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Clean data is key in the omni-channel customer experience

Paul Newman Archive

For companies that direct a great deal of their energy toward direct marketing, these are trying times. If, in the past, your marketing team was intensely focused on a particular communication channel such as phone calls or direct mailings, you're finding now that consumers have numerous distractions that keep them from hearing those messages. Why open your postal mail when instead, you can play with a new toy like a mobile device or a social media network?

For marketers, it's important not to be scared off by all this new technology. On the contrary - the best strategy is not to run away, but to embrace it. According to FirstBiz, the best way to respond to the proliferation of new communication channels is to dive right in. If your customers are increasingly interested in Facebook pages and iPhone apps, for instance, then give them what they want. Use these channels as new ways to connect with customers and gather valuable data.

Gautam Kulkarni, retail practice lead at Nihilent, told FirstBiz that ultimately, this is all part of a growing emphasis on the "omni-channel customer experience." Technologies like social, mobile and the cloud shouldn't be considered "disruptive" - instead, they should be part of your customer offerings.

"For a retailer, this calls for bringing in synergy and orchestration across entire business and operational domains and not just technology alone," Kulkarni explained. "Omni-channel also means empowering a sales channel to enable more cross-channel activities."

Of course, in all of these efforts, it's important to maintain your standards for data quality. Using a mobile app or a social media page to gather customer information is great, but you must do so in a way that doesn't cause improper formatting or unnecessary duplication for your existing database. There's a fine line here between quantity and quality of data.