Becoming customer-centric through data is often an underestimated journey and is certainly no longer just the customer services or marketing team’s responsibility.
The power of data has revolutionised the way smart businesses deliver a seamless customer experience at every touchpoint.
Leading companies like Amazon, Alibaba and Google all use data and technology to deliver a seamless buying journey and then incorporate suggestions and additional ways to add value to customers along the way, which has driven extraordinary revenue success. They show their customers they know them and reward them for their business at every interaction and touchpoint. They add value and, in essence, make their customers' lives easier. That’s data-driven, customer-centricity at its finest!
Becoming customer-centric through data is often an underestimated journey and is certainly no longer just the customer services or marketing team’s responsibility. It sits with everyone in the organisation and technology is the core vehicle for execution.
Being truly customer-centric means knowing your customer well enough to identify key moments in time that matter to them and providing them with the tools to enjoy the right experience at the right time. It also involves focusing on those that are your highest value customers over their lifetime and also being smart at spotting them early enough to nurture, engage, grow and retain them. This is only possible with data!
When you bring technology, data and design-thinking together with creativity and customer experience – that’s when the magic happens!
3 key benefits of data-driven, customer centricity
Data gives you the inside word on your customers
Your customers are all different and competition for their attention is at an all-time high. Having a deep understanding of your customer through data will allow you to cut through that noise and engage with each of them as individuals. A data-driven strategy is the only way you can understand what data to capture, when and how to then know them, help them and deliver to their expectations. Data helps you understand what motivates them, where their pain points are and what matters most. It also helps you understand their buying behaviour today and what it will possibly be into the future. This helps create unique experiences, grow loyalty and nurture those who will become your most valuable customers in the future.
Data helps you avoid expensive breakups with your customers
Research completed by the man behind the Net Promoter System (Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company) shows that “increasing customer retention rates by just 5 per cent can increase profits by 25 per cent to 95 per cent.” if you consider the cost of acquiring new customers can be anywhere between 5 and 25 times more than retaining existing customers, it's clear that keeping your existing customers happy and engaged is extremely valuable.
Data is almost magical in the sense that it can help identify moments in time when a customer may be considering leaving and allows you to intervene with a compelling reason to stay, often just in time – like magic!
Rewarding your customers is also a powerful way to keep them engaged at significant moments in their customer journey and data can assist in the development of effective programmes that provide tangible benefits and measurable outcomes.
Data helps you design the ultimate customer-centric experience
There’s no doubt that making it easy for your customers to do business with you attracts and retains more customers. Data helps you understand your customers’ journey and find opportunities to smooth the path for them. It helps focus your attention on the smallest details and create micro-moments of joy for them that solve important problems. Couple that with your online presence, supporting technology that creates relevant conversations and having an empowered team that can solve customer issues easily and you have a winning combination.
But with so much change, disruption and innovation, combined with increasing complexity, what’s the best way to execute on your data strategy?
The key to success is having a data strategy and purpose and then breaking it down really simply and executing in microsegments. It’s about delivering superb customer experiences, when it matters most, at key moments in time. When we go into a business, our key focus is to firstly find out what data they already have, how we can quickly pull it together and leverage, and what are the key customer pain points they want to solve.
People are constantly in a mode of multitasking and handling distractions. Most households now have at least seven connected devices and we are constantly chopping and changing across those different devices. That’s our new norm – and even more so for generation Z. Research suggests they only have an attention span of six seconds before they move on to the next thing. Anyone with kids will see this multitasking in action – they’re playing a game sometimes while brushing their teeth! Our challenge is to design those customer experiences that are going to engage, resonate and keep customers coming back for more.
The future we are starting to see is small, it’s about micro. It’s about combining the best right-brain thinking to design and create the best experience and left-brain thinking to leverage data and technology to identify those key moments that are going to matter most for your customer, and then executing well on those.
It’s about keeping it small, testing and learning to see what happens and then reviewing and building it out from there.
This, as opposed to trying to attempt a really large, complicated project to achieve customer centricity that takes a long time at a high cost and misses the key opportunity.
Micro-design is not easy as companies tend to want to go big and solve all their problems at once. You need to be disciplined with your design thinking and combine it with analytics and technology to push it out quickly, measure, test and learn and then optimise.
Our new world is fast becoming an ‘on demand’ economy so, as a business, it’s important you are thinking about how your brand and desired customer experience actually delivers to this connected platform era so you can have a two-way conversation with your customer.
What are the conversations you want to have? What are you going to be asking them? What do you want to be delivering to them in the future and how do you leverage the fact that they are walking around with a mini computer in their pockets all day long?
Data is a critical enabler in today’s business world. The benefits of implementing a data-driven strategy are endless – the consequence of not doing so means you effectively hand your competitors the edge on a silver platter. Getting started can be easier than you think – you just have to start!
Carmen Vicelich is founder and managing director of Data Insight. A self-confessed ‘data-geek’, Vicelich is passionate about helping clients deliver innovation and game-changing value through the power of data. She is also the author of ‘The Data Revolution’ - an executive guide to becoming a data-led business to compete in the ‘Age of the Customer’.
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