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Everybody in the customer communications management (CCM) industry is talking about omni-channel. For some, it’s part of a larger digital transformation within the enterprise. For others, it's part of a customer experience-focused strategy. While for many others, omni-channel is part of a technology consolidation effort.

No matter what's motivating your omni-channel project, you need to start by building the best team possible. The best omni-channel teams need to look, think, and operate differently than your single-channel or even your multi-channel teams.

Your omni-channel group needs to be collaborative design thinkers who partner well with business and technology experts.

You will need people who can map journeys, optimize processes, and streamline content.

So, what do you need to look for to assemble your dream team?

First, your omni-channel team will need to have a deeper understanding of the customers, prospects, employees, and others who engage with you across your communications portfolio. Since omni-channel activities include bi-directional and other iterative communications, your team needs to understand the customer journey that each communication supports. This means understanding the upstream and downstream impact of the communications they are designing. This is very unlike many organizational groups, which are organized to create a communication without the full context of the project. You will need people who can map journeys, optimize processes, and streamline content.

Since your recipients will span generations, your team will need to design for a wide audience. You likely have customers that range from 18-year-olds with the latest technology devices to 80-year-olds who may prefer mail and web portals. Your multi-generational audience may also have different requirements in terms of the content of their messages, which will need to be optimized across all channels. Each generation has different views on convenience, privacy, and what makes a good customer experience.

In order to deliver excellent results, collaboration will be the most critical skill for your team. Since your stakeholders and recipients alike span across several generations, you will need to balance your design and content needs to deliver the right impact with the fewest moving parts. Your architecture staff will have to work with designers, product owners, compliance stakeholders, and customer-facing employees to support the most flexible, but least complex, system to deliver these needs. This means consolidating content management systems, design interfaces, CCM systems, and delivery solutions, while preventing smaller projects from going rogue on unsupported cloud services. It will be important to keep communication tight, connected to your touchpoints, and visible to a variety of stakeholders.

Once your people, their roles, and the technologies are streamlined, it’s time to think about design. All of your designs can’t be assigned to recent college graduates, because they might not understand some of your older channels. At the same time, all of the new channel designs can’t be trusted to your most experienced team members either. Having a mix of co-located (or hyper-collaboration) designers can ensure you are delivering the maximum impact for each channel. Many design departments tend to develop expertise in some areas while performing poorly in others. A design team that can’t match the channel challenges will ultimately fail, driving business stakeholders toward outsourced point solutions that undermine the omni-channel strategy and create further expense later on, as IT teams will have to extend data security and compliance enforcement to these new vendors.

As we consider the requirements of the omni-channel strategy, it is critical to select a team that is able to deliver the high expectations that customers and employees have today. Think about the following steps to build your omni-channel team:
  • Hire for a variety of design skills
  • Create messages tailored to diverse recipients
  • Design systems for the employees
  • Invest the time in seamless collaboration for your technologists, business stakeholders, designers, and customer-facing employees
They will be the drivers behind the stellar, relevant communications that your business needs to grow.

Scott Draeger, CCXP, M-EDP, is Vice President of Customer Transformation at Quadient. His broad experience includes helping clients improve customer communications in over 20 countries. Follow him on Twitter @scottdraeger or visit