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How good is your data strategy? Are you planning to be incoherent?

Published: Tuesday, 21 November 2017 by Matthew Tod, Head of Analytics
Big Data Analytics

We recently commissioned a study from Forrester Consulting to understand how organizations are collecting and using consumer data from digital and physical interaction channels.

Forrester identifies that “It’s the age of the customer, and firms must differentiate themselves on experience. Delivering great experiences means firms must leverage what they know of customers during moments of engagement and across touchpoints to drive relevant, compelling, and personalized experiences.

So, to do that, every organization will need a data capture strategy that brings together all the data needed to deliver a differentiated experience. Collecting this data does not happen by chance and people who talk of data as “exhaust” have clearly been breathing fumes because it takes time, effort and investment to create the data needed to deliver a great customer experience. The good news is that 87% do have a strategy, and I confess that figure surprised and delighted me in equal measure.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

However only 48% have a strategy that aims to bring together data from all interaction channels.  When you split this finding down by sector and geography we see that up to 60% of organizations do not have a complete strategy for bringing together all data to enable a coherent customer experience – as a result they are planning to be incoherent.  They are planning not to deliver an enthralling experience but a disjointed experience that has no relevance to the consumer.

I’ve written before about the airline that has the same approach to passengers regardless of whether their service arrived on time or 2 hours late. The delayed customers’ interactions with the airline’s digital touchpoints is as frustrating as their flight experience because the contextual information -  the flight delay, is missing from the data that underpins the customer experience strategy. This airline acts in a totally incoherent fashion which repeatedly makes my blood boil! I’m sure you have your own infuriating experiences of organizations who have a similar one-size-fits-all approaches to customer communications and digital interactions.

In our study, the majority of companies are planning to make the same mistake by having too narrow a strategy, and this omission will undermine completely the push for better customer experience.

Creating more detailed customer profiles

I know it is not glamorous, and that working on the ideal customer experience is much more fun, but can I humbly suggest that you look again at your data collection strategy? Check that all of the data that effects the customer experience, across all parts of the business, is actually being collected and aggregated into a customer profile.

  • For retailers this data must include stock by size because frequently I don’t buy because you don’t have my size available, but if you don’t record that fact how will you learn what to buy or understand why I didn’t take you up on that last offer?
  • For airlines, hotels and holiday companies you need to record availability as the dates I want to book always seem popular, and you will soon learn I’m totally inflexible and this can be turned to your advantage if you record this fact
  • For banks, I have to confess to being inattentive to offers, so please record the offers I have actually seen, not just those you pushed at me but I never saw. You can then intelligently prompt me rather than spam me

An incoherent experience is often not because an organization does not know what it wants to deliver but because it does not have the data needed to power the experience. So, do look again at your data collection strategy, and if you need more details download the report for free from this page.

LinkedIn: Matthew Tod


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