Data as a Service will ensure that 2015 will be known as “The Year of the Customer!”
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.