The messaging sent out by any business can be roughly divided into two types. The first are the marketing messages that are closely tied to brand voice and digital identity. Then there are the operational messages that are automated, might be triggered by an action or request, and generally happen in the background, but are an essential part of that business’s service.
Done well, the latter can complement marketing initiatives and drive engagement from customers. Fail to align them properly, however, and you could end up with a fractured digital experience that damages your brand.
It’s important to understand what these operational messages are and to recognize the many opportunities they present to positively impact the brand experience.
When we talk about operational messages, we’re referring to the messages that a business regularly sends to a customer as part of their service. Think of monthly bills, welcome emails, one-time passwords, and purchase or payment confirmations.
Most of these messages are automated – which means they are generated by a system and sent without human intervention. They are typically dispatched around a particular time-frame, bill cycle or when a customer’s action or inaction triggers a system event, such as a policy renewal notice.
While these operational messages might seem mundane to most people, they’re incredibly important. Sometimes they’re essential and practical, such as a payment confirmation, but they may also be business critical – like the monthly bill, payment reminders and legal or regulatory notices.
The requirement for operational messages is often part of an IT or web-related project, meaning they’re set up to be functional, with an emphasis on automation, performance and reporting. In some cases, this could have the unfortunate consequence of not being treated as part of the brand experience.
But even if operational messages are set up to adhere to brand and deliver a consistent digital experience, it’s exponentially harder to maintain this after a large system goes live. Once the project becomes part of ‘business as usual’, automation can lead to neglect and messages can rapidly fall out of sync if an organization’s branding changes. This, in turn, creates a fractured digital experience where customers receive messages from a company that look very different from each other.
Unfortunately, organizations who fall into this trap are losing out on a massive opportunity.
Operational messages typically have much higher open rates and click rates than those sent out for marketing purposes. If leveraged correctly, they can make a significant contribution to a consistent and positive digital customer experience.
These messages offer prime marketing real estate and have incredibly attractive qualities. They are efficient, regular, targeted, and expected, meaning that customers are much more likely to engage with them.
Failing to leverage that real estate means missing out on an opportunity to meaningfully reach customers and drive engagement.
It’s important, however, for organizations to remember that operational emails have a job to do, and they need to do it by being quick to read, clear and easy to understand. As a key player in a consistent digital customer experience, operational emails might just be the reason a customer sticks with your business or looks elsewhere. Make sure you’re giving them every reason to stay.
Striata provides strategy, software and professional services that enable digital communication across multiple channels and devices. We are experts in message design, generation, security, delivery and storage.
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