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Guided Interactive in Customer Communications

Carsten Luedtge // September 9, 2022

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Form-based Creation of Individual Documents by Means of Interactive Dialogue

Many processes in the customer communication management (CCM) of companies today run automatically. Just think of the creation of invoices, consumption statements, account statements, etc. - all highly standardized processes in which the CCM system ingests the data from "upstream" applications (e.g., ERP, CRM, specialist applications), creates finished documents and sends them to the appropriate channel. Take for instance, the conclusion of a mobile communication or insurance contract via the provider's web portal, for example, now largely takes place as automated " Lights-out " - in this case triggered by a specific business process (transaction) on the part of the customer.

But what about documents that still have to be individually adapted by the clerk? If, for example, the tax office employee still needs certain documents or information to process the tax return, he or she uses a form prefabricated by the tax authority, but still has to add to it individually - depending on what documents or additional information is involved. When preparing the tax assessment - which is basically also a standardized process - the tax official also has to add something manually to the form from time to time; for example, when it comes to the justification for the recognition or rejection of claimed income-related expenses. Here, they would enter an individual text into the form for the tax assessment.

The proportion of interactive communication is not only high in public administration. Insurance companies, banks and telecommunications providers, to name just a few industries, but also has to deal with a volume of individual document creation based on forms (templates) that should not be underestimated - for example, when it comes to contract changes (tariff change, adjustment of the sum insured, change of term, etc.).

"Safeguarding through Rules" in the Customization of Forms

There are now software solutions that support this type of form-based, individual document generation. The basic principle of these so-called Guided Interactive solutions is to guide the clerk safely through the document generation process by means of a kind of "interactive dialog", thereby significantly reducing the risk of errors (incorrect entries, false plausibility, rule violations regarding wording). Depending on the input and the content, document modules can be added or deselected and further dialog inputs can be used to individualize existing content. This approach is safer (safeguarding by rules), faster and easier for the clerk, as no technical knowledge is required.

Guided Interactive ultimately means that the clerk is not given the "freedom" to change the entire (prefabricated) form, but only certain areas in the template that are precisely defined beforehand and stored in the system (restriction of usage rights according to area of responsibility). He or she then makes changes and additions in these areas, whereby the system offers various options (including fields for free text, radio buttons, checkboxes, drop-down lists, sentence blocks).

The system can be configured very individually and task-specifically. For example, it is possible to define when which functions and selection options are available to which clerk for which business transaction. This applies not only to corporate styling, but also to aspects of plausibility. This ensures that the adjustments made do not violate the Corporate Identity and other compliance rules and are consistent in themselves, i.e., that a customer is only offered the option of switching to a new rate plan if they already has a mobile communications contract. That you only sell them a router that is suitable for their local Internet access (technically feasible transmission speed). This possibility of storing business logic is a major benefit of Guided Interactive.

Various parameters for this can be defined individually, for example:

  • How much text may be added to a form (template)?
  • Which selection options (e.g. checkboxes) does the clerk get for which business transaction?
  • Are text modules available?
  • Which fonts and font sizes may be used (Corporate Identity)?
  • Which fields in the document must not be changed and which must be filled in?
  • What data may be added manually?
  • Module B can only be added to the document if module A has been deselected beforehand.
  • Which inputs must the "interactive dialog" additionally display if certain options have been selected in the form (e.g. a number above X automatically activates the "Release by supervisor" menu)?

Additional workflows for particularly sensitive or business-critical documents can also be "triggered" in the system - for example, release mechanisms for the approval of loans or for the settlement of insurance claims. The different budget sovereignty of clerks up to what amount may the clerk decide for himself? At what point does he or she have to submit the transaction or document to his or her superior for a final decision?

In short, the person responsible "assembles" the document with the support of the system while adhering to the defined guidelines for quality assurance (compliance) and - if necessary - can have it approved by other instances (e.g. dual control principle, authorization by supervisor). The big advantage of this is that the user does not need any technical knowledge, and the system can be operated intuitively.

What should be Done with the Document afterwards?

Guided Interactive software such as DocBridge® Impress offers further possibilities: For example, downstream document and output management processes can be triggered directly from the application - individually depending on the business process or customer. So what should happen to the document after it has been completed and approved? Should it be printed and sent as a classic letter? Or electronically, for example as an e-mail attachment (PDF)? Should it also be archived?

Imagine the following workflow: If a document cannot be sent as an e-mail (for example, because the customer has not given his consent) or comes back with an "undeliverable" note (because the e-mail address has changed or is stored incorrectly in the system), the recipient automatically receives an SMS or WhatsApp message that an important document is ready. Or, after a certain period of time, the document is automatically delivered as a classic letter.

The range of processes that can be configured in this way is extensive. Processes such as the commissioning of a technician (for example, for the installation of an Internet router at the customer's home) can also be triggered by the clerk. When the document is completed and sent, a message automatically goes to the responsible service technician.

For each workflow that you want to map with Guided Interactive, you configure a specific dialog in the system. The principle is the same: The master data from the upstream application is merged with the stored form (template), the clerk adds customer-specific information, and only then is the document created and further processing automatically triggered.

Guided Interactive therefore means customizing prefabricated forms (templates), releasing them if necessary, and using them to generate a document that relates to the individual business process, complies with the rules, and can be automatically processed further (including printing, e-mailing, SMS, archiving). In view of the advantages - ease of use for the clerk, high process reliability, and great integration capability in existing customer communication structures or leading business applications like Salesforce - the demand for Guided Interactive solutions is growing.

Conclusion

The challenge is to cover these typical requirements of modern customer communication in terms of processes and IT - if possible in an integrative, scalable and high-performance system that is cloud-enabled and based on open, standardized interfaces (API) so that third-party applications can also be integrated quickly and flexibly. One might think, for example, of the connection of weather apps in the claims settlement of insurers in order to be able to check whether a storm really occurred in region Y on reference date X (e.g., for the claim of hail damage). Also interesting in this context is the possibility of integration into an existing user interface (UI) by means of l-frame - whereby GID can be displayed in SFDC, for example.

With the component-based architecture of the DocBridge® Suite, Compart offers a suitable technological basis for this that has been proven in practice.


Compart is an internationally active manufacturer of software for omnichannel customer communication. The company, with headquarters in Böblingen, has been present in the market for more than two decades and has branches in Europe and North America. The scalable, platform-independent and easy-to-integrate solutions cover the entire cycle of document and …

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Carsten Luedtge

Carsten Lüdtge, a qualified journalist (University Degree: Diploma) and specialist editor, is responsible for press and public relations at Compart, an international manufacturer of software for customer communication, and is in charge of the Compart Group’s entire content management. He has PR expertise of more than 20 years with a focus on IT.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Carsten Luedtge

Carsten Lüdtge, a qualified journalist (University Degree: Diploma) and specialist editor, is responsible for press and public relations at Compart, …