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How to succeed with your customer experience initiatives

26th May 2016
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Customer experience is the new currency of business competition, and proof of this is easy. The companies favoured today by your friends, family, and colleagues—and no doubt, yourself—confirm a new truth: great customer experiences will win the eye of the consumer.

  • Uber is disrupting the taxi industry by creating a seamless transaction to get from one place to another. It gives passengers the information they need: how far away the driver is, who the driver is, where you are, real-time journey updates, whilst eliminating the hassle of on-site payment
  • Amazon continues to shake up the retail marketplace because it works hard to learn more about you as a consumer, such as browsing and purchasing history, to understand what you like and need. It not only makes it easy for you to buy them, but also to receive them
  • Netflix keeps evolving and innovating by improving its personalisation strategies with recommendations, beating the competition and making it effortless for customers to find the entertainment they want

There are similar examples of digital disruption across every industry, and they all have one thing in common: creating an exceptional customer experience. The resulting customer experiences, must start with knowledge and access to customer data.

Failing to focus on data

The disruptive influence of companies like Amazon, Uber and Netflix affects customer expectations as well as the customer experience. Today’s consumers expect business interactions to be seamless and channel agnostic. Therefore, companies need to invest in a 360-degree view of the customer.

Through recognising this new reality, many companies have tried to do exactly that. Unfortunately, with high failure rates. They’ve failed because the problem is complex, their data is fragmented, and the technologies keep evolving. But mostly, they have failed because they focus on their specific end goals rather than doing something about the overall quality of their data.

End goals give results so it’s easy to understand why businesses focus on them. By contrast, managing data can seem boring or technical. However, failing to create a single, authoritative view of customer data is a fatal flaw because without it, you will never source the causes of negative customer experiences.

Not the rewards you were looking for

Bad customer experience is much more frequently that we’d like to hope. The problem is that retailers are trying to pull data from a number of different sources. Data fragmentation is a problem that is widespread and common. Strategic data management, eliminates the root causes of bad experiences, which can therefore deliver value to the business.

Because data is at the heart of every business, data management can seem daunting. The trick is to stop focusing on complexity. Here are the seven things that you need to do with your data to get the most value out of it:

  1. Connect it – Locate the applications across your business that have critical customer data
  2. Clean it – Standardise and validate your data by correcting inaccuracies, resolving conflicts, confirming email addresses and post codes, and filling in incomplete fields
  3. Master it – Identify duplicates and consolidate them to create a single customer profile
  4. Enrich it – Add third-party data, including education, occupation, interests, social, and market data. For B2B profiles, add corporate information, such as industry codes and executives
  5. Relate it – Link the customer profile to everything else it relates to, such as products and services purchased, channels used, employees worked with, etc. For B2B, relate each division to the corporate entity
  6. Share it – Deliver the trusted and relevant information back to the people, processes, and applications that need it. Now, everyone is working with the same data
  7. Govern it – Proactively guide the way your data is managed and used so it remains compliant, reduces costs, mitigates risks, and grows your business

While this can’t be done in one day, a clear vision of what needs to be done means you’ll avoid the mishaps of every company that’s tried and failed. Customer experience needs to be taken seriously and centralising your customers data to create one database with everything in one place, is one way that you can create a personalised, and bespoke experience.

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