OpenText Exstream, Digital Transformation and Customer Communications Management

An Interview with OpenText Exstream, Senior Manager of Product Strategy
By: Skip Henk, EDP – CEO of Xplor International

Last year Open Text Corp. acquired certain customer-communications management assets from HP Inc., an acquisition that certainly expanded and complemented the OpenText portfolio of software offerings.

Now that the dust has settled a bit, I wanted to catch up with Avi Greenfield, EDP – Senior Manager of Product Strategy, to discuss his views about digital transformation and Customer Communications from an OpenText Exstream point of view.

Avi, a 20 year industry veteran, is focused on technology solutions that build business value, focusing on customer communications and content management strategy. As I mentioned he is a Senior Manager of Product Strategy for OpenText Exstream, responsible for understanding the needs of customers for managing business-critical communications in complex and demanding environments, and driving the direction of the Exstream portfolio to meet those needs.

Avi received his Electronic Document Professional (EDP) certification in 2012.


Skip: Avi, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today.

Avi: You are welcome; we appreciate Xplor allowing us the opportunity.

Skip: For our readers who are not familiar with OpenText Exstream, can you give us your 15 second   elevator pitch?

Avi: OpenText Exstream offers the fastest, most reliable communications production engine to enable

digital transformation for companies. Exstream helps companies in a range of industries and sizes optimize customer engagement through the design and delivery of personalized, consistent, compliant, anytime, anywhere communications for better customer experiences across all channels. The latest version includes capabilities that enable users to create responsive, mobile-ready content; generate robust, interactive charts; perform controlled in-context editing; and better handle PDFs.

Skip: There is a lot in the media now about “digital transformation” and “digital business/digital economy” – what does that mean to OpenText and why is it important? 

Avi:  With 50% of the workforce expected to be made up of those who were “born digital” by 2020, digital communications are becoming more and more important and many companies are looking to move to a digital business model. A recent Gartner report states that 89% of companies will compete on customer experience and 90% of CEOs place CX as one of their top three priorities, so companies will need to be able to provide exceptional customer experiences across multiple channels to stay competitive in the future.

The Millennial generation is now larger than the Baby Boomers and they have more than one trillion dollars in purchasing power. Companies need to adapt their customer communications to appeal to this highly digital and technologically advanced group. Digital transformation of your business will be critical and is much more than being able to send email or PDFs because these consumers want much more engaging experiences and access to their brands 24/7. They have the highest adoption and usage of mobile devices of any generation, and they navigate seamlessly between devices and channels, which means they expect relevant and consistent content, experiences and branding across all channels.

Skip: What is the impact of digital transformation on CCM?

Avi:  We see it driving a lot of demand for modern CCM capabilities. Digital transformation means rethinking business processes to meet consumer demand for frictionless multichannel interactions. This frequently means updating or replacing core systems of record and systems and engagement like CRM, billing, customer care, and claims for example. Most organizations already have multiple systems that are used to produce and deliver traditional and digital communications. So when they update those core systems, it’s a great time to consider whether their current CCM tools and processes are able to serve all of their enterprise needs for engaging customers in a way puts them at the center and gives them the freedom to engage using the channels and devices of their choice. We see this leading to increased investment in enterprise-grade CCM tools and also increased focus and organizational resources dedicated to producing and delivering timely, relevant, compliant communications.

Skip: Given these changes, and a shift to digital documents and communications, what steps can people take right now to take advantage of this?

Avi: In the digital age, it is critical for your company to move from traditional paper-based documents to engaging conversations across all channels. By delivering communications in the channels preferred by your customers and designing with digital in mind, you can turn your communications into a differentiator.

Your communications should use clear and concise language and be compliant, accurate, and controlled. All this requires synchronizing the right data with CCM software and the business processes that intersect with customer touchpoints.

Communications—whether traditional or digital—are the primary customer touchpoint for most organizations. The quality, timeliness, and accuracy of those communications have a huge impact on the consumer’s perception of your company. And the quality of a customer’s experience is the single greatest predictor of whether they will return and promote your company or defect to a competitor and malign it.

The design of any communication is important and can either drive desired behaviors, additional revenue or loyalty if done well. If not, it can undermine customer experience and create expensive call center inquiries. As far as best practices, five key things to consider when designing any communication are:

  1. Design for understanding – What do you want recipients to understand?
  2. Design to drive action – What do you want recipients to do or not do?
  3. Design for digital first, but don’t neglect traditional channels – Do recipients have a seamless cross-channel experience?
  4. Design to align business user profile with the business process – How do you involve business users? Do they own content and messages? Can they help personalize communications for the front office?
  5. Design customer-centric communications from the outside-in – What do you do to modernize your processes and systems of interaction to deliver on consumer expectations for seamless cross-channel interactions?

Skip: Those are five great points. Do you believe the investment in CCM worth it?

Avi: Not only is it worth it, but it is essential to positive business outcomes. Providing a better customer experience is shown to increase loyalty and lifetime customer value and can be a key source of competitive differentiation. Delivering interactions that are clear, timely, and easy to understand leads to higher customer satisfaction.

So there are many pressures and expectations on customer communications. Companies must respond quickly to changing markets and circumstances, while providing consistent, high-quality communications in the recipient’s language and preferred delivery channel.

There is also a critical need to maintain compliance and control over communications for legal and regulatory reasons. At the same time, business users are demanding more control over the content and faster time to market. And of course operational requirements demand timely, optimized output at the lowest possible cost. So having an enterprise CCM platform with the right organizational commitment and resources dedicated to it is essential to increasing profitability, improving customer experience, and mitigating risk.

Skip: Avi, I once again thank you for taking the time to speak with me today and sharing your insights. Anyone who would like more information can contact OpenText here.

About OpenText Exstream
Exstream is a multichannel customer communication management (CCM) solution that is proven to improve the customer experience and make customer interactions more profitable. It allows business users to create the communications for connected customer journeys using the delivery formats and channels customers prefer – including email, web and mobile.

This software solution powers the transformation of all of your data—whatever file sources, formats, and systems you use—into relevant and insightful customer communications. With on-premise and cloud deployment options, Exstream is scalable to fit the needs of any department or complex enterprise environment. Design and deliver consistent, personalized, compliant, anytime, anywhere communications with Exstream.


skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Harry’s Corner – 47-47-6 Unintended Consequences

Submitted by Harry Stephens, President/CEO of DATAMATX
November 21, 2016

We held our annual INg meeting at Orlando in conjunction with this year’s Graph Expo in September. One of the speakers at our meeting was a labor attorney and among the many things he spoke to us about was the upcoming Overtime Rule. For those of you that may not know specific details on this new rule, starting on December 1 2016, the salary threshold to avoid paying overtime will move to $913 per week (an annual salary of $47,476) from the current $455 per week.  Right now, hourly workers, lower-wage earners and non-managerial workers must be paid 1.5 times their hourly wage when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Under the new rule, an estimated 4.2 million workers, including those on salary, will be eligible for overtime.

On November 10th, at the Fall Board of Director’s meeting for the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, where I am on the board, the issue came up again. The Georgia Chamber of Commerce represents the unified voice of Georgia’s business community with the motto “What’s good for business is good for Georgia” driving its policy and legislative direction to ensure the future of economic mobility for all Georgians. So it makes sense that business and job creation are always a focus. I brought up this impending Overtime Rule at the meeting, encouraging both the local and national Chamber of Commerce to vocally oppose this type of job creation loss initiative as it will certainly have unintended consequences, hurting the people it intended to help.

For example, in lower-paid jobs where the minimum wage is also increasing, employers are put in the difficult situation of having middle managers making considerably less per working hour than new hires. Think of the restaurant industry where wages may be lower, hours are long and profit margins very thin. While this rule is meant to increase take-home pay, these changes may limit employment and advancement opportunities in this industry and others like it. Another good example—college graduates looking for their first job.  An employer will certainly have to think twice about hiring an inexperienced worker who needs time to “learn on the job” for an annual salary of $47,476.00 or unbudgeted overtime. Jobs are hard enough to get when you don’t have the right experience. This rule will make it even more difficult. Unintended consequences. Hurting the people it intended to help.

For every business, this rule causes a number of consequences as well, particularly when it comes to payroll. We essentially have two choices. If the increased salary threshold creates newly non-exempt employees to stay compliant, we need to either pay employees higher salaries, or pay overtime wages.

In preparation, classifying employees correctly as to whether they are exempt or non-exempt will be extremely important, particularly if you are in a business that has peaks in productivity at times that require employees to work longer hours, like month end or holidays. Because of this, I recommend checking out the Department of Labor or your state’s wage enforcement agency to get the exact requirements. The last thing a business needs is unexpected financial or legal consequences for not clearly stating an employee’s classification, entitlement to overtime and tracking of such.

It will also be important to have clear communication with employees about record keeping. For some who have been proud of being a “white collar worker” now required to keep track of time, this can be difficult. Explaining the rule and how it will affect them and your business will ease any misconceptions they may have about any changes in job description or pay.

Oh, and another piece of “good news.”  The minimum salary threshold will automatically increase every three years based on wage growth. The first automatic increase will happen on Jan. 1, 2020, which means more employees will become exempt as the threshold rises. Now, if you think you are in the clear because you are a small business, I have more “good news.” The Department of Labor FAQ fact sheet does say that “the proposed rule [applies] to employees of enterprises that have an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more, and certain other businesses.” Ok. If your business makes less than $500,000 of annual revenue, is it exempt? It appears the answer is still no. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), individual employees may still be “covered in any workweek when they are individually engaged in interstate commerce, the production of goods for interstate commerce, or an activity that is closely related and directly essential to the production of such goods.”  Like I said earlier – research the information on the Department of Labor’s website or your state’s wage enforcement agency to get the exact requirements of the ruling.

There is no way around the fact that this ruling is bad for business—especially small to medium businesses that have a hard enough time growing their businesses as it is. We need dedicated employees who consider themselves professionals and want to work the long hours often needed to get ahead and grow in their profession. Employers will now have a hard time giving them that choice. Instead of benefiting workers, the rule takes away flexible schedules and maybe even certain career pursuits. For businesses, it places yet another financial burden to manage. Perfect examples of unintended consequences hurting the people it intended to help.

Until next time – Harry

Harry Stephens


Harry Stephens is President/CEO, and founder of DATAMATX, one of the nation’s largest privately held, full-service providers of printed and electronic billing solutions. He has been active in the Atlanta business community for over 40 years in various professional and trade organizations, most recently as a board member of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.  As an advocate for business mailers across the country, Stephens is actively involved in several postal trade associations.  He serves on the Executive Board of the Greater Atlanta Postal Customer Council,  Board Member of the National Postal Policy Council (NPPC), Member of Major Mailers Association(MMA), and member of the Coalition for a 21st Century Postal Service.  He is also immediate past president of the Imaging Network Group (INg), an association for Print/Mail Service Bureaus.  As an expert on high-volume print and mail, he has frequently been asked to speak to various USPS groups, including the Board of Governors, about postal reform and other issues affecting business mailers.  Find DATAMATX at www.datamatx.com

 

The importance of the customer experience when it comes to your proof of delivery process

Submitted by Alexandra Truchot, Content Creation Specialist for Objectif Lune.
October 12, 2016

Building your customer base involves a lot of money and effort. Once you’ve attracted new customers, it’s wise to do everything you can to keep them happy and committed over the long term so that your investment was worthwhile.

If you focus your efforts mainly on getting new customers and neglect to give your current ones a special experience, you’re actually working for your competitor, who is providing a more exclusive customer experience and doing everything possible to win their loyalty.

That said, you have a golden opportunity when delivering products to interact with your customers and make the experience positive for them. The goal is to make them want to continue buying your products, and even to recommend you to others in their network. In fact, this is one of the only chances you’ll get to meet them in person and interact directly. Why not take the opportunity to wow them?

Provide quality service to maintain customers
By providing your delivery persons with a tablet to manage delivery notes, you can impress your customers by asking them not only to sign the delivery note directly on the mobile device (rather than signing a piece of paper), but by allowing them to change the quantities they received in real time. They can even add visual proof of a damaged package, and the delivery person can specify the location information to confirm that the product was delivered to the place the customer had indicated. Then it just takes a click to send the proof of delivery to the office and to email it to the customer.

Be proactive in earning customer loyalty
Since the delivery note gets to the office faster, your staff can be proactive in addressing problems. If a parcel is damaged, the office clerk will immediately receive the proof of damage and can quickly contact the customer to apologize and offer an alternative. When paper is used, it can take 24 to 48 hours, or longer, before the customer gets any news about the damaged product. But in the former case, the customer hardly has any time to get upset. With an automated digital process, customers can’t help but notice how proactive you are in dealing with such incidents.

In addition, since data entry is no longer done by hand, the data is more reliable and the billing can be done seamlessly. Not only will your customers pay faster, since nothing needs to be changed on the invoice, but there’ll be less risk of receiving complaints.

Get closer to reaching your productivity, operational efficiency and customer experience objectives one step at a time!


AlexandraTruchot ThumbnailAlexandra Truchot – Content creation specialist with Objectif Lune. Writer and compulsive reader. Eager for unknown destinations and exciting encounters. Anything is possible, you just have to believe it. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Objectif Lune has 20 years of experience developing Customer Communications Management solutions. Our solutions bridge the gap between systems and automate more personalized, relevant, multichannel customer communications. Learn more at: www.objectiflune.com.

Automating the steps in a standard purchasing process to improve customer experience

Submitted by Alexandra Truchot, Content Creation Specialist for Objectif Lune.
September 29, 2016

Purchasing one of your products or services is only one of the steps in a more complex customer journey. By the time your customers get to the payment stage, they will have gone through many other crucial stages during which they also interacted with your company. Furthermore, following a purchase, the journey continues because if you want to build customer loyalty or have customers make another purchase, you have to keep in touch with them.  So the journey begins with the discovery of your brand and continues with the order, payment and delivery, not to mention the after-sales service, if required.

All of these steps are just as important in order to build customer loyalty and turn your customers into ambassadors of your products and services.

Managing them, however, can be complex and often involve many small and tedious manual tasks. By automating the most essential processes, you could save a lot of time and gain your customers’ trust by offering them a better experience when dealing with your company.

Here are a few steps in a standard customer journey which you can easily automate.

Communications with potential customers
Sales cycles are often long. Prospecting is a complex task. It takes months to strengthen ties with your network and in order to do so, you need to provide high-quality content to potential customers.

Accounts opening
The creation of new accounts is a defining moment in the customer-company relationship. But if this step is made even more complex by the excessive use of paper or tedious manual data entry by your employees, it can be frustrating for potential customers.

Order-taking
Managing purchase orders often requires scanning piles upon piles of documents every day. Employees have to manually enter numerous data to launch the subsequent phases of the process. This causes many delays and orders can sometimes take several days before being confirmed!

Deliveries
When delivering the products to your customers, you have a golden opportunity to interact with them and ensure that their experience is a good one.

Invoicing
Did you know that transactional messages are 8 times more likely to be opened than other types of communications? This is therefore a great opportunity for you to communicate with your customers.

Document management
According to the Institute of Financial Operations, 43% of organizations say that being unable to find the right data in their different customer files remains their greatest issue where after-sales services are concerned. When Customer Service wants to respond to a request, it often wastes valuable time trying to put the information together, or simply even finding the information!

Get closer to reaching your productivity, operational efficiency and customer experience objectives one step at a time!


AlexandraTruchot ThumbnailAlexandra Truchot – Content creation specialist with Objectif Lune. Writer and compulsive reader. Eager for unknown destinations and exciting encounters. Anything is possible, you just have to believe it. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Objectif Lune has 20 years of experience developing Customer Communications Management solutions. Our solutions bridge the gap between systems and automate more personalized, relevant, multichannel customer communications. Learn more at: www.objectiflune.com.

Providing a more relevant customer experience

Submitted by Alexandra Truchot, Content Creation Specialist for Objectif Lune.
August 3, 2016

Do you dream of flexibility when communicating with your customers? Do you want to offer a better customer experience? Are your organization’s systems too inflexible, keeping you from using all the data you need to provide superior service to your customers?

More than ever, organizations are being asked to make dramatic changes to how they communicate with their end clients. There are many occasions for communicating with your customers: welcome messages, invoices, orders, confirmation of payment or invitations to evaluate the services.

Consumers have high expectations and demand personalized, relevant communications. They no longer want multi-page transactional records that do not take their uniqueness into account or highlight the relationship they have with you. Personally, I hate receiving useless paperwork. I don’t want to feel like just another number, and I will always choose a company that offers me service that looks like me.

This is a huge issue today. Organizations that do not make the effort to optimize customer communications are going to quickly lose their clientele to competitors that have been able to get onboard sooner.

So, to keep your customers, your communications have to be responsive. And to do that, you have to be able to quickly and easily modify the documents you send them, based on their purchasing history, geographic location, or marketing campaigns in progress.

In addition to wanting to satisfy your customers, you have to fulfill numerous legal requirements related to transactional records. You have to add specific phrases to comply with a new law or modify certain segments of the invoice in accordance with more stringent laws in a country where you have a subsidiary. In these cases, you have to know how to respond quickly to comply and you really have no choice.

So what to do?

Take back control of your templates by modifying them in a tool specifically intended for document design. The design tool should give you access to advanced functions for personalizing your documents and give you greater flexibility when you want to modify them.

But obviously, you don’t want to get rid of the old templates created using your ERP system and start completely from scratch.

There are now business document composition tools that go beyond mere design. Getting a tool that functions like a middleware system and regenerates the old templates into something more dynamic and modern, will give you greater flexibility. You will not lose your old templates – you’ll improve them. You’ll make them relevant, customizable and interactive.

In addition, you will be able to take advantage of them to move to multi-source communications. A good tool will enable you to easily send your documents using various means. But to smoothly make the switch to digital, you can refer to my advice in my previous note.


AlexandraTruchot ThumbnailAlexandra Truchot – Content creation specialist with Objectif Lune. Writer and compulsive reader. Eager for unknown destinations and exciting encounters. Anything is possible, you just have to believe it. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Objectif Lune has 20 years of experience developing Customer Communications Management solutions. Our solutions bridge the gap between systems and automate more personalized, relevant, multichannel customer communications. Learn more at: www.objectiflune.com.

Why is it so difficult to switch to digital?

Submitted by Alexandra Truchot, Content Creation Specialist for Objectif Lune.
July 20, 2016

According to IDC, a market research firm, by the end of 2017, two-thirds of the 2000 largest companies (ranked by Forbes magazine) will have digital transformation at the centre of their corporate strategy. Most already see digital transformation as a must. Moreover, 55% of those organizations feel the urgency to act within the year, at the risk of falling behind their competitors.

However, few of them have already completed the conversion. In fact, some have hardly begun.

That’s because switching to digital is no easy task, and here are the three main reasons.

Lack of flexibility in terms of communication
You have to be responsive in your communications in order to keep your customers. And to be responsive, you need to be able to easily and quickly change the documents you send them, based on their purchase history, geographic area, or even your current marketing campaigns.

You also need to be able to send those same documents digitally (email, web portal, EDI transactions, etc.)

Nonetheless, InfoTrends estimates that it takes an average of three months to make small changes to document templates, and twice as long (seven months!) to make major changes. Some examples of small changes to document templates include updating a company’s logo or a signature, or changing small segments of a text or paragraph. Major changes include completely re-doing the template, including the style, messages and branding.

An aging architecture
Do you sometimes feel trapped by your rigid systems that never seem suited to your organization’s changing needs?

Older systems rarely provide interactive or digital features, because they were designed long before the Internet played such a huge role in business.

For example, the inflexibility of many ERP systems complicates and slows down document updating processes. ERP systems don’t allow you to take into account the new trends in managing customer communications (modern graphics, Internet and HTML use). It gets very costly to make changes directly and requires setting up long-term projects, involving the cooperation of several departments in an organization (IT, operations, and finance).

Managing data from a number of sources
Over the years, a company puts many systems in place to meet the business needs of its various departments. The company ends up with several systems from different eras that often don’t interact well with one another. It would be quite costly to replace all of them for the purposes of data exchange.

Workers have often get into the habit of directly printing documents from each system to collect the information they need. What a waste of time and money when it would have been easier if the systems exchanged data automatically.

Not only do you need a middleware system that allows you to bridge the gap between your systems and retrieve the data you need, but you’ll also want to easily convert and standardize the data moving between systems, if necessary.


AlexandraTruchot ThumbnailAlexandra Truchot – Content creation specialist with Objectif Lune. Writer and compulsive reader. Eager for unknown destinations and exciting encounters. Anything is possible, you just have to believe it. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Objectif Lune has 20 years of experience developing Customer Communications Management solutions. Our solutions bridge the gap between systems and automate more personalized, relevant, multichannel customer communications. Learn more at: www.objectiflune.com.

Customer Experience: Put the patty on the damn bun!

By Skip Henk, EDP, President/CEO of Xplor International

Over the last year I have been spending a great deal of time better understanding the varying intricacies of a customer experience, its relationship to our industry, and how a great customer experience can pay big dividends.

An article I read the other day by Warren Buffet said, “Your business will succeed if you execute this three word mission, DELIGHT YOUR CUSTOMER.” Speaking at the 20th Graduation of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College, Buffett told the graduates: “Tomorrow morning when you look in the mirror after you’ve gotten up, just write — or just put it in lipstick or whatever you want — ‘delight my customer’ not ‘satisfy my customer.’ ‘Delight my customer.’”

This perhaps is the most descriptive and succinct definition of a the Customer Experience I have read.

(To read the article http://tinyurl.com/jxgghuy )

We have dozens of customer experiences each week which can vary greatly. Whether you are dropping your clothes off at the cleaners, going to the grocery store or ordering on Amazon we have plenty of opportunity to be delighted.

Some of the most mundane of interactions can be delightful with delight being driven by expectations.

Setting Expectations
Customer experience is how we expect to be treated in a given situation. When we go to the cleaners, we don’t want to wait in line too long to drop them off and we want our clothes cleaned properly and ready when promised. At the grocery store, we expect shelves to be well stocked, for the store to be clean and for there to be plenty of cashiers or self serve kiosks to minimize our wait when leaving. When ordering online, we look for availability, price, shipping costs and time. Then we expect our purchase to arrive on or before the date promised.

Expectations vary based on the task and whether we have high or low expectations. When expectations are met, it represents a good experience.

Put the Patty on the Damn Bun
I occasionally go to a fast food restaurant, typically with fairly low expectations. I do expect to wait if I go during a peak times and I automatically assume my order is will not be right, so I check it. I also expect that it is at least warm.  Reasonable but certainly not high expectations.

hamburgerLast week, I had a Big Mac craving and ventured to McDonald’s to order myself a Big Mac and fries.  (Don’t judge me, I know the Big Mac is 560 calories and fries add an additional 368 calories; this isn’t the point)  The “customer experience” was going along well, I did not have to wait long, the order appeared correct and I saw the fries come out the fryer, so they were nice and hot. I was good to go. I sat down to eat and opened my Big Mac finding BOTH patties were hanging halfway off the bun. Not sure exactly why it crossed me but it did.

As I looked at my burger I contemplated taking it back but decided not to do so. What I realized is that the customer experience can in fact be a moving target with expectations theoretically changing with each transaction. The same may hold true for our industry.

At the Xplor at Graph Expo breakfast session, September 27th in Orlando, our panel, moderated by Matt Swain of Infotrends, will try and answer the question:  “With advancements in technology and changes in human behavior, is offering a superior customer experience a moving target?”

If you are planning to attend Graph Expo, I invite you to attend our complimentary breakfast session sponsored by Canon Solutions America, Compart North America, Pitney Bowes and Xerox Corporation. For more information and to register, visit the event website.

As far as my Big Mac expectations, “Put the damn patty on the bun!”

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

What EDP Means to Me

Xplor President/CEO Interview with Franklin Friedmann, 20 Year EDP
July 6, 2016

Continuing from my most recent interview, Benefits to Becoming EDP Certified, I recently caught up with Franklin Friedmann who will be celebrating his 20th year as an EDP this year to discuss what the EDP certification means to him.

If you missed my first post, you can read it and an outline of the EDP Program here.

Skip: Franklin, thank you for taking the time to meet with me!

Franklin: A pleasure.

 

Skip: When did you get your EDP and what drove you to strive for it?

Franklin:  My manager had chosen me to be the first person a Certified Printing specialist with the company. However, recognizing that an EDP(P) had more currency with clients, I told him I would do the Xplor initiative first.

 

Skip: You were a part of the 1996 class, the last year of EDPP Program before they dropped a ‘P’ to better accommodate of digital communication technologies. What have you noticed about this ever-changing industry since?

Franklin: The technology accelerates, though EDP does and should continue to stand for professionalism while content may change.

 

Skip: What does it mean to you personally to be an EDP?

Franklin: It represents a level of attainment, even as the industry shifts to a wider set of values. It therefore is a benchmark.

 

Skip: Has the certification helped you professionally throughout your career?

Franklin: Clients in the transactional space may recognize the credentials. You must prove yourself regardless. My sphere of operation is as a consultant.

 

Skip: Who do you think should attain their certification?

Franklin:  It depends on your current and planned career. EDP is a stepping stone; it may be useful in your organization as a way to measure your knowledge base. It is one of the steps that should also help if you regularly work with clients outside, not only inside your organization.

Thank you again Franklin for taking the time. If anyone has any additional questions regarding the EDP Certification program, please visit www.xplor.org/edp.

Until next time! Take care.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International

Improving the Customer Experience through Better Document Management

Submitted by Alexandra Truchot, Content Creation Specialist for Objectif Lune.
June 24, 2016

Every organization produces an endless stream of documents. And the more your business grows, the more documents you produce. So managing all those documents becomes very complicated.  And it often negatively affects the customer experience.

It becomes even more complicated because the documents are on a variety of media and have to be sent through different channels (mail, Internet, email, EDI, etc.). Document management becomes a huge puzzle! It takes an incredible amount of time and frustrates employees, as well as customers who don’t understand why it’s taking so long to get an answer.

When it comes to answering customer queries, a single employee spends an average of two- and-a- half hours a week looking for information. Moreover, searches are carried out using, on average, three different content managers (all types of media included). It’s no surprise that most employees find it painful!

When you call Customer Service, do you appreciate being put on hold for several minutes before getting an answer to your seemingly easy question?

Automate your document workflow
Automating your document workflow is a must and helps centralize your information. If you don’t automate, having a content management system (ECM) will not be enough because you won’t have the ease and flexibility of using and sending your documents as you please.

Besides, you should be able to manage your documents regardless of delivery channel or medium. In other words, it shouldn’t be difficult to send an invoice to a customer by email, and save it in XML in your archives, even if you’ve received the initial invoice information on paper.

By automating your document workflow, you can cut down on costs, not only by reducing printing but by enhancing productivity and minimizing errors.

Facilitate communications with your customers
Imagine each time you receive a purchase order, no matter which channel it comes through, the document is captured and automatically saved in your systems. You can then retrieve the data needed to complete the order process. At the same time, you can save it in the proper file so that when your customers call to talk about their purchases, you’ll quickly know where to find the information, whether they’re calling one week or six months after making the purchase!

Now picture your delivery confirmations being automatically saved in your company’s content management system each time you deliver a product to a customer. At any time, you would be able to easily prove that the delivery was made, and more importantly, you wouldn’t have to chase after your drivers when a PO goes astray or is illegible.

You would be able to provide quality service to your customers throughout the purchase cycle.

Are you thinking that automating these steps is complicated? Or that this kind of solution is only for large businesses?
Think again—document management can be much simpler and help you as your business expands!


AlexandraTruchot ThumbnailAlexandra Truchot – Content creation specialist with Objectif Lune. Writer and compulsive reader. Eager for unknown destinations and exciting encounters. Anything is possible, you just have to believe it. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

Objectif Lune has 20 years of experience developing Customer Communications Management solutions. Our solutions bridge the gap between systems and automate more personalized, relevant, multichannel customer communications. Learn more at: www.objectiflune.com.

Benefits to Becoming EDP Certified

Xplor President/CEO Interview with Cheryl Simerson, EDP, 2016 EDP Commission Chair
June 16, 2016

Most everyone in the industry is familiar with continuing education and professional certifications. However, many may not be aware of the Electronic Document Professional (EDP) certification that is available to all professionals in the electronic document and customer communications industry.

The EDP Program: Launched in 1989 as the Electronic Document Printing Professional (EDPP) program was created to recognize those in the industry as subject matter experts in the area of digital print. Regulated by the EDPP Commission, the first class in 1990 consisted of eleven individuals receiving their EDPP certification. As the industry evolved and new technologies became part of the landscape the EDPP commission dropped the reference to ‘Printing’ in 1997 to accommodate other digital communication technologies.

The EDP program is sponsored and maintained by Xplor International which oversees the EDP Commission, however you do not need to be a member of Xplor International for certification or re-certification

I had the chance to speak with Cheryl Simerson, EDP, our new 2016 EDP Commission Chair to discuss her thoughts on EDP certification, as well as, where she would like to take the EDP Program over the next year.

Skip: Cheryl, thank you for taking the time to meet with me and share your views regarding the EDP Program.

Cheryl: No problem! It is my pleasure.

 

Skip: So give me your elevator pitch. What or who is an EDP?

Cheryl: An EDP is someone who has a considerable depth of knowledge and experience in the digital document and customer communications industry and actively working in the industry for a minimum of five years.

 

Skip: When did you get your EDP and what drove you to strive for it?

Cheryl: I received my EDP certification in 1995 and have gone on to recertify every 5 years over the past 20 years.

I originally set the goal for myself to obtain my certification due to not having a college degree and wanted to prove to myself and my peers that although I did not have a degree, I was an expert in the digital printing industry. At that time, a lot of us obtained our knowledge through hands on experience and never took the time out of our work schedules to go back to school to obtain a degree but instead, attended individual vendor educational courses and conferences.

 

Skip: What does it mean to you personally to be an EDP?

Cheryl: To be one of a very elite group of electronic document professionals is very special to me and I look forward to our yearly onsite networking event with my peers who have also achieved this certification level during the Xplor International global conference.

 

Skip: Has the certification helped you professionally throughout your career?

Cheryl: When I first started working on my EDP portfolio and work examples, as I mentioned above, I did it as an accomplishment for myself in order to achieve this personal goal. At that time, I had already been with my company for many years so I didn’t benefit immediately from obtaining my certification. When I finally went out seeking another job opportunity, I discovered my certification brought attention to being a Subject Matter Expert (SME) which proved to bring in a higher salary.

 

Skip: Who do you think should attain their certification?

Cheryl: Anyone interested in expanding their career in the industry should apply! The EDP Certification Handbook can be found on the EDP site.

 

Skip: As the new EDP Commission Chair, do you have any goals you’d like to help the EDP Program achieve?

Cheryl: One of my goals as this year’s Commissioner is to educate individuals in our industry regarding the program. I want to reach out beyond Xplor International members but to the industry as a whole. The first step is a series of interviews talking about the impact EDP certification in E-Document News.

Another area is to reach out to our colleges and universities regarding certification and I look forward to working with Xplor International and the board of directors to market the program. Not only do I want to promote the EDP Certification Program but also our other two designations, Electronic Document Associate (EDA) and Master Electronic Document Professional (M-EDP).

 

Skip: Thank you again Cheryl for taking the time.

If anyone has any additional questions regarding the EDP Certification program, please visit the EDP page or you can contact Cheryl directly at Cheryl.simerson@yahoo.com.

Until Next interview! Take care.

skip_Henk_Photo_2011

 

Skip Henk, EDP
President/CEO
Xplor International