Tag Archives: omni channel
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly! Experiencing Great (and Not So Great) Data-Driven Marketing in Day-to-Day Life
I spend my professional life helping marketers get the most out of their data. So it really hits me when I experience real life case studies in my day-to-day personal life. When I do run across these great (and not so great) experiences, it broadens my perspective and helps me figure out new ways that I can help our customers use clean, safe, and connected data to revolutionize their marketing efforts.
I feel compelled to blog about these great customer experiences in hopes that other marketers can learn from these encounters like I did. So this is the first installment of an ongoing series of blog posts about where I’ve experienced great (and not so great) data-driven marketing experiences.
I love my insurance company for many reasons, but the last experience I had with them was truly exceptional. I had been on their website getting an insurance quote for a new home. I still had a few questions, so I initiated an online chat. The online representative there quickly and efficiently answered my question and I left the experience with a thorough understanding of the potential policy. About a week later, seemingly unrelated, I put in a claim through a local vendor for a chipped windshield repair. Then two weeks later, I called back and the phone system recognized my mobile number and through the automated system asked me if I was calling about the homeowner’s policy quote I had received a few weeks ago. I pressed 1 for yes, and here’s where the impressive part begins…
A representative quickly answered the phone. He was able to view all of the information I had put into the online quote tool. He then referenced the question I had asked the representative in the online chat, and asked if I had any further questions about it. Within minutes I had my new policy set up, but it didn’t stop there. He asked if the windshield chip I had the previous week had been repaired to my satisfaction. Then he noticed that although I do have a credit card through them, I haven’t used it in some time, and offered me a 0% balance transfer offer for 36 months with no transfer fee on that card. Heck, we just bought a new house and I know there will be plenty of expenses, so sign me up! Finally, he noticed that because I was about to move to a new zip code, my car insurance rates would be going down slightly and offered to send me to the automobile insurance team to make the change to my policy.
The system clearly tied all of my recent and past activities from various channels together, analyzed them, and leveraged some sort of recommendation engine to guide the customer support representative to provide truly customized service. You can be assured I love my insurance company even more, and I will be dusting off a stagnant account that I hadn’t used in years. A+.
Oh how I wish my bank would embrace Total Customer Relationship. My husband, my children, and I have far too many accounts at our bank. Each child has a savings account, we have a joint checking account, we have a savings account, he has a personal savings account, I have a personal savings account, and then there’s the cash reserve line, the credit card and a few CD’s. We recently sold a home and the now-paid-off mortgage was through them. Plus we’ve been customers for almost 20 years. So sufficed to say, we have been loyal customers.
Well the other day, I had to go get a cashier’s check for a school activity for one of my children. I know, it’s pretty strange that they needed a cashier’s check, but I digress. I went to pull half out of my son’s minor savings account and half out of my individual checking account. Neither of those accounts have much money in there, nor have they been opened for very long. Call me spoiled, but I’m used to getting these types of service fees waived for my long tenure and deep relationship with our bank. But because the accounts I had pulled the money from didn’t have that kind of history, they weren’t willing to waive the fees. I was in a hurry because I was running late from shopping at a shoe store (see “The Ugly” below) so I didn’t have the time or energy to fight it, so I paid the darn $5 fee, but I was irritated. Clearly they couldn’t easily see the total customer relationship I have with their institution. The aren’t leveraging their data to tell a complete story, and missed an opportunity to show a loyal customer a great experience.
And The Ugly
A few days ago, I was at a shoe store picking up some new soccer cleats for one of my children. I had gotten an email offer for 30% off, so I pulled up the email and prepared to use it at the cash register. For whatever reason, the email didn’t had a blank where a code was supposed to be, and the woman at the register, despite her best efforts couldn’t use it. So, trying to be helpful, she looked at my loyalty account and, low and behold, I had $40 worth of rewards points that I didn’t even know existed. But I had to first download an app to try to issue a coupon using those points. I downloaded the app, put in my loyalty number, and no points were available.
Turns out, I had two accounts, but they weren’t linked despite having the same phone number and names. One had an address that was misspelled in the system, so it apparently wouldn’t merge with the other account – oh data quality and address validation how I missed you at that moment! She corrected the address, and informed me that it would now merge the two accounts and to try to log in again. Of course, I knew that there was no way this was a real time, or near real time process, but she was insistent. So I tried again, nothing.
The woman couldn’t have been nicer, but poor data quality processes and long batch windows had her hands tied. I was advised to call the customer support line, but of course it was a Sunday afternoon and nobody was there to pick up. So 45 minutes later, I left the store, irritated and very late, and without the shoes I was going to purchase out of principle. In the future, I’ll be going down the street and shopping at another shoe store – it’s my own personal strike against antiquated, inaccurate, incomplete, and painfully slow data processes which result in bad customer experiences!
In The End…
In the greater scheme of things, these varying degrees of customer experience “misses” aren’t exactly a crisis. It’s not curing cancer or solving world hunger, but to consumers, having a great customer experience is really important. Wouldn’t you rather have your customers raving about a great experience, than grumbling about a bad one, or losing a customer due to an ugly one?
We marketers can make the difference! We own that end-to-end omni channel experience. We need to make sure that our data is clean, safe, and connected so we can provide our customers what they expect and frankly deserve from us.
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution empowers organizations with confidence, knowing that they have access to the kind of great customer data that allows them to surpass customer acquisition and retention goals by providing consistent, integrated, and seamless customer experiences across channels. The end result? Great experiences that customers are inspired to share with their family and friends at dinner parties and on blog posts like this one.
Want to learn more? Check out these webinars to see how Informatica and our customers and partners are revolutionizing the customer experience.
Maybe the problem lies in the widespread confusion about omni- vs. multi-channel initiatives. An omni-channel system takes a connected approach to multiple channels, seamlessly integrating customer activities into a single conversation, even when the customer decides, for whatever reason, to switch channel. In omni-channel retailing, the customer can select and change channels in any way that suits them – and the retailer can respond instantly to deliver the experience that the customer needs. Each time the customer interacts with the brand, they generate data that the retailer can use to better anticipate and serve the customer during the next conversation.
So, if omni-channel initiatives are so powerful, why are retailers not taking the next step?
In a multi-channel system, a retailer grows from a single channel to multiple channels with each channel essentially operating as a separate business unit. Each has its own pricing, promotions, inventories, and back office systems. The omni-channel system integrates all of these channels and their accumulated data into one cohesive view of the business and customer. But many retailers wrongly believe that their organizational structure and systems don’t lend themselves to the new environment.
Many feel that a fundamental redesign of the corporate retail organization – from a single P&L regardless of channel, to “rip and replace” of IT systems – would need to occur at the most basic levels. And many organizations are unsure if the extra time, money and risk to reorganize is worth the advantages promised by an omni-channel strategy. In short, many retailers have adopted a wait-and-see stance before they invest.
However, these retailers can take comfort and guidance from the conclusions of the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions conference. Based on a survey of top retailers, the conference predicts that “In 2015, CIOs will invest in omni-channel integration technologies as a top priority to support growth in the omni-channel shopper sales premium of 30%.“
The Future is Now
When retailers invest in omni-channel integration, they essentially design an entirely new supply chain of unified capabilities that can simultaneously handle the demands of their “brick and mortar” stores, their ecommerce sites, and any other channel that they have in place. The retailers that have already done so are already seeing the benefits:
- Corporations that have invested in omni-channel services are already witnessing an average of 30% increase in sales.
- The IT departments of these corporations are spending far less time performing the redundant or duplicate tasks required by a multi-channel system.
- Both structured and unstructured data are more successfully and easily integrated across the company than with a multichannel operation.
- IT departments can retire older technologies that are no longer performing at their previous levels of efficiency.
- Consumer impacts on individual channels can now be identified almost immediately and the channels adjusted accordingly.
While many businesses may be cautious about taking the next step, the shopping characteristics of today’s consumer are rapidly changing. Customers are moving into an omni-channel world, whether the retailer is ready or not. This means that the business might be forced to play catch-up to their customers, and perhaps sooner than they might like. Omni-channel initiatives simply reflect, improve and realize the value of this customer behavior. Omni-channel initiatives are about making the individual consumer the main focal point of the business model.
Our blog frequently provides best practice stories of our customers using product information management (PIM) for their business model. This case is about the “long tail strategy” at Kramp.
Tines, hand tools, spare parts for agricultural machines and hydraulic motors are the order of the day at Kramp. Kramp, based in the Netherlands, is Europe’s largest wholesaler of accessories and spare parts for motorized equipment, agricultural and construction machines. The company’s business model and e-commerce strategy is exemplary. Kramp is using product information management (PIM) for their long tail strategy in e-commerce.
Kramp’s Value Proposition: “It’s that easy”
“We want to make it easier for our customers, partners and suppliers. We believe in the future and the power of e-commerce”, said CEO Eddie Perdok. Kramp grew the product assortment from about 200,000 to 1,000,000+ items from about 2,000 suppliers.
Previous stock policies in mail order retail always meant having limited space. In the catalog there were only a certain number of pages available. Even the logistics were limited – warehouse storage limited the possibilities so much that the majority of companies tried to find the “perfect catalog range” with the largest number of bestsellers.
The Digital Assortment Has No Limits
“Compared to other sales channels, the internet gives us significant cost advantages”, says Eddie Perdok. The digital department store consists of servers that can be easily extended at any time.
Adding a new product requires no more than a few additional entries in a database. The challenge is that the product data must be obtained from the suppliers and then distributed before products can be presented in a shop. The range is therefore often limited because the product data cannot be efficiently updated and sale is lost to other vendors are retailers.
Europe’s largest wholesaler of spare parts for agricultural machines and accessories focuses on managing all product data from a central data source for all sales channels and languages.
Customer and supplier feedback is an important factor
“We want to bring customer opinion and supplier knowledge together”, explains Eddie Perdock. “Online customer evaluation combined with the knowledge of the manufacturer puts us in the position of being able to optimally control our stock”. In e-commerce, vendors, retailers and customers are coming closer and closer together.
Benefits Kramp realized with PIM on their long tail strategy
- Quick ROI due to short implementation phases
- Better customer satisfaction due to optimal data quality
- Higher margins and turnover in e-commerce due to niche items in long tail
- Easy, professional handling of mass data lowers process costs
- Short product introduction times to new markets
You can learn more on using PIM for long tail business on the entire case study or hear Ronald Renskers, Manager Product Content at Kramp, and others talking on the latest video.
Massively increasing the assortment is one of the top trends retailers and distributors focus on, according to Forrester Principal Analyst, Sucharita Mulpuru. Forrester’s research shows that retailers’ biggest competition are brands that sell directly to consumers. Marketplaces like Amazon result in higher margins, according to Forrester and www.pim-roi.com.