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Are You Taking Advantage of Customer Communication in Advantage?

As the arena of customer communication becomes more and more personalized, you need the flexibility to create and send relevant communications as quickly and automatically as possible.  Advantage offers you this capability.

Many of you have been using the customer letter functionality for years (note: for purposes of this article, the word "letter" refers to either email or a hard-copy snail-mail letter).  This is where you create a set of letter templates and via a Customer Note, Action Code, and MS-Word, Advantage sends the appropriate customized personal letter to a customer when  certain conditions are true , filling in such information as customer name and address, order number, subscription details, product order details, and order data.  This format is simple to set up and easy to use, but is fairly limited in scope.

Recent functionality, called "conditional letters," provides you with much more flexibility and greatly expanded uses.  These letters are not output to a file, rather, they bypass MS-Word or another application and are generated from RTF format and are then sent via HTML email or printer, and a PDF copy of the communication is created and saved.    You determine the conditions that drive the communication.  For example, a condition might be the placement of an order, which then triggers a customer and personalized order acknowledgement letter, and this acknowledgement may vary depending on the customer type and order lines, for example.  Conditional letters can be set up to manage this automatically.

Other possible uses for conditional letter communication are to send order quotations, promotions based upon order history, billing notices and statements, subscription renewal notices, WEB order confirmations, product order status notifications, notifications of credit card payment status, direct-debit payment notifications, and customer service inquiries.  You decide when, why and how you want to communicate with your customers and then ACS can help you set up Advantage to do just that. 

Conditional letters are tied directly  to  the Customer Notes feature in Advantage and when a letter is sent to a customer, a PDF of the letter is automatically created and added to the Customer Notes where it is always available for future customer service reference (in the SVCDAT/CTM Documents file for that customer).  Emails can be sent directly from Advantage or formatted and sent to go through an external email server.

Client response to this feature has been enthusiastic!  The first webinar on the topic was so popular that it was repeated to an even larger audience.  After working with nearly two dozen clients on this feature, Mike McCarren has become the ACS analyst expert on conditional letters.  He notes that it is highly customizable. "So far, we have been able to do everything a client has requested of this feature," says Mike.  "It's that flexible."

The majority of clients are using conditional letters functionality with simple conditional logic, although some have implemented very complex conditional logic.  For example, more complex letterlogic may be used if your customers have frequent contact with your company.  Thus, you might vary the second paragraph of the letter depending upon the number of contacts, or you might send letter X rather than letter Y, based on whether the customer is ordering for the first time or is a repeat customer, or if the customer ordered a publication, a product, or entered into an AMB agreement.

For more information, contact your ACS account manager.

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