Everybody is talking about it but only a few are actually doing it. We are of course talking about creating that personalized customer experience that turns prospects into customers and customers into brand advocates. How do you do that? And what exactly is a ‘good’ and ‘personalized’ customer experience?
What makes a good customer experience?
The customer experience is made of what your business delivers during the customer journey. Some experiences, like website, email, and loyalty programs, you can (in theory) manage yourself. Others, like word-of-mouth and social reviews, you can only do your very best to keep the people interacting with your brand, happy. Think about how many touch points you have along the buyer’s journey or take a look at the figure below. The chances of not failing at one of these are quite slim.
How do you create a good customer experience?
But it can be done and the way to do it is by creating a 360-degree view of the customer.
All business sections involved with customers are increasingly realizing this.
- Marketing says: “We need to create better targeted, multi-channel campaigns, faster.” and "We need to build a better customer understanding for segmentation and analysis.”
- Sales says: “I need a single view of the customer to help me plan my sales call.” and “Is this customer a retention risk?”
- Customer service says: “I wish I only had to log into one system to answer this customer’s problem.” and “We’ve asked them to login, so shouldn’t we know more about them?”
On top of that, there are all of the ‘horizontal’ functions: The finance department that sends out invoices and logistics that need to get products out the door. Potentially, everyone in the organization needs access to the 360 view of the customer.
The biggest barrier to this is multiple sets of customer data and information existing in disparate systems. That’s why you need a central, persistent, shared - and governed - facility that everyone potentially contributes master data to and leverages data from.
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The key here is of course the data.
If you’re a B2C company you need to know individuals, networks, and relationships. This data is relatively ‘simple’ but could potentially be difficult in very large volumes. Digital and social media aspects are now also key essentials.
If you’re a B2B company you need to know organizations, legal entity structures, and multiple hierarchies. This data is potentially very complex but in much smaller volumes. Also, you need to think about what individuals within the organization you’re doing business with.
You also need to identify the nature of the data you manage. Different kinds of data come from different sources:
- 1st party data is data you generate or collect yourself – questions for this could be: Which system is the best source of that data? Are you planning to create it yourself centrally?
- 2nd party data is similar to the above except the original organization is directly sharing the data with a second party. Questions for this could be: Do you have business partners that you share data with? Are you in a B2B2C model?
- 3rd party data is sourced by an organization that adds value to it and resells it. Questions for this could be: Can you verify your data against trusted third party data? Can you build out your knowledge of your target population with 3rd party data?
And it’s not just about customer data. You need to set up the customer data against other data domains: What products are the customer using and what could you then be offering them to expand their experience (product data)? Where is the customer located and could the location possibly match particular products (location data)?
A master data management solution makes the foundation for this and should therefore be at the heart of your customer view.