By Daniel Cantorna, Vice President, Data, Insight and Technology, Asia Pacific at Collinson
The pandemic has changed the way we transact. Cut off from our ability to shop and interact physically due to global lockdowns and travel restrictions, most of us have accelerated the extent to which we conduct our lives online—in a bid to stay connected. And your customers are no different.
As online behaviours have become increasingly sophisticated, consumers’ expectations have also increased—with most now demanding frictionless online experiences that deliver highly personalised offers. A recent study by Salesforce revealed that 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and preferences, in turn delivering an optimal customer experience. The increasing digital influence on customers’ purchasing decisions is resulting in consumers today being far less likely to choose in-store shopping if there is a compelling online alternative for transacting available.
In other words, this shift to enhanced online experiences has become the norm, and this isn’t going away anytime soon. The growing digitisation of customer interactions means understanding online behaviour is more important now than ever; and businesses who invest in managing their first party data today will have an advantage over competitors tomorrow.
In the world of personalisation, context is king
Increasingly aware of consumer expectations, marketers are investing their time in better identifying customers’ offline and online actions—to build a more complete and accurate profile. In the world of personalisation, context is king. The same individual may be a business leader, a holidaymaker, a parent, a sibling, and a partner, and in each of these contexts, their buyer behaviours create different data signals. It is for data professionals to understand this context, identify the data that exists, highlight any gaps and then fill them in order to enable the delivery of truly personalised experiences in the right context, at the right time.
Having a customer data platform (CDP), that creates a Single Customer View (SCV) has the benefit of gathering important pieces of information about your customer to fully understand their transactional or behavioural patterns and preferences. It provides a solid foundation to effectively link their data from all sources and channels to achieve an integrated view of the customer. Building this Single Customer View is the first step to eliminate gaps that are formed due to silos in data management.
The next key step is to understand whether you have enough data held on each profile, and if the data held will enable you to understand your customer in context.
Don’t just digitalise—humanise
Once you have a clear overview of individual customers’ profiles and transactional information, it’s then important to humanise the data—which involves leveraging the data held to understand an individual’s habits, what is important to them, how and when they prefer to be engaged and in turn having empathy for their pain points. This in-depth insight will help you to improve the relationship between your brand and the customer, as the interactions will be timely and topical—designed to make their lives easier, or more enjoyable. Employing a question-based approach will ensure that you always hold the latest insights and will help ensure that your customer profiles evolve as your customers’ needs change over time; in turn enabling your brand to remain relevant into the future.
Ask the right questions
So, which questions will you be asking first, and what are the most important questions to ask of your data today? How will you identify and fill the data gaps in order to make decisions and personalise your customer experience? Building a strong data culture is a key process that goes beyond the data team and needs to be continuously nurtured within your organisation, across all departments. This ‘all hands-on deck’ approach helps to ensure your brand maintains an agile retention strategy, in turn reducing customer churn by remaining relevant, and thus maximising the lifetime value of the customer.