No one questions that getting your messages through to customers is very, very hard. Some say organisations have lost control altogether and that today's model has customers owning your brand marketing. A recent article on Globe Telecom highlighted how important analytics is in the search to be heard in a very noisy market. Ernest Cu, CEO of Globe Telecom, and recently announced as CEO of the year by CIO Asia, discusses the six ways to better align yourself with your customers. I thought I would share some insights on how to kick start your customer alignment journey to improve your cut through under this new decision making model.
1. Collect as much of the right data as possible
Through all the noise it's key to identify the relevant data. Look for information that describes customer behaviour, life stage and environment. Begin with the obvious like transactional data and customer profile detail from your CRM. Then look for less core, such as support touch points, web interaction, email and voice. You will need to be able to look into text based analytics in order to draw insight from some of these sources. While a little more complex, the combination of structured data with unstructured data provides more powerful insights into the customer buying process.
2. Create a 360 degree customer view that includes data from every relevant source
Most CRM systems hold a very narrow perspective of your customer, traditionally lacking granularity on interactions, service, transactions and networks. In the 1990s we failed to achieve a single customer view through attempts to store everything into a single CRM application. With data now strewn across the enterprise in various application silos, attempts have been made to virtually aggregate a single customer view. Master data management capabilities allow us to see a single view of the customer without needing to physically centralise the data. These capabilities allow us to easily tap into information silos without the mess of data movement, and reduce the fear felt by line of business managers. It is very important in making sure not to annoy your customers - ever had an email or call from a company offering you a product you already have?
3. Build customer intelligence on top of the data warehouse
Leading companies are moving towards analytical data warehouses (ADW). The business intelligence approach to slicing and dicing data is now a commodity, and gaining the competitive edge means using business analytics on your data. The key is to look for relevant data that impacts decision making. An ADW is an environment where analysts can prepare, model, explore and test different hypotheses against the data. For example these hypotheses could look to support understanding into a customer’s propensity to buy a product based on age, marital status, existing basket contents, location and event.
4. Automate inbound and outbound communications
All the insight in the world is useless if it’s not used. The return on investment comes from bringing the insight to the point of decision. To this end look at how you can expose the business rules supporting your insight at the point at where your customer interacts with your company. It could be a pop up on your website or a customised script for the call centre operator. This type of responsiveness, and your ability to sustainably move faster than your competitors, requires automation with real-time decision management of the end-to-end analytical process from preparation-to-insight-to-action
5. Add scope and analytical sophistication as you go
Business analytics is a journey. There is incremental value as you progressively add more analytic capability. Start off looking at trend analysis on which factors most influence what behaviours. Then move on to looking at different ways to gather more information, like text-based data sources or external sources like social networks. As you become more comfortable, look at more advanced analytical techniques, for example, using customer relationship/network information to improve your profiling, segmentation and targeting to track customer influence network. As the market environment is always changing the shelf life of a model is limited. As such you should always look at new models to challenge your existing champion model to ensure you are getting the highest impact.
6. Make analytical insights available at customer touch points across marketing, sales and service
Insight must be shared across the business departments. The service side and the sales side can learn from each other and it's important that analytics provides a platform to collaborate and share that insight. As you develop your analytical capabilities ensure you look at an effective communication and visualisation plan that simply identifies how the analytical insight is aligned to the different customer based key performance indicators.
Recent economic events, like the global financial crisis, have left customer confidence at an all-time low, and they are looking for new brands to trust in. The social internet has moved marketing from a push to a pull model. Under the new model, leading organisations like Globe Telecom are leveraging analytics to improve their customer alignment. Competitive advantage will rely on the ability to look for the relationships and patterns in data that impact the new customer decision making process. This is where analytical talent is crucial to sustained success.