You’ve probably heard of the blind men who touched part of an elephant and were adamant about their interpretations. Businesses are in the same predicament without customer data integration for a panoramic viewpoint. In my interview with Swati Saxena, Customer Intelligence Manager at Hewlett-Packard, she outlined some of the benefits of integrating customer data:
- Better prediction and understanding of what drives customer loyalty.
- Identifying which products to sell to customers most profitably.
- Prioritizing customers to target with specific offers.
- Using the most effective messaging and communication channels, etc.
- Reducing waste for customers and the company, for improved customer experience management.
Better Strategies from a Holistic View
“Customer data integration is akin to the parable of six blind men who were brought to an elephant and asked to touch it and describe what it was,” she explained. “One touched the elephant’s trunk and said ‘this is a snake’; one touched the tail and said ‘this is a rope’; still another touched the ear and said ‘this is a fan’. Each viewpoint was useful from a narrow perspective, but none of them were accurate about the big picture. Similarly, Continue reading
Social media contains a wealth of information about the customer experience, and savvy managers are paying attention. In my interview with Sean McDonald, fomer director of Dell’s online community, he points out that the social Web is full of customer comments, and engaging customers in conversations enables opportunities for:
– Building brand reputation: turn negative sentiment into positive word-of-mouth.
– Customer service: delight and retain customers for additional growth.
– Competitor analysis: see how they are viewed by customers.
– Sales leads: find customers who are researching your brand category.
– Employee engagement: channel relevant data to all functional areas.
– New product development: augment focus groups with private community inputs.
Transition to Conversations
“Typically customer conversations occur on a need-only basis, which is unfortunate,” he says. “Companies are aligned by departments to facilitate the ease of their production: Finance keeps the books, HR manages people policies, etc. — and most departments are inward facing. Customers’ conversations used to be at barbecues, around water coolers, and in back halls. The social Web has unleashed a billion users with an appetite to share and learn from people like themselves.The Web has become more social and given literally everyone a voice.”
“Companies can engage in conversations both online and offline about customers’ passions and interests to build Continue reading
“More companies are getting to the point of putting the customer at the central part of their data collection systems, and managing from outside-in. That’s when you know you’re working to optimize customer experience.”
This theme emerged in my recent online interview with Theresa Kushner, Director of Strategic Marketing Customer Intelligence at Cisco Systems. Theresa is co-author of the book, Managing Your Business Data: From Chaos to Confidence. Her team at Cisco received the National Council for Database Marketing Award for Analytics and Modeling, as well as The Data Warehouse Institute Best Practice Award, for Cisco’s new customer intelligence center initiative that integrates customer data for sales, marketing and financial applications. This initiative assisted in correlating over $500 million in customer bookings.
Theresa explained how to go after the gold in your customer data, avoid fool’s gold, and refine your customer data gold to make a difference in your business growth and profitability. Untapped opportunities exist in:
*Making use of unstructured data, such as customer inquiries
*Connecting data systems such as order-entry and sales
*Helping Sales, Service, Finance, and the whole company see the customer in totality
*Allowing customer-facing people easy access to combined customer/company data
*Enabling customers to define their profile and why they’re interested in the company
*Demonstrating to customers you can move with them as a partner
*Avoiding pitfalls of fools’ gold, such as Continue reading