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Data preparation at the heart of DTC customer satisfaction during crisis

In today’s uncertain retail environment maximizing customer satisfaction requires anticipating the challenges customers may face during their purchase journey. By understanding what can go wrong and preparing to avoid it, and by developing contingency plans, you can still provide a good experience. When it comes down to it, customers are often more than forgiving when they see vendors doing their best to make things right.

When you validate your addresses, you are making things right. How? When you have accurate shipping addresses, you can avoid the bad outcomes that result in lost goods. However, if your customer does experience a delivery problem or late shipping, they will likely tolerate it if you can provide timely notifications or an alternative solution, like a discount or free shipping with their next purchase. The key to customer satisfaction in a time of crisis is preparing both your data and your contingency plans.

Many direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses today still operate in a siloed fashion where each department does their best to ensure an optimum customer experience. Yet it’s during the transfer of inaccurate information from one silo/department to the next that problems like customer dissatisfaction often arise. Let’s walk through an example:

If the product team provides flawed product data to the web team then inaccurate information may end up on the website. When this happens, you risk misleading customers with inaccurate product information and creating dissatisfaction, which could result in the items being returned, poor reviews or social media comments, refunds or chargebacks, emails or calls to the support center, challenges with inventory management, and so on. All of which also increases your costs.

Similarly, at the other end of the journey, if the logistics team provides the wrong address to a company owned or third-party delivery agent, the product may not reach its intended destination. Again, customer dissatisfaction and extra costs will occur with similar results.

How can these situations be avoided? Using your prepared and corrected data, map your customer journey from start to finish, across each of the touchpoints and interactions that the customer may have with your company; everything from marketing materials and web pages, your distribution channels, to your delivery and support mechanisms. By understanding where the department transitions and hand-offs occur and tracking the various potential outcomes, it is possible to prepare for unexpected times while delivering the best customer experience.

By preparing, validating, enriching, and cleaning your customer data you can ensure that appropriate and personalized marketing messages are delivered to each customer or prospect via the channels they prefer—a.k.a. a positive customer experience.

Cleaning and preparing customer data have other valuable benefits, enabling you to ensure customer satisfaction in other ways:

  • Maximize the impact of your loyalty programs by engaging with your customers.
  • Deliver products to the correct destination while cutting shipping and address correction costs.
  • Avoid delivering orders to businesses that have closed due to the crisis or individuals who have moved.
  • Reduce fraud by confirming purchases before they are shipped.
  • Leverage geocodes to understand where your customers are located, saving you delivery costs.
  • Use text or email to facilitate in-store ordering and curbside pick-up.
  • Reduce support centers’ call waiting time by preparing them with accurate customer records.

Being prepared and, in particular preparing your data, has enumerable benefits for your business and your customers. Comprehensive data preparation ensures that your team has the accurate data they need when they need it, without having to frequently call on IT or your data science team to help. This allows you to understand your buyers' journeys and to plan for the problems that you know will occur from time-to-time, and to develop contingencies. It ensures your data is as accurate and as complete as possible so that customers' expectations are met or even exceeded.

 

Find out how Experian can help you be better prepared with our data preparation solutions.

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