streams feeding  into a waterfall feeding into a lake
PHOTO: Marie Rouilly

The average brand today manages upwards of five social media accounts, four internal customer systems, multiple transaction platforms for ecommerce, point-of-sale and mobile app purchases and a marketing technology stack that is only growing in complexity. On top of this, businesses have a wealth of customer feedback in the form of product reviews, customer surveys and social posts. The output from this massive technology infrastructure is a tsunami of data that can be convoluted if it isn't reigned in and managed effectively. 

As the variety of customer channels expand across in-store, ecommerce, mobile, social and beyond, the volume, variety, velocity and veracity of big customer data is increasing at an exponential rate. Now add in the complexity and unknown variables driven by COVID limitations, and preserving the relationships between a brand and its established customers has never been more critical or more complicated.

We Need to Get Our Customer Data in Order

The value of existing customers to a business is undeniable:

  • The average business generates 80% of its profits from 20% of its existing customers, according to Gartner.
  • The probability of converting a current customer is 65% on average compared to 10% for a new customer, according to Marketing Metrics.
  • Increasing customer retention by a mere 5% can result in an average profit lift of upwards of 40% for a brand, according to Bain and Company.

Every business today, no matter its size, has an established trove of actionable intelligence from its customers’ behaviors, tendencies, preferences, interactions and opinions. The challenge for most businesses is that the foundation of this intelligence lies fragmented across disparate systems and technology silos that are rarely connected and sometimes even unknown within the organization. Given this, the majority of brands view centralizing, synthesizing, segmenting, analyzing and democratizing their cross-channel customer data into manageable, visualized intelligence as an insurmountable feat. All too often, the perception of impossibility related to getting control of an organization’s data results in avoiding the initiative all together.

However, nearly every industry, from automotive and apparel to food and footwear, has innovative brands that are embracing advanced customer experience intelligence technology to integrate, synthesize, centralize and democratize this dispersed data into organized, manageable, visualized insight in order to identify, understand and motivate their customers. This allows the company to design tailored experiences and deliver personalized engagements, connecting the customer to the brand while putting it on a path towards becoming genuinely customer-centric.

Related Article: The Customer Experience Hierarchy

5 Benefits of Using CX Intelligence Technology

Brands gain five major advantages from using customer experience intelligence technology to get control of their cross-channel big customer data and provide a data-driven understanding of customers to design strategies, deliver experiences and drive innovations.

Data Organization

Many brands, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, are realizing the critical need to inventory, organize and synthesize their data sources and information streams. With upwards of 400 sources producing data in the average company, from point-of-sale systems and product review sites to social media platforms and surveying software, there is a spectrum of disparate data sources that are infinitely more valuable when they are organized and integrated. The increasing complexity of the customer is making the need to understand their evolving decisions and behaviors via their data footprints even more essential.

Customer Understanding

While the complexity of customers has never been higher given their digital savviness, the technical tools available and the evolving real-time changes and limitations in the market, there has never been more insight available to understand them. Intelligence capital, which the Market Research Society defines as “the information, evidence and insight an organization collectively assesses, circulates and acts upon” is basically the data-driven evidence that facilitates a deep, holistic understanding of customer preferences, behavior and engagements. Adopting a methodology and technology approach to intelligence capital sets a foundation for customer understanding.

Related Article: California's CPRA: It's Time to Cut Ties With Old Data

Driving Loyalty

Developing an understanding built on a foundation of intelligence capital allows for brands to deliver robust and relevant engagements that align with a customer’s interests and expectations in order to effectively motivate them. These experiences, once delivered consistently, can start to build affinity and drive loyalty with a focus on ultimately cultivating evangelism for the brand in the customer’s heart and mind. An organized intelligence capital approach allows for this in a manner that is increasingly powerful for the brand and serves as a competitive advantage.

Customer-Centricity

Today, most businesses are largely focused on attempting to embrace a customer-centricity methodology in order to deliver meaningful experiences and build powerful loyalty with customers. Embracing this intelligence capital approach is helping these businesses achieve a genuine customer-centric approach built on a data-driven foundation of evidence. This further empowers each department across the organization to place the customer as a central consideration in their strategies, tactics, engagements and innovations. It also ensures that the organization is work progressing on an established set of fact-based assumptions and intelligence.

Related Article: Is Data Ethics an Oxymoron? Customers Don't Think So

Evidence-Based Decisions

While many brands continue to reluctantly rely on the “see what sticks” marketing approach, businesses that facilitate an advantage of data-driven customer understanding and intelligence capital are able to drive comprehensive, cross-channel engagement strategies from a blend of deep first-party insight and robust third-party research. The ability to manage these data dimensions on an ongoing basis allows the brand to understand real-time shifts and trends in the customers, their business and the market in order to plan and react effectively. 

The Bottom Line

To take advantage of the wealth of customer intelligence that lies within a company’s fragmented, cross-channel customer data, customer-centric brands are relying on advanced data-driven technology to connect these disparate data sources in order to gain a 360-degree view of their customers to identify, understand and motivate them.

Identifying and understanding the behaviors and preferences of the customer allows the brand to personally engage them with unique, strategic value propositions beyond ‘one-size-fits-all’ discounts, sales and coupons that end up eroding both margin and brand equity. Businesses are achieving this by driving the value of the customer experience without sacrificing revenues or margin. 

The key to achieving this is first to change the brand’s mindset that big customer data synthesis is out of reach and then to embrace technology that goes beyond traditional CRM data input systems to deliver data synthesis, analysis and  visualization to deeply understand, effectively engage and ultimately motivate customers to foster their loyalty.