We're collecting more and more data every day, through every channel. And many believe that such a vast amount of data will somehow add up to reveal a consistent identity – a unified picture of a consumer that can aid personalization and customer experience initiatives.
I hate to break the news, but that's an over-exaggeration. Data can't be a game-changer for your company unless your data is organized. Without cross-channel identification, all the data in the world can't array itself into a neat, synchronized snapshot of your customer when it really counts.
This often comes to a head when customers reach out to companies, and that's almost always in search of assistance – a time when they're expecting a certain level of service that anticipates their needs. Those moments are decisive in the customer's journey!
But the inability to anticipate and react to customer needs quickly leads to a sub-par customer experience. And a bad customer experience means a lost customer more often than not. In fact, a report by Ovum found that 82 percent of consumers in Australia, Europe, New Zealand and the US said they would stop doing business with a company following a bad customer experience.
These obstacles are best addressed with preference management, which benefits the company in ways that prevent and minimize the potential for poor customer experience interactions, while also boosting marketing outreach efforts.
Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication, is an essential tool in creating seamless user experiences, customer engagement and, most importantly, a whole picture where there were once just pieces.
Data fragmentation can be an overwhelming challenge for marketers – but it also burdens the rest of the company at critical points in the customer journey. Without cross-channel identification and wide views of the consumer, the company is left with pieces of the puzzle that never quite add up, leaving themselves open to poor customer interactions at those important moments. Having a lot of data is one thing, knowing how to connect it is another.
Is your data supporting the best customer experiences possible? Or are you losing consumers at crucial moments?
Eric V. Holtzclaw is Chief Strategist of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores in the summer of 2013. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.
Labels: cross-channel identification, customer engagement, customer experience, customer journey, data, data fragmentation, marketing, personalization, preference management, user experience