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Figure 1: Each of these images is acceptable for inclusion in a print, email, web or mobile message, but the image on the right costs 18X more than the image on the left.
Business users Business users are the heart and soul of your CCM applications. They promote your products, create content and ensure regulatory compliance before they test and deploy omnichannel communications. They know why you say what you are saying and how to say it in your voice. Like designers, they are blissfully unaware of the terms and conditions of a SaaS CCM contract. They don’t think about file size because they are thinking about getting the message to the customer. Did you know that when a business user adds a table, chart or infographic for clarity, you may incur a file size upcharge? Or that when your legal team adds a page of disclaimer text, you might add an additional page charge? When the product expert includes more images, this triggers surprisingly large upcharges with some SaaS contracts. Each of these conditions, when unmanaged, creates opportunities for upcharges. These situations are notoriously hard to discover in advance, making them nearly impossible to manage. Customer-facing employees Your customer-facing employees may send omnichannel communications and quotes, proposals, correspondence and other documents. In the age of omnichannel customer experience,
it is common for communications to include customer-specific images. For example, auto claim correspondence may include a photo of the damaged vehicle, a scan of a damage report and a map to the approved repair facility. These three items can easily add 5mb to a communication. If the billing unit is 50kb, this addition could multiply the cost of the single communication by 100X. This one communication is potentially sent out via multiple channels and with additional attachments, without any warning that it is radically exceeding the estimated communication costs budgeted when the system’s cost modeling was created. How to avoid the upcharges The first thing to do is to refamiliarize yourself with the terms and conditions for any SaaS CCM solution you have or plan to implement. Before your next renewal, understand the charging mechanisms in detail. Next, look at the system to see who has the right to approve significant deviations that create additional charges. Currently, no SaaS CCM user interface that bills on file size has a mechanism that proactively warns designers, business users or customer-facing employees of potential cost implications, which makes it easy for you to incur upcharges — and difficult for you to prevent them.
Work with your vendor or prospective vendor to ensure you have a real-time view into your current usage, remaining allotment and reports that help you break down usage by application, project and department, so you are not surprised with an unexpected five, six or even seven figure invoice that’s net 30. Lastly, look at the market’s full range of business models to find one that best aligns with your usage of the technology. Today, various offerings charge by file size, page (surface area), “virtual page,” individual communication (regardless of size) or combinations of these. All vendors incur CPU costs, but their individual efficiencies drive them toward models that match their technology. Choose the model that’s most aligned with your ROI calculations, so you don’t die a death by a million upcharges. O
SCOTT DRAEGER, CCXP, M-EDP, is Vice President of Customer Transformation at Quadient. He joined the digital document industry in 1997, after graduating from UNLV. He started as a document designer using a collection of hardware and software technologies, before moving to the software side of the industry. His broad experience includes helping clients improve customer communications in over 20 countries. He earned his MBA in 2007 from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.