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Four ways to ensure you capitalise on your customer data

28th May 2012
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Igor Sarenac provides an overview of the four steps organisations should follow to profit from customer data.

Companies of all sizes, whether large multi-national corporations or SMEs will amass vast amounts of customer data over time. Amazingly, most of this information will remain locked in databases, deep within the recesses of corporate IT departments. Identifying clear use cases for this priceless data is crucial in building and sustaining long-term profitable relationships with valued customers. 
Smart companies know how to free this data up and put it to constructive use. This is achieved by following four important steps – integrating the data, segmenting customers effectively, creating a consolidated view of the customer and achieving consistency across multiple channel engagements.
Here is a quick overview of the four steps organisations should follow to profit from customer data:

1. Integrate customer data

Organisations will collect a lot of data from a range of diverse sources. This could include sales data, customer care or billing information. The most frequently collected information includes customer feedback, operational data (call resolution times, self-care usage), and customer profile data (payment histories, product history and profitability). While this information is gathered, it typically remains in separate silos, unanalysed. Perhaps worse still, it remains in these separate silos and interrogated within these silos, i.e. wider trends often go unnoticed.  
It is precisely the breaking down of these silos that can provide a more holistic and detailed view of a particular customer. Data that is effectively integrated can provide the bigger picture: what products or services a customer has purchased, how much he or she spent, whether they came back to purchase more, and if they have good service experiences and tell others who may, in turn, become customers. 

2. Segment customers effectively

Once customer data has been effectively integrated, an organisation will have a much better feel for identifying and grouping its most loyal and profitable customers.  
Segmentation lets a company build a profit profile for each of its highly valued customers and channel highly personalised and targeted offers to them. The more granular the segmentation, the more personalised the offers and special promotions — and the higher the sales closing ratio.
At the same time, segmentation helps you develop appropriate treatments for other customer groups, according to their overall value contribution.

3. Create a consolidated view of the customer

Having a consolidated view of each customer can have a powerful effect on the quality of service agents can deliver from call centre operations. When customers have a query that needs resolving, agents need as much background on that customer as possible to drive speedy resolution. 
New cost effective technologies exist that can deliver a precise 'snapshot' of the customer to the customer service agent. These systems optimise segmentation by consolidating key customer data in a single screen shot, pulling key information from multiple database sources in real-time.
Providing such a consolidated view can enable the agent to see the number of recent interactions a customer has had with the company, the channel most often selected, the rate and types of product adoption, the status of a new order, billing history, offer history, past experience with customer service, and use of social media — and whether or not the customer has acted favorably to the company in the past. 
This provides prime background to fuel a personalised and well-informed response to customer queries. 

4. Be consistent across all channels

It is increasingly common for customers to switch between multiple communications channels — or use more than one channel at once — during a service interaction. Customers expect the experience to be seamless and consistent from one channel to the next so organisations must be geared up to accommodate this new breed of impulsiveness. New systems exist that can centralise the process of managing data and ensure that messages to customers are accurate and identical across each channel.
Persistence preserves profitability
Creating a clear and consistent view of the customer is a good investment. The task of managing and leveraging customer data is not a one-time job, however, but an ongoing process.  
Companies must constantly reevaluate each customer’s behaviour and attitude and align changes appropriately to the right products, offers, and promotions. This ongoing analysis has a profound influence on longer-term customer loyalty.    
By taking full advantage of all the information at your company’s disposal, it is possible to develop a close and detailed understanding of your most valued customers. Using customer data to drive a more personalised service experience is a proven way to instill long-term loyalty, increase revenue and safeguard profitability.
Igor Sarenac is a vice president in Convergys’ customer management business, which provides agent-assisted, self-service, and proactive care solutions that support client customers worldwide.

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By arynjosh
24th Sep 2012 15:56

Because it all boils down to customers, we need to have the right tool to analyze whatever data we can get from the customers. - Instant Tax Solutions

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