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Moving with the times – how PSPs can adapt their skills for the digital age

In the first part of her two-part series on the world of print, Quadient’s Nicola Narey shares her views on why print service providers need to evolve their businesses

To remain relevant and retain business, print service providers (PSPs) must evolve and become experts in how customer communications management (CCM) works in the digital space.

While a proportion will have a comfortable niche in specialist printing, adapting to new channels will be critical for the majority to support the digital ambitions of their clients and prospects.

However, transformation can be complex. Simply presenting print images via the web will no longer satisfy a client audience that is working to engage its customers in reciprocal conversations across a plenitude of digital channels. 

In addition to the challenges associated with determining the scope, scale and complexity of their digital solutions, PSPs will also have to consider how they will compete against digital specialists that have entered the market.  

Your most valuable asset

Mailing houses and PSPs use technology as a key differentiator and compete for business based on their skills in creating and delivering complex CCM solutions. For this reason, the PSP community includes a wealth of CCM expertise and experience.

The evolution of the CCM market has required mailing houses to build compelling propositions that support the growth strategies and business objectives of their clients, while maintaining “business as usual” and mitigating the risks associated with data security and the management of personal information.

It is the ability to deliver regulatory compliant, data-driven CCM solutions as a dependable service that has resulted in mailing houses becoming trusted advisers to their clients. To maintain their positions as strategic delivery partners, it will be imperative that they develop their skills to include digital solutions expertise.

Know your limitations

Without doubt, mailing houses and PSPs have the skills to create content that can be deployed over digital channels. However, the digital landscape is wide-ranging and continues to develop at speed, as we’ve seen in the past decade with mobile applications, social media and messaging platforms.

While print, and even email, is assumed to be a one-directional channel, modern consumers expect communication to be bi-directional and omni-channel. They expect to have a single, unbroken conversation that switches seamlessly between channels and takes into account all previous interactions with a business.

The real challenge for PSPs, and where they need to target either training or recruitment efforts, is being able to adapt to this new, bi-directional way of communicating – spotting messages from customers and either responding to them directly or facilitating a response from their client to the end customer. They have mastered the art of adding new channels gradually to their offering, ensuring that they have the right skills and technology to operate each one flawlessly.

However, to meet client ambitions and the expectations of their customer base, mailing houses and PSPs must develop or acquire expertise in the design and delivery of two-way, interactive digital communications..

The only way is forward

Mailing houses and PSPs have achieved trusted adviser status with an impressive number of high-profile businesses, achieving the digital transformation and customer experience objectives of those businesses requires new skills and expertise.

New competition has entered the market with promises of first mover advantages and new-world expertise. Mailing houses and PSPs will need to act quickly and intelligently to maintain their positions at the forefront of CCM solutions delivery.

They can remain dominant in this space if they commit to the development of their skills in data management and content creation. The ability to deliver secure, data-driven, omni-channel, communications that enable bi-directional interaction between their clients and the end customer will be crucial to their continued success.

Read part two here.

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