by Solomon Radley, Global Content Strategist, Corinium Intelligence
Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy. New data-driven technologies are already empowering organisations to optimise their supply chains, design more efficient business processes, create new products or services and more besides.
But for the majority of business leaders who want to maximise the value of their data assets, it’s customer data that has the greatest potential to drive ROI in the coming months and years.
“Our vision is to make our customers’ days a little easier,” says Olof Granberg, Director of Big Data and Advanced Analytics Technology at retail giant ICA Gruppen. “What we then use machine learning and AI for is to help simplify that.”
“Data is giving us insights in all aspects,” agrees Girish Agarwal, Director AI Lab at power tool manufacturer Husqvarna Group. “But my personal feeling is that in order to reap the benefits faster and to the maximum, we should use these technologies to get closer to our customers.”
These views are widely held in the global business community. Data storage company Seagate reports that two-thirds of CEOs will be focusing on digital strategies to improve the customer experience (CX) by the end of 2019.
Forrester research shows that insight-driven businesses are already setting the pace for global economic growth. These “customer obsessed” organisations are growing at an annual rate of more than 30 per cent on average.
What’s more, Gartner predicts that more than 40 per cent of data and analytics projects will relate to CX by 2020.
How customer data is driving enterprise ROI
Of course, you don’t have to look to the future to see the impact data-driven initiatives can have on the company bottom line. Data and analytics leaders at the world’s most forward-thinking companies are already using data to transform how their brands interact with customers.
“Since the advent of these interlinked business models and ecosystems, only those initiatives which are integrated with each other are really giving value back to the customer,” says Agarwal.
“We are going to focus on customer engagement and customer delivery,” he continues. “We’re also looking into something we call marketing customisation, where we give personalised offers to our customers based on exactly their needs.”
Juwel Rana, Head of Analytics at Scandinavian fashion retailer Varner, agrees: “You need to be focusing on your customers’ perspectives. We always serve our customers first.”
While every business is different, most follow a similar template when it comes to optimising experiences for their customers. Customer experience optimisation starts with mapping out the various interactions a customer typically has with a brand when they need to achieve a specific goal. Examples of these customer journeys include making a purchase, using a product, renewing a contract or troubleshooting a problem.
The company must then gather and analyse data about each of the key touchpoints on these journeys to identify where there are opportunities to improve the overall experience.
“If you’re doing things right, you’ll have much happier customers,” says Jose A Murillo, CAO at Mexican financial institution Banorte. “You’ll have lengthier relationships with those customers, which means you’ll be able to create customer equity and good, sustainable profits in the long-term.”
Customer insights top the 2020 data agenda
Direct-to-consumer brand Publishers Clearing House is the perfect example of a business with a customer-centric data strategy.
The company has developed more than 500 algorithms which it uses to personalise and enhance the customer experience. Ash Dhupar, the company’s CAO, says just one of his team’s recommendation algorithms generates 43 per cent of the brand’s e-commerce sales.
“We know a lot about our customers and giving them the most relevant and personalised experience is what we’re after,” he says. “We’re doing a lot of stuff in that area, from using personas to one-to-one marketing.”
He believes that developing more accurate personas for key customer groups will enable Publishers Clearing House to refine the targeting of its digital ad campaigns over the next 12 months.
“For our digital acquisition, we will go and find these people on the site,” he explains. “So, when they come in they will find the most relevant products and we can give them the most relevant experience related to what their lifestyle persona is about.”
This is a top priority for many businesses. Forrester reports that 89 per cent of digital businesses are investing in personalisation – including Coca-Cola, Netflix, USAA, and Wells Fargo.
Other data leaders will focus their efforts on identifying and improving points in key customer journeys where poor experiences are currently damaging customer perceptions of their brand.
Some will even develop completely new data-driven tools, products or services designed to make their customers’ lives easier.
But no matter what approach an organisation decides to take, its success will hinge on how effectively it can harness the power of data to develop better experiences for their customers.
To discover which strategies the UK’s top data and analytics leaders are using to deliver superior customer experiences, join Corinium Intelligence this February at our flagship UK conference, Chief Data & Analytics Officers UK 2020.
Taking place at an exclusive location in the heart of London, CDAO UK 2020 is the perfect place to network and learn with hundreds of your peers and hear from more than 60 of the country’s most innovative data leaders.