user-friendly interface. With role-based user access, simplified workflows, 24/7 visibility, iron-clad data storage, and secure deployment, it's a seamless CCM experience. 
Venture Access™: Our innovative self-service customer communication portal offers companies total transparency and control of their critical communications. Venture Access™ lets you see all your customer communications in one place, so you know exactly what's happening as it happens. From ad hoc custom messaging to fulfillment and delivery tracking, statement archives, and detailed reports, Venture Access™ makes it easier than ever to manage your customer communications. 

Venture Editor™ : A user-friendly, self-service customer communication tool that centralizes the creation of omni-channel communications. Avoid the added costs of elaborate programming and composition software by streamlining processes through Venture Editor's™ sophisticated automated workflows.   

Let's collaborate! Contact Venture Solutions today to learn more about CCM platforms and strategies. Venture Solutions would be happy to give you a full demonstration. Our staff of solution architects, developers, communication experts, analysts, and service professionals can provide an excellent overview of what a top-tier integrated services platform does and how it can help support your unique business communication needs.  


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