Who owns the customer experience?

This is a question that many large businesses struggle with. The customer experience is often managed by several teams with no cross-visibility as to the detail of specific interactions, so there is no central authority or database to identify and implement customer communication improvements. Data scientists abhor this vacuum, and want to use data aggregation to fill it.

Communication data aggregation aims to put all that dispersed data into one place, so businesses can leverage the most important information they have about their customers: customer communications data. When done effectively, data aggregation gives the customer a more consistent experience, improves retention, and gives businesses a central oracle to consult on how to make further improvements.

Owning the customer experience requires sales and marketing teams to work more closely together, use the same CRM, and update their picture of success. Rather than just generating leads and measuring conversions, study how multiple touch points and impressions can nurture brand advocates.

Despite the value of data aggregation, it’s still common for companies to use Outlook for their emails, a mail house for their posts, some web integration for their instant messaging social media presence, and an SMS API, with none of the data being stored for analysis. In fact, according to research by Econsultancy and Ensighten, only 10 percent of marketers have successfully aggregated data from social, web analytics, customer purchase history and in-store visits and sales. This is a hugely valuable resource being squandered every day.

One business, one database

Centralising customer data sounds great, but how do businesses overcome the challenge of cleaning and aggregating data from different parts of the business, often in different formats and coded into different systems?

The simple solution is to invest in a business-wide system that enables aggregation from the start, but if that ship has sailed, the first step is to get all your data in one place. But, as any data scientist will tell you, data aggregation and cleansing takes up a huge amount of time, and depending on the sources, can still leave you with incomplete or inaccurate results.

Third-party solutions allow you to manage all your customer communication channels under one roof, so you can start creating a data feedback loop from one database. If switching from your current siloed systems, you can also take advantage of tools to help you clean and aggregate your historical data into a single coded format.

One of the main pain points in communication CRMs is scaling them without losing the ability to create personalised communications. Solutions like Pendula mean this doesn’t have to be the case.

Understand your data, understand your customers

By housing data in one place, you can more effectively create personal, tailored communications for customers. You can see purchase history, location, their preferred communication channel, so not only can businesses now reach them in their preferred way with relevant information, the customer experience improves too. No more emails trying to sell you a product you already own.

Though investing in this can be expensive, research shows that it pays off. According to McKinsey, a retailer using big data to its full potential can increase its operating margin by more than 60%. Third party solutions are also offering omni-channel solutions that enable communicating on the customers’ terms, not forcing them to communicate on yours, and housing all that data in one database. Investing in multi-channel solutions only exacerbates the problem by continuing to silo information. Data only becomes useful and financially worthwhile if it can be placed in its proper business-wide context.

In the digital economy, power has shifted from the seller to the buyer, because it’s so easy to read reviews, compare services, and switch providers. Nurturing brand advocates is a barrier against this, because churn is reduced from happy customers, and their credibility in recommending the solution means a more effective source of lead generation.

Research shows that 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant (Digital Trends), so now is the time to get your customer communication data in one place, and start getting to know your customers better.

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