Data, data everywhere…..
Your average connected user today shares a mass of personal data as they engage with organisations through an increasing number of channels and applications. This means that behind every Tweet, every Facebook request, and every other interaction, there is a potential customer who expects a personalised, unified experience, regardless of which department within a business they engage. Add into the mix that they expect this whether you’re a sole trader or a global retailer and you’ll start to appreciate the challenge modern business’ face.
Many businesses know this data is out there, but to become a customer company, they need to enable all customer-facing teams, from marketing onto sales then to customer service, to capture this data in a joined up way, analyse it, and respond to it. This combined effort builds an actionable 360-degree view of the customer, and enables companies to deliver an engaging and personalised customer experience whilst managing the custodianship and governance of the data.
What data? How much?
So, if its that easy, what’s the issue? The real challenge or should I say question, is how much of this data truly helps us to assemble a 360-degree view of a customer. What is clear is that too little information leaves you in a position where you still don’t know enough about your customer to provide an engaging experience. This has to be the lower delineation and a level that sets a hurdle for the minimum a business must know and collect about their customers.
In terms of the maximum… well that depends on the business’ unanswered questions and the gaps in their perspective on what makes their customers tick.
So… how do we work out how much data we need? My suggestion is to start by trying to answer the following questions:
- Do understand your customer churn – a strategic issue that’s front of mind and do you really engage customers who are at risk of going elsewhere?
- Do you face pressure to identify, up-sell and cross-sell opportunities with your current customers?
- Do you have a number of disconnected and different customer information systems within your business?
- Are you able to reconcile data across multiple CRM systems?
- Are you thinking about providing actionable analytics inside your staff’s existing role-based systems – such as systems for sales, services, and support groups?
So… what are the steps or the cornerstones of a plan to harness Big Data to help obtain the 360-degree view?
Plan to create a single customer view and a 360-degree view of customer relationships within the context of sales force automation or other business applications and to link customer data across your business enterprise, even if business units need to maintain their own customer definitions.
Of course, having the data warrants an approach to ensuring your custodianship is valid and appropriate to ensure protection and legal usage of the data is at the heart of your plan. Good practice involves transparency/sharing your approach to such activities with your customers.
So… if different departments originate their own customer data and the organisation at large is trying to achieve a 360-degree view, logical integration will be key to facilitate access and integrate customer data wherever it resides (possibly, without physically moving it!)
Plan to establish levels of data quality through techniques to automatically identify and resolve incorrect, incomplete, and inconsistent customer data.
Partnering and sharing
Think about the gaps! If you have a gap in your single view of a customer, think about where that gap is best bridged. A B2B data exchange may help to create a complete customer view using industry standards and any type of customer data – social, structured, semi structured, or unstructured. But remember, such sharing may increase the complexity of your approach to governance.
Transaction processing and event monitoring
Plan to process data and not just to store it. Complex event processing to identify and respond to new marketing and sales opportunities in real time is a goal which moves you closer to an effective 360-degree view that supports a rich view of your customer.
Not just a buzz word, think about cloud data integration to empower your business users to manage customer and prospect data in cloud applications, such as CRM systems and sales and marketing tools.
Whilst customer and sales focused, the principles behind 360-degree customer views are the very same foundation principles required for wider Big Data initiatives. Planning is key, as is finding the right people to help.
Exolta’s experienced Partners work closely and regularly with other firms including recruitment and delivery experts. For more details of how we can help, contact us here.Download this article as a PDF