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Customer experience improvements hinge on good customer data

Companies need to make it worth customers' while to supply their customer data.

If successful customer experience hinges on personalization and customization, good customer data is at the center of that personalized experience.

Getting solid data involves a two-way exchange: Customers need to be willing to offer their information to get personal service. And marketers need to act responsibly and effectively with that data to justify the relinquishment of consumer information.

A study by consulting firm Emnos GmbH indicated that consumers want relevant advice that will simplify their lives, save time and deliver information. But 83% of survey respondents say that retailers don't provide sufficient information.

So marketers should take note: Do more than just collect data. Use customer information to provide clear customer experience improvements and better resources for consumers.

A survey from ClickFox echoes this finding, where 32% of consumers said they're most willing to share personal data if they feel loyal to a brand.

Using data for customer experience management

Let's look at this in practice: At Avis Budget Group Inc., customer data influences every decision in areas such as product development and communication. With records from 40 million customers, the issue was how to structure the use of data. Understanding the value of the "total" customer through data helped the company to determine communication strategies and helped to differentiate customer service.

Customers need to be willing to offer their information to get personalized service. And marketers need to act responsibly and effectively with that data.

"We look for ways to infuse the customer experience with data," said Jeannine Haas, chief marketing officer at Avis Budget Group. "The most critical achievement … may be the 'single view' of customers. ... Information is consolidated into a Web-based dashboard that front-line customer-facing employees can access."

The company used data technology to get a single 360-degree view of its customers by applying the segmentation strategy customer lifetime value." It looked for ways to infuse the customer experience with intelligence.

"[Company] differentiation today is based on customer service and customer experience," said Tim Doolittle, vice president of CRM at Avis Budget. "We lacked ... analytics infrastructure to leverage our data assets, to improve marketing ROI and the customer experience and to drive long-term customer value."

Here are some takeaways for using customer information to drive high-value customer experiences:

1. Use data to provide useful information. To get data that's useful, outline how and why your company is collecting data in order to give customers a better experience.

2. Use data to solve problems. Identify issues and solve problems based on customer input and communication.

3. Positive experiences prompt customers to share data. Marketers need to continuously provide excellent customer experiences. This moves interactions beyond transactions and uses knowledge of customers as people.

4. Use data to improve customer communication. Given a lack of customer insights, companies often provide only generic responses to customer problems, leaving customers feeling more frustrated. Marketers need to personalize communication, responses and experiences.

5. Don't just collect data, use it as a tool. Look beyond the last click or the most recent search to provide an experience that covers a consumer's entire purchasing journey.

Next Steps

CRM data integration still a problem for mobile

Multichannel integration is the next step for customer service

Learn more about social CRM customer data management

Dig Deeper on Customer analytics

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