Tag Archives: customer centricity
If you take a company that is already delivering a great customer experience and add time to the equation, what do you get?
For the answer, take a look at this observation from Shoebuy’s SVP of Customer Experience and Retention, Kavita Baball (published in this new article):
“Customer expectations change over time, so even though you may deliver a good experience now, you have to always consider the customer and their changing needs and expectations.”
In all areas of their business, Shoebuy’s MVP is their customers. One more interesting thing about Shoebuy: They offer over 1 million products on their website.
A study reported in Multichannel Merchant magazine analyzed numerous products sold online by retailers. It found that when a new product is added to an ecommerce website, it directly contributes to growth in gross merchandise value. Today, more products (and more unique selections for the customer to choose from) create more revenue overall.
The rules of inventory, selection, price, and placement are bent and broken by changing customer preferences and innovations from the rise of online retailing. It wasn’t so long ago that retailers started creating niche options in their stores and online to appeal to changing consumer preferences. In retail, the unique, personalized, special option is highly valued by consumers today.
Limitless options are available online, so a consumer can find nearly anything he or she wants from a variety of sources. What can retailers do when customers want something unique, just for them, and can get it anywhere?
The only answer is adding value by providing a great customer experience. An amazing thing to note here: Gartner predicts that by 2016, companies in all industries will be competing on customer experience alone.
Until then, retailers should assess how they lose customers over time because of a poor experience. As Shoebuy knows, customer preferences continue to change. What works now may not always be a solid strategy. Fewer than 50% of companies in a Gartner survey said their customer service was exceptional today. If you aren’t putting customers at the center of everything, throughout your business, Gartner’s prediction shows that you are essentially turning away customers. Here are four ways this can happen:
1. Not being able to contact customers. If your contact data is invalid, including email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses, it can be really tough to call yourself customer-centric. Bounced emails, returned packages, and wrong numbers hurt the customer experience. When e-receipts aren’t received, or a customer service call isn’t successfully made, or an order is sent to the wrong address, customers are unlikely to be loyal and come back for what they believe will be the same experience.
2. Not providing a single experience across channels. When customers contact you for service or support in your call center, the representative should be able to pull up a full contact record, including past buying histories and other contextual information that helps make the interaction a success. The same applies to your ecommerce site, in-store at point-of-sale, and any other channel. According to Forrester Research, 42% of customer service representatives said they were not able to resolve customer issues effectively due to disconnected systems across multiple applications with outdated interfaces.
3. Offer no additional value. Part of a great customer experience is adding stand-out services, conveniences, and speed to every interaction. Customization options, online support and knowledge centers, and membership for exclusive perks are just a few ways to help your customers while building your authority in the market. Loyalty memberships are a great way in particular for marketers to use, as they provide great perks to customers while giving retailers insight into who their customers are. Add-ons may be perceived as expensive to provide, but 86% of buyers said that they would pay more for a better customer experience, according to survey results from Harris Interactive.
4. Not increasing investments in your marketing technology. More and more, improving every customer interaction throughout all channels is becoming part of the job description for marketers. According to eMarketer, the top reason marketers said they needed new technology investments was to improve customer service and satisfaction. See more on steps you can take to avoid wasting your marketing budget in 2015 in this blog post.
Not so long ago, customers were simply faceless names and transactions understood through disjointed sales data and potentially inaccurate contact information.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen companies across industries make remarkable business transformations to become customer-centric organizations. These companies understand that customers are no longer loyal to brands or products alone. Instead, they’re loyal to companies who provide the optimal, most personalized customer experiences.
By understanding more about their customers, their interests, and their interaction preferences, organizations can ultimately encourage increased sales and usage of their products and services.
As we begin 2015 and predict what the next trends will be, I believe that this year will finally be the year that customer centricity becomes the norm – and effective management of data will play the most critical role to date in getting companies to reach their customer centricity goals.
But it won’t necessarily happen overnight. So how should companies get started with this effort?
“A requirement behind customer centricity is the ability to understand customers at a fairly granular level and to be able to identify the customers or the segments of customers who are valuable from the ones who aren’t,” writes Peter Fader (Co-Director of the Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania). “If you can’t sort out your customers — if you can’t look at them and know who is good and who is bad — then you can’t be customer centric. That’s step one.”
More and more companies are working through strategies for what Peter Fader describes as step one. They understand their data, and explore ways to utilize this information to gain valuable insights. For example, consider the advancements that Citrix achieved (read more in this case study). By better understanding their customer data, they saw a 20% improvement in lead conversion.
The organizations that have a better understanding of their customers are leading the way by utilizing technology to ensure data accuracy. If their contact data (address, email, and phone) is correct, then they can effectively reach that customer without fail. If their contact data is poor, connecting with customers becomes impossible and can ultimately impact their ability to compete.
Companies like BCBG understand this and are utilizing data quality services to reach up to 15% more customers (read more in this case study).
As companies continue to understand their customer data, they’ll look to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, these gaps are obvious. If a customer’s contact profile has a hole in it – for example a missing phone number – it becomes clear that the hole must be filled.
Utilizing Data as a Service enrichment and validation capabilities, organizations have the opportunity to clean up missing data without wasting a high value customer interaction to ask for their phone number. Instead, they can spend their time selling to this customer.
In addition to filling the contact profile gaps, Data as a Service subscription data is also a great way to expand the view of the customer and learn more about them. Companies can enrich their customer profiles with demographic information or industry data to round out their customer profiles, further supporting their customer-centricity goals.
In 2015, we will see companies utilizing their customer data to form a deeper connection and ultimately increase sales. The habit of “Speaking at” customers will fall by the wayside of true engagement. If customers are the lifeblood of an organization, then, in 2015, we’ll see more and more companies leveraging Data as a Service to increase customer loyalty — and ultimately fuel business growth.
“Opportunity for the large community to share experiences, lessons learnt, and help those that are starting the MDM journey get on the right track.”
Next month, Informatica will host its third MDM Day conference. Our past two events in Las Vegas and London have been huge successes thanks to the active participation of our customers, partners, and colleagues. The conference is structured to provide opportunities for you to share your ideas, provide guidance to our product management team, and learn from other customers’ MDM and PIM journeys.
When: February 12th, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Westin Times Square
How: Register Here
Master Data Management (MDM) has been used by companies for more than eight years to address the challenge of fragmented and inconsistent data across systems. Over the years we’ve compiled quite a cadre of uses cases across industries and strategic initiatives. I thought this outline of the 30 most common MDM initiatives may be of interest to those of you who are just getting started on your MDM journey. (more…)
Hear from Informatic’s Karen Hsu on the new ACORD certified Information Management solution that helps insurance organizations drive customer-centricity.
For more on this see: Master Data Management and ACORD Standards: Synergies and Considerations
One of the key themes of the Informatica 9.1 release is Authoritative and Trustworthy data. To set the stage, consider the imperatives that organizations are driving such as becoming more customer-centric to drive top line revenue, or optimize just-in-time procurement to drive costs out of the business, or comply with new Dodd Frank regulations. Not only do all these imperatives require organizations to be able to deliver business value faster and faster, but they span the organization across Lines of Business and geographies. In particular they require reliable global business processes and analytics to succeed, and that means that they need trusted data. For example, Procure-to-Pay processes and decisions rely on data across product data, vendor data, and financial data, and that data has to be trusted, meaning that it’s essential to have consistent, correct, and complete vendor price and performance data in order to determine preferred vendors and negotiate better contracts. (more…)
We launched a coast-to-coast Customer Data Forum road show with visits to Atlanta and Washington, D.C., that attracted business and IT professionals interested in using master data management (MDM) to attract and retain customers.
From the business side, our guests consisted of analysts, sales operations personnel, and business liaisons to IT, while the IT side was represented by enterprise and data architects, IT directors, and business intelligence and data warehousing professionals. In Washington, about half the audience was from public sector and government agencies. (more…)
To build on my last blog article, the secret to customer relationships in a mass-market high-tech world is in the data. The data that banks have about their customers contains a wealth of knowledge that can be leveraged to deliver greater value and thereby capture a greater share of the customer’s wallet.
As described in this recent blog article: How Banks Can Use MDM To Increase Customer Share of Wallet, the enabling technology that is helping financial institutions execute a customer centric strategy is a multidomain master data management (MDM) system to create reliable and related business-critical data about customers, products, services, locations, employees and so on. (more…)