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Get intimate with your customer this Valentine’s Day; a data-driven competitive advantage

Alannah Wood 5 minute read Data profiling, Data quality

For any business to succeed in a highly competitive market, a clear customer and data strategy is a must. No doubt you are already aware of the value of building those all important customer relationships, but what does this actually mean in practice?

With love in the air there has never been a better time to get more intimate with your customer. Using this romantic season as a muse I’d like to show you a more data-driven solution to customer care.

What is customer intimacy?

Once upon a time customer loyalty was a magical, elusive and unpredictable phenomenon, however research has found evidence of a relationship between the emotional bond connecting a customer and a business, and loyalty. Customer intimacy, as a strategy, is an attempt to create, nurture and strengthen this tie.

Whilst data will unfortunately never be synonymous with romance, when it comes to understanding your customer it sits right at the heart. Our global research has found that 84% of organisations see data as an integral part of forming a business strategy. Ultimately, data is the key to unlocking understanding, and this understanding is crucial in building those all important customer relationships.

In the same way you need to get to know someone to fall in love, you cannot expect your customer to fall in love with you if it is clear that you do not know anything about them. In practical terms it means that you need a long term data strategy that will deliver across the whole of your relationship. 

Let’s consider the journey…

Getting off on the right foot – the early days

Primarily, it is crucial that data is fit for purpose. Creating a comprehensive data strategy is ultimately your goal, but it’s important to get the basics right when your customer experiences your brand for the first time. That is, if you don’t want to make a major faux pas which could send them running. Consider your contact data, in the same way that calling someone by the wrong name on a first date could have tragic consequences, the same goes for your customers. If you are not capturing accurate data to begin with, you are at risk of ruining the relationship before it really begins.

In order to avoid heart-breaking mistakes or missed opportunities, whether you plan to send your love letters via post, email or text, ensure your efforts are successful by capturing data right first time and cleansing it on a regular basis.

Kindling the romance – get to know your customer better

It is no surprise to anyone that there is quite a jump between first meeting someone and them becoming a lifelong partner. In almost the same way as a relationship would develop, growing customer loyalty requires care, attention and a well thought out data strategy. If you’ve got the basics right it’s at this stage that organisations will benefit from getting a single view of their customers. Such a view can be achieved by having a readily accessible summary of a customer’s relationship across different products, brands, businesses and channels, to enable personalised multi-channel engagement.

Armed with this information, an organisation is in a far better position to ‘woo’ its customers because it can communicate on a more informed and personal level - creation of appealing content, discovering contact points and remembering how they would prefer to be contacted.  We all know it’s the thought that counts when it comes to buying gifts -  we’d much rather our other half gave us something thoughtful and relevant that makes us feel loved, listened to and cared about than the generic petrol station bouquet. Having an SCV equips you to do this for your customers – it’s therefore no surprise that 97% of organisations want one too.

Together forever – keeping the romance alive

If you’re in it for the long term then you also need to value the data your customer has entrusted you with, by implementing a comprehensive data governance strategy. Emerging technologies have ushered in a new source of customer intimacy which can allow businesses to use data to illicit stronger emotional bonds.

It’s worth noting that data governance does not need to be a summertime fling. When a framework has been put together, and put into practice this can become business as usual. Consequently, you can be sure that as time goes on you can adapt to changes in the relationship, continue to learn more about them and grow old together happily ever after. When you’re in an established relationship with a solid foundation, accurate profile and SCV, you can confidently enhance and append additional data sources allowing you to gain even greater insight.

Introducing a strategic data quality strategy can help you truly uncover that special someone(s) and provide you with the key to long term happiness and success.

Statistics are taken from Experian’s most recent research report ‘Dealing with the data deluge: Humanising your data strategy’, which is due to be released shortly.  If you’d like to read last year’s Global Research discussion paper, simply download your copy now.