Integration of customer data across all customer touch points is key for achieving a holistic view of customers and responding appropriately at each interaction along their journey.
Organisations that successfully integrate their customer data are able to better target, engage, sell and satisfy prospects and customers.
Senior-level marketers who have successfully integrated their customer data ranked their effectiveness at creating a cohesive customer journey higher than those who didn’t, according to Salesforce’s The State of Marketing Leadership released in December 2014.
While only a small number of companies (17%) claimed to have fully integrated their customer data across all areas of the organisation, almost all those who did (97%) said that they were either somewhat or very effective at creating a cohesive customer journey across all touch points.
Despite its importance, many organisations are still struggling to optimise the cross-channel customer journey. Creating a 360-degree customer view requires the enterprise to not only capture the customer information from email, social media and websites, but also to integrate data from various business systems including CRM, ERP, customer support, logistics and even third-party services, such as credit check services.
With all this information at their fingertips, accessible via a central interface – usually the CRM – employees can provide a cohesive journey for their customers by communicating relevant information at the desired time via the desired channel.
Here are five tips for customer data integration that help optimise the customer journey.
1. Stick to the essentials
To ensure data relevance, start with the end objective in mind. Have a plan with a measurable outcome. This could mean goals such as reducing the amount of duplicate data entry or improving customer satisfaction by a certain amount.
Be very specific about your goals upfront and then decide which data is going to drive the actions within each specific application. Prioritise the records and fields you need based on the answer to that question and strip out everything else.
2. Clean and standardise customer data
Data quality is a top issue. Your CRM is a key tool for your business. You need to prevent the garbage in, garbage out syndrome. The integrated solution should include built-in validations to avoid duplicate data and make sure that it is attributed to the correct customer, lead, contact or account before it gets committed into your CRM system.
3. Keep an eye on performance
Define latency or throughput requirements at the outset of any integration project. Minimise the amount of data processed by synchronising – integrating only new data or data that has changed – thereby filtering out any unnecessary records. Make sure you can scale up easily as information requirements increase and the company grows.
4. Focus on mobile
Since you are already thinking how to improve your customers’ journey, it makes sense to think about which processes and functionalities can benefit the most by being mobile.
By bringing relevant data and processes to the right people when and where they need it and making it actionable, your mobile app can increase operational efficiencies and improve productivity for customers, partners, and employees.
For example, location services can add a lot of value to your sales force by helping them reach customer locations quickly and increase sales opportunities by enabling them to see nearby customers when they have an open window.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Empower line-of-business users with access to all information through their familiar CRM platform. Leverage information found in legacy systems. With an eye on ROI, data quality, performance and tools to boost developer efficiency, customer data integration can provide all customer-facing employees with the relevant information they need to increase sales and enhance customer loyalty.
Sourced from Stephan Romeder, GM, Magic Software Europe