Join in the community forum! The thINK blog is a place for community members to share their opinions, best practices, successes, and challenges. Add your comments to the blogs published here or write a blog and we’ll post it for you.


Person working on computer

How Do You Create a Customer Experience Platform as a Business Outsource Provider?

By Adam Armstrong on October 13, 2021

By Adam Armstrong, Product Manager, Crawford Technologies

Your customers want to focus on offering their end-user customers the ultimate customer experience. They want to deliver communication to their users when they need it, how they need it and in the channel they demand. As an outsource provider, can you buy a fully featured customer communication delivery platform from a software vendor?

Before I answer that, let’s define what a “Customer Communication Delivery Platform” is and why it is important. As a service provider, you offer a service to your customers. It is no longer 1990 and your customer isn’t picking up their desk phone every time they have a question or request, so, as a BPO or PSP, you need to provide your clients with a Customer Communication Delivery Platform (CCDP) or a web portal for interacting with you and your services. 

Many times, the features and services you offer your clients, your value-add and your competitive advantage is linked to how easy your CCDP makes it to do business with you and the features that enable you to answer your clients’ needs and wants. Initial implementations of CCDPs replaced the internal “green screen” DOS style interface by providing a simple look-up interface that allowed customer service representatives to easily search for a customer’s mail or communication history and view the actual mail piece.

CCDPs have been used by BPOs and service providers for many years and are key to managing and delivering customer communications and for outsourcing. It is not uncommon for a provider to enable applications to be set up, designed and even delivery channels specified and delivered directly from a well-built CCDP. 

Can you buy a CCDP or web portal for your business? The answer is that there are many off-the-shelf systems that focus on specific areas. Fulfillment providers have a wide selection of on-premise or cloud-based solutions. However, in the world of transactional mail and omni-channel engagement, the eDelivery options are very thin. Most service providers that have been surveyed, state there is not a single, all-encompassing CCDP or web portal that allows them to manage and deliver their customer communications through a secure, modern, fully integrated offering.

For decades the leading BPOs and PSPs have been building and deploying their own CCDPs, web portals and eDelivery solutions to maximize their competitive advantage and strengthen the relationship with their clients. To create and deliver their solutions easier and faster many of the top print service providers in North America have integrated API-based data transforms, eDelivery and post composition tools, reducing development needs and simplifying the creation and delivery of complex critical communications.

Generic web portals are typically not flexible enough to solve all your clients’ needs. Maybe they can archive a document or even send an email, but do they have a fully brandable interface that offers your clients the ability to integrate with your composition offering, connect with your inventory system, control the preference for your omni-channel engagement or track every mail piece that runs through your facility? The answer is no. 

However, with a vision and an understanding of what your clients need, you can leverage APIs to access and present the data inside your current existing web infrastructure without any complex programming; thus delivering the ultimate in customer experience quickly and easily through your custom web portal.

Here are a few examples of how APIs can be used:

  1. The ability to take an AFP document from a production run on the fly, remove the 2D and mail barcodes and then present it on the web or to a mobile device in PDF or HTML format, all executed within a sub-second response time.  
  2. Build, create and manage omni-channel delivery for a large client. Many organizations outsource to BPOs and PSPs since internal projects are typically cumbersome and internal politics can create roadblocks. Preference management databases can be integrated and receive delivery preferences via API, data feed, DB call or even from a print file. These can be connected with your ADF to extract, suppress and transform every piece of communication to then deliver it based on the primary preference. This ensures the end user will always receive their communications how they want and when they want.
  3. Use case: A large client needed the ability to rush print checks that had not yet been printed by their outsourcer. By sending an API call, the checks were extracted from the AFP files and converted to Postscript for printing with the correct tray call for the local device—all within milliseconds! The original file was then flagged in the ADF to make sure that if, for some reason it makes it to the printer and is printed, it will automatically be diverted by the mail inserter and not mailed. This is all managed by a few simple API calls.  

Many times, your clients need new features, options and customization. If you have an off-the-shelf CCDP, then you could be waiting months or years for your software provider to incorporate the features that your clients need.

If you build your own web portal and CCDP, your web team can then simply plan, modify and deliver the ultimate offering using APIs. An exciting example would be leveraging an API to create personalized videos from customer statements.  

Integrating APIs and CCM solutions will allow you to create the ultimate Customer Communication Delivery Platform so you can create the competitive advantage that puts YOU in control of all your deliverables and offerings. 

Crawford Technologies will be available for any questions you may have during the thINK Ahead Virtual conference on November 4, 2021.  Be sure to stop by our booth with your questions!