Latest Digital Trends and Business Transformation Stories from the Middle East

3 Steps to Connect Customer Experience

Amanda St L Jobbins
SVP, Marketing & Digital Demand Generation, EMEA & JAPAC

Good data makes marketers smile, but managing that data can send a chill down the spine. Many of us see it as complicated, perhaps something that stifles creativity. But it’s also the foundation of a 360-degree customer view. And without that, marketers have little chance of delivering the personalised experiences their audience expects.

Customers expect frictionless experiences, on any and all platforms, while businesses need to meet the highest levels of governance and transparency. So an excellent Customer Experience now goes beyond the customer service team. Or the sales team. Or the marketing team. Data has become the domain of every department. And delivering the best customer experience possible depends on it being clean, connected and constantly updated.

Step 1: Clean your data

Less duplication and disorder in your data means less information to manage and less time spent managing it. Which in turn means marketers can focus on the customer experience itself.

But it’s essential for governance too. How can you guarantee customer information is in safe hands if you don’t have sight of it across the business? And how can you ensure proper governance if you can’t see all the data you’re collecting? Honestly, we only expect data privacy fines to grow, so this is an issue that’s better addressed sooner rather than later.

This brings us to the main question: how to clean data quickly and effectively. Preparing and cleansing data manually doesn’t really fit the scale and speed you want (and need) in your marketing department. But Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning could help here. Gartner predicts that ML in particular will take on 40-45% of manual data tasks by 2022. And for many companies, cleaning data will be one of those tasks.

Step 2: Connect your data

Good customer experiences aren’t one-way, one-off transactions – they obviously haven’t been for some time now. They’re mobile and fluid, as customers interact with companies across platforms as and when they choose. But the number of systems we need to deliver these improved services has steadily grown, leading to silos of data. And those silos can stand in the way of the frictionless experiences customers are looking for.

World class brands are responding by centralising their data. An open flow of information between teams can help with building equally seamless experiences for their customers.

Take Meliá Hotels. The Spanish hospitality leader recently unveiled a new service, allowing customers to use an electronic bracelet as their room key and a digital wallet across its resorts. And while this service relies on simple Bluetooth technology, it’s the integration of data behind the scenes that makes it all possible.

Step 3: Make your data real-time

You may have connected your systems and automated data management, but is the data constantly refreshed? You want to learn, but also to adapt and evolve quickly, based on changing needs. And this is as much a mindset as a technical requirement.

Most of us want to be more dynamic in our responses to customers. We want to respond quickly to market demands. And that means recognising and reacting to the fact that data is constantly growing and evolving. By enriching our customer profiles with real-time context, we can have better insights and deliver more personalised experiences at the exact moment when they matter most: right now.

Each of these elements is made easier by a more intelligent, cloud-based system. It’s one thing to move data to a new infrastructure, but it’s another to use a data warehouse that actively monitors, detects, and repairs itself, to deliver the level of security you really need. In other words, an autonomous system.

These allow companies to spend less time managing data, and more time doing what matters most – giving customers what they want. After all, the future of data management shouldn’t be about more admin. Instead, you could work in a more integrated way, and differentiate your business.

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