Present a ‘value-driven  view’ of the customer across your business to deliver a superior customer experience

With new customer acquisition becoming increasingly more competitive, companies have to prioritise serving existing customers more than ever. Also the last thing you want to do is to annoy your existing customers with incorrect, out of date or irrelevant details. 

In a typical enterprise, customer data resides in silos. Most fail to deliver a joined-up view of the customer and their interactions. 

We will explore the benefits of, and journey to, building the ‘right view’ of your customer based on the value such a view creates. This is different from collecting all the data points you possibly can about a customer. 

Privacy concerns erode customer trust. So, we are not looking to create an omniscient 360-degree view of the customer. Instead, the focus should be on using the right customer data for the right purpose at the right time in pursuit of three value-driven endeavours: customer intimacy, product leadership, and operational excellence.

We also get some thoughts from our CTO Alexander (Sasha) Polev on what’s next in enhancing customer experiences with your customer data.  

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Customers are more educated than ever. They know what they want and want it now. Increasing competition and the need for better post-sales service is putting the focus back on delivering a better customer experience throughout the customer lifecycle. 

On the other hand, customers do not want you to know everything about them either. That would get creepy. They want you to use only what you need to know so that you can serve them with the best experience.  

Rightly, companies are putting customers at the centre of innovation. Each customer touchpoint should be studied and optimised. Any meaningful interaction data that you collect should be tied to the customer’s core "golden record." This single customer view will then help you create maximum value. 

All of this calls for customer master data management (MDM, in the lingo) with proper systems and controls in place for data governance and data compliance as the foundation.

A real-life scenario

A group of friends in Poland booked a premium holiday with a large multinational travel and tourism company that operates its own hotels and flights. They planned a trip to Hawaii but had specific preferences. When they arrived in Hawaii, the hotel did not know their preferences. They logged a formal complaint with the hotel in Hawaii. When the friends returned to Poland and went to claim refunds, the office in Poland did not have any records of their poor experiences or the formal complaint. The system in Poland was different and disconnected from the system in Hawaii. But all this was meant to be seamless and within the same company. This expectation of ‘customer intimacy’ was a key reason why the friends chose to give their business to this company.

The customers were furious and the matter escalated. They vowed to never travel with the company again and let their families and friends know too.

This story is not a one-off. Gartner, the research company, found that 51% of customers who feel their trust with a brand was betrayed tell others about their negative experience. And 19% encourage others to boycott the company. Eroding your brand’s reputation and destroying hard-earned trust with customers are the opposite of the business outcomes your data strategy should support! 

So, you are destroying business value not just in losing this customer, but future customers from negative advocacy. 

All because you could not get the ‘right’ data to your teams so they could deliver value the customer rightly expects.

Customer data management for superior customer experience

Master Data Management (MDM) refers to the management of an enterprise’s official shared data assets. It helps in maintaining a ‘single version of the truth’ across all business units. This is not just a policy, a process, a technology, or a skill. MDM is all of these and more. 

The case for adopting robust MDM strategies, systems, and processes should be grounded in four key business drivers: 

  • Customer intimacy — Using data to tailor your services to specific customers;

  • Revenue growth — Cross- and up-selling to existing customers, thereby increasing customer lifetime value; 

  • Product leadership — Learning from and incorporating data to enhance your products, as well as to create innovative, best-in-class products that outclass the competition; and

  • Operational excellence — Giving customers what they need as efficiently and inexpensively as possible.

As customers are at the centre of a business's success, customer MDM is essential for companies that have to deal with meaningful volumes of customer interactions and transactions.

One true face of the customer

To correctly identify and adequately serve a customer, creating and presenting one true face of the customer is invaluable for all sectors. For some, this is  critical. For example, it is compulsory for patient and clinical data management. Otherwise, there could be life or death consequences. 

It may not be so imposed in your sector, but a ‘single version of truth’ on each valued customer is an imperative for most. This view can only be achieved with a well thought out MDM strategy, platform selection, and change leadership.

Product innovation and improved service quality

Processing customer complaints, claims, and suggestions requires an accurate “golden record” of customer data to be available in one place. Your customer MDM achieves this by pulling in data from both upstream and downstream business processes. This helps companies to improve the quality of service and how they could improve their products. Our holidaying friends would certainly have appreciated this. 

Upsell and cross-sell

A joined-up view across organisational boundaries and systems must be in place to identify opportunities to introduce new products and services to existing customers. This can only be achieved if data is available across business units and other silos. Customer MDM also helps to avoid annoying — and losing — customers by doing things like sending fragmented, overlapping, and duplicate invoices.

Better NPS, CSAT and CES scores

The speed of response and time to resolution significantly impacts service teams' efficiency and effectiveness scores. As mastered data is shared across different parts of your business particularly by customer care teams, this helps ensure rapid resolution.

How to think of about mastered customer data 

Customer data management is not a one-time ‘do it and forget it’ exercise. Even after a successful implementation, an ongoing committee with authority should monitor the efficacy of your engine (again, this is not just about products, technologies, or platforms).

There are a few considerations you have to make as you plan your customer data management initiative. Ultimately, meeting the business objective of delivering an exceptional customer experience needs to be the primary driver. Planning, implementing and operating your enterprise MDM is no different.

For a successful enterprise customer MDM implementation, the Onepoint team follows a framework directly linked to business outcomes.If you would like to have an informal conversation with an expert, contact us.

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Enterprise MDM trends to keep an eye out for 

We’ve rounded up some noteworthy trends that we think you should be aware of as you think about enterprise data mastering.

AI / ML to accelerate implementation and ease maintenance

Most MDM projects start with two goals: better master data quality and greater maintenance efficiency in master data maintenance processes. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) play an increasingly essential role in meeting both goals.

Multi-domain MDM

In everyday use cases, data is required from multiple domains like product, vendor, location, brand, store, and logistics. In most instances, these data points exist in (single domain) silos. Aiming for a joined-up view, for example of the customer, across all business areas is the right move.

MDM in the Cloud

The benefits of the cloud are already proven in the application and database space. Cloud-native MDM solutions can greatly influence MDM success with easy integration, infrastructure management, and data and application access that are already in the cloud.

Application Data Management (ADM) integration

Applications catering to individual lines of business (LOB) have their own siloed master data. Transactional systems need to maintain their local master data. A well planned MDM strategy needs to support enterprise-wide data accessibility needs as well as maintain local LOB-specific data needs.


Thoughts from the frontline

A quick take on customer master data management (MDM) with Alexander (Sasha) Polev, Onepoint’s CTO.

What advice do you have for companies that are early in their customer data journey?
Implementing customer data management is not just a technical challenge. These projects tend to integrate a lot of data sources. To do this successfully, understanding the business context is crucial, as is the availability of competent people to make the project a success. Involving multidisciplinary stakeholders early and often is also essential. Don’t focus only on technical proof of concepts but on proof of business value. Try not to pursue perfection. Start by figuring out how to take value-creating action with what you have. Prototypes are a good way to get going. Iterate as you go.

What are some risks of not having a proper customer MDM approach?
The more relevant and joined-up your view of customers is, the better you can market and serve. Partial information or information in silos risks incorrect messaging to the customer. This could increase customer churn and decrease customer lifetime value. Having a single view of the ‘right’ customer data across your business gives even the far-flung units high-value information derived from one true source.

What is the future of data in customer experience?
Innovative companies are pushing the boundaries to serve customers better and enhance their experiences. This article gives 20 such examples. Most, if not all, of these innovations are powered by data. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play a critical role. Let’s not forget, the discipline of taking care of customer data still requires heavy involvement of the human element, which means upskilling your people and / or acquiring missing skills externally.

How has the pandemic affected digital strategy initiatives?
The need for a better digital experience has grown during the pandemic. Organisations with greater digital and data maturity in their customer data management disciplines tended to reap benefits faster. They can adapt faster, for example by adding data from newer platforms and channels effortlessly.
 
Ask Sasha
Have a question that you would like to put to our CTO? Drop us a note.


Final word

Understanding customers, their interactions, and having a robust master data management strategy helps discover untapped opportunities. You can, for example, forecast sales and manage inventory better if you know customer preferences and order frequency. Or, say after a merger, avoid contacting the same customer multiple times with the same messaging. 

MDM is not easy, though. Many initiatives don’t see the light of the day. Gartner, the research company, suggests that 75% of MDM programs fail to meet business expectations. But if executed well, your business can truly reap the precious benefits of mastered customer data across your business. 

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Onepoint is an experienced team of MDM professionals. Since 2005, we have helped enterprises realise the full potential of data-led decision making on the back of a solid foundation built with Big Data, Analytics, Cloud, AI and ML, and advanced programming. Continue your MDM journey with confidence. Contact us and ask for customer stories around MDM.