How Community Management Services Benefit a New Neighborhood

Once a new community is founded, residents must move quickly to put a leadership group in place. These leaders will oversee all aspects of the community and make sure that the residents approve of how the new neighborhood is run. These groups will also be responsible for providing community management services like providing upkeep of shared spaces and keeping residents in the loop. However, it is difficult to assemble a group of homeowners into a homeowners association (HOA) when most of the community’s properties are still unsold. The owners of these communities are also unable to provide community management services because they are too busy trying to sell these new properties.

The best action is therefore to outsource the task of community property management to a professional property management organization. This will ensure that the community is in excellent condition as it is being shown by the owners to potential buyers, and the presence of a community property management group might even make the property an easy sell. Below are a few more ways that a community property management organization will benefit a new neighborhood.

One way that neighborhoods benefit when a community property management group is hired is when these groups are able to help with the foundation of an HOA board. When an HOA board is established, the board members must satisfy several legal requirements and need to complete paperwork so that the association can be officially recognized. Additionally, the organization needs to acquire a tax ID number and bank accounts for operating and reserve funds. A company that provides community management services will be able to tackle these and other issues that are associated with the HOA’s formation so that the HOA board can begin providing essential services as quickly as possible.

Once the HOA board is established, the community property management organization will be able to help the board run smoothly. This company will help the board create subcommittees to focus on specific issues, and provide training for members of each subcommittee. If necessary, the company can even appoint an on-site representative to lead board meetings so that each issue is addressed quickly and effectively.

Another major benefit that community property management organizations provide is the management of shared areas within the neighborhood. An established HOA board might have enough experience to evaluate and identify the best vendors to provide services like trash removal, landscaping, and chemical testing for swimming pools. The board might even have a list of trusted vendors that it consults when it needs to provide community management services. However, a new HOA board made up of the few individuals who have already moved in to the community is unlikely to have this experience. Meanwhile, the property owners usually do not work on providing these services, so they are just as unlikely to have the necessary experience. A community property management company will have the experience and time needed to take over this responsibility and find quality vendors.

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Explaining Customer Communications Management Technology For Marketing Communications Professionals

Customer Communications Management is a term highlighted by research companies such as Gartner Group, Forrester Research and Madison Advisors to define a convergent set of Information Technology solutions that together provide marketing communication professionals the ability to advance the way that they communicate with their customers.

Advocates of Customer Communications Management and its definition include Gartner Group, Forrester Research and Madison Advisors as well as a host of vendor organisations such as Pitney Bowes Group 1 Software, HP Exstream Software, Thunderhead, Xenos and EMC Document Sciences.

Initial Customer Communications Management concepts were focused upon the utilisation of company transactional documents. These documents such as bank statements, statement of account, invoices and other customer transactional documents were viewed as an ideal location in which to promote company products to customers.

The rationale behind this was cited in analyst research by Info Trends that, “transactional documents are opened and read by more than 90% of consumers. Because the average consumer is bombarded with advertising, e-mail, direct mail and other forms of solicitation each day, TransPromo can help you cut through the clutter and stand out.”

Not only are transactional documents more likely to be opened and observed than other types of document, they are also more likely to be studied for longer than say a direct mail piece. Thus, a company has an opportunity to communicate and promote its message to the customer.

The technology that supports customer communications management also allows sophistication in the content of the messages. Customer communications management technology may consist of the following components (of which you’ll find plenty of information on this site):

1. Data Extraction, Transform & Load software.
2. Data Management, Analysis and location intelligence software.
3. Data Hygiene database software.
4. Document composition software.
5. Electronic document archive software and perhaps payment processing functionality.
6. Print Stream Engineering / Post Processing Software.
7. Mailing compliance database software.
8. Printer Management Software.
9. High and medium volume production printers.
10. Envelope inserter machines such as those manufactured by Kern, Bowe or Pitney Bowes.
11. Email Marketing Software.
12. SMS Communication Software.
13. Mobile Media based content distribution software.
14. Entering the frame more recently social media distribution software.
15. Document Production Reporting Software

There are a number of key factors concerning the way in which the software assists the marketing communications professional.

The data extraction software presents marketers and business with an opportunity to combine data from multiple systems to enable a customer analysis. Through this customer analysis process it is possible for marketers to evaluate the marketing mix and position individual products to the customer in respect of relevance to the customer or the results of purchase propensity model.

The end result of this process will be the creation of a data model, data acquisition and decision rules that enable a document composition engine to follow its own set of document application rules to construct individual documents on the basis of data items contained within an individuals data record.

Thus the concept of one-to-one marketing is born.

It is theoretically possible at least that for a run of 100,000 statements, no statement will contain the same set of offers. Thus, clothing for women would not be marketed to men whilst ‘male gadgets’ would not be marketed to women.

But Customer Communications Management is not just about making offers to customers. It also provides companies with the opportunity to improve the clarity of their communications. Rather than producing line driven data in which it is difficult for a customer to extrapolate trends and a deepening of understanding in respect of his or her relationship with the supplying company, Customer Communications Management provides the opportunity for a company to deliver visual analysis through clear graphics and highlighted content.

The Document Composition engine is responsible for interpreting data and following a set of rules to create a set of documents that can either be printed or distributed electronically. The Document Composition engine usually produces either a print stream or, XML data.

Print streams are languages that printers use to instruct the print process. They are known as PDL’s or Page Description Language. Common print stream types include AFP, Xerox Metacode, VIPP, PCL and Postscript. There are numerous others but, in production printing environments these are probably the most common.

Sometimes the Document Composition Engine will output XML. The advantage of XML is that it may be repurposed either to print or to various electronic formats. Thus, XML provides a standard of interoperability between various computer software systems.

As documents move from the virtual data environment into becoming something physical, the may first need post processing. Post processing can be utilised to prepare a print job for production and distribution. This may include tasks such as the application of barcodes to deliver individual mail piece instructions to the inserters and to vary these in terms of the actual inserter being used. For example, one manufacturer’s inserter may require different barcode instructions to complete the same task than another.

Post processing does not only cover production preparation. One of the key cost considerations in Customer Communications Management is the cost of mailing. Various postal operators throughout the world offer discount schemes if a volume mail producer pre-sorts mail before despatch. As this process saves the postal operator considerable effort and cost, a discount is passed to the mail producer. Where mailing volumes are high, this discount figure can be significant to the mail producer where for example the Royal Mail in the UK will offer 18% discount to customers who pre-sort their mail into 120 ‘pots’.

Post processing may not suit all mail sortation needs however and for organisations who produce many smaller jobs, a Mail Sortation machine, situated as the very last element of the production process may be more suitable. Many smaller jobs can be aggregated through the day and then bundled together for a physical mail sortation process.

Sometimes, Post Processing may be an integral part of the document composition process and this may be more efficient from a production point of view because rather than creating a two step document creation and processing process, it can be delivered in a single step and as part of the major document application. This may save production time.

Print Management software controls the routing and distribution of print jobs to either a single production printer or a fleet of production printers. Print management software does not just provide routing as a benefit though, it also provides a mechanism for assured delivery (ensuring that all pages get printed) through communication and feedback from print devices and also provides management information that is useful for Document Production Managers.

Production printers in themselves have been a key driver in the development of Customer Communications Management as a concept. The advent of high speed, 90 page per minute and faster economic colour production printers in recent years has driven the usefulness and power of Customer Communications Management meaning that a company can produce ‘print shop’ quality documents ‘on the fly’ utilising data that may be infinitely variable as in one-to-one customer communications documents.

The final step of the process and the final major utiliser of data derived upstream in the inserting / mail finishing process. This is where paper documents are combined with envelopes and sealed. The inserter uses camera technology to read a barcode that provides a Piece ID, often combined with a data file produced by either the document composition application or the post processing engine.

By obtaining the Piece ID and performing a data file look-up, the inserter is able to determine factors such as the number of pages for a particular mail piece, whether any additional physical inserts are required (such as leaflets)and whether or not a piece should be out sorted for special human handling.

Thus the inserter is able to determine what should go in each envelope. Through further downstream cameras and sensors, it is also able to determine the integrity of a particular piece.

But this is not where Customer communications management ends. The provision of a document archive means that after a document has been created by the document composition engine, it can be made available to a company call centre or website. Call centre users benefit from being able to engage a customer by seeing the document that the customer has in his hand. This saves money in call centres speeding up call centre client query resolution times and meaning that call centres can handle more customers with fewer staff.

The delivery of documents via electronic channels is also seen as favourable, giving consumers a choice of document receipt method that suits their lifestyles. Combined with electronic payment, this may accelerate cash collection and thus improve a company’s cash flow position.

Relevance of communication is seen as key in overcrowded, competitive markets where service differentiation can be difficult. Documents that add value to the customer relationship add to differentiation and for many service oriented businesses and be a major factor in improving customer retention and acquisition.

Chief Marketing Officers are adopting Customer Communications Management because it heralds a world of new opportunity and a new way in which to develop customer relationships.

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Communication Management At The Serving Levels

Communication management is the planning and setting in place of all the daily communication activities that go on in a business – large or small and in all departments. Most people at senior, middle or bottom management know this instinctively, in its most basic form.

However, the creation, implementation, monitoring, revision and adaptation of new channels of communication within an organization are, collectively, what determines success or failure within. Lack of communication management principles can ruin employee morale and, consequently, productivity and profit.

Communication management planning is like project management planning — it is a necessary part of it. It is the lifeblood of business operation at all levels. It is a continuing project of its own taking place below the surface.

Senior executives implement policies, make final decisions, approve major changes, guide operations, synergize the teams, empower others to carry out the policies, yet many don’t take the time to develop communication management working plans. Why not? And how can they do it? By reading, taking courses, listening and by committing to do something about it.

Most problems within an organization are caused by a lack of communication, or bad communication. As I always say, communication is a wide and broad topic. No one can write an article about any of it’s sub-topics in completion. All writings on the subject work together endlessly.

That goes for this topic of communication management too. Where does one begin? Where does one end? For one thing, it begins at the “serving” level of each worker. In an organization, everyone needs to serve the other. But that requires learning. We don’t normally enter a new job with communication management in mind.

It has to be part of the company orientation from day one. It has to be part of the culture, the value, the mission and vision. It has to begin at the top. Have you noticed how many top management executives buy training materials “for the staff” and request “the staff” to attend — but they themselves don’t?

Staff members sit in these sessions, itching that Mr. or Mrs. Executive “could hear this”. Why? Because top management executives have to participate in these practices, along with the rest of the organization. They have to be seen participating. You cannot have one part of the company use communication management and not the other. Top Management is the example, the leader of all implementation and continuation of communication management activities.

The lack of communication management leadership is born out of the old organizational charts, which does not foster the “serving” principle that lifts up each level from top-down in mentorship.

In other words the President serves the executives below him/her; the executives serve the managers below them; the managers serve the assistant/technical people below them and the assistant/technical people serve the support/secretarial personnel. Each level is trained and/or knowledgeable about the job below as much as their own.

Each level becomes a mentor to the one below by delegating and empowering him or her with clear direction and proper information. Empowerment is the ultimate demonstration of trust that management and supervisors can give to their team members.

When jobs and responsibilities are delegated, appropriate empowering is given along with it. I remember a job I took on contract once where the manager I reported to would give me information but not all of it. Her behaviour was not inviting to openness or discussion; her facial expressions turned to annoying or puzzling frowns whenever one asked a question, as if the staff “should know” what had been kept from them.

This hardly points to empowerment. Communication management begins at the level above and ends at the level below. It begins in creation and implementation at the top and ends in completion and fulfilment at the bottom, in a continuous cascade at each level throughout the whole of the organization.

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