Companies risk losing customers if they ignore consumer data they have to hand

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New survey from insight firm Transactis shows 4 out 5 of consumers will defect if sent irrelevant marketing messages

New research from customer insight and database marketing specialist Transactis reveals that if consumers are continually sent irrelevant offers and communications by a company that they have given personal information to, the vast majority will at best cease accepting communications from that firm and stop providing it with details on themselves, and at worst take their business elsewhere.

Nearly 80% of the 2,000 UK consumers surveyed said they would likely shift their business to a competitor if a company they have already given personal information to keeps sending them irrelevant offers and communications.

Nearly as worrying for firms communicating directly with their customers was the finding that 88% of respondents said that they would not provide any further details on themselves if a company fails to take note of information they have previously provided and keeps contacting them with poorly targeted marketing messages, and 86% said they were very likely to withdraw permission for a firm to contact them further under such circumstances.

The Transactis survey, which was balanced by gender, age, region and social class, also found that 81% of respondents would seriously question the competence of a firm that asked for their details, either through a print form or online, when they know that company already has that data.

Transactis has dubbed the failure of a company to take note of or make use of customer data that it has gathered in the course of its day-to-day operations – or those of various arms of the business – in its marketing and customer management activities as ‘data wastage’.

For many companies, the absence of a single database for customer information lies at the heart of their ‘data wastage’ problem. Multi-channel interaction with customers means that data is being obtained from different sources – website, email, post, phone, text, face-to-face – all the time and often in real-time. And in many companies, departments such as sales, marketing, delivery, customer service and credit all maintain their own databases, while many hold separate records in head office and regional branches. All too often, most of this information is never pulled together.

Peter Thompson, Commercial Director at Transactis, comments: “Data wastage is simply a failure to use the full range of information at a company’s disposal to inform communications with customers, and it can often lead organisations to create poorly targeted and ineffective marketing messages that, in turn, alienate consumers and ultimately cost the firm business.”

“What this research does highlight is that consumers now expect – not just want – the companies they deal with to provide offers and communications that are relevant to them. This means that they require them to know their preferences in terms of the products and services they want, the channels they want communications to come through, and the right time to send messages sent to them. Those organisations that do not act on the data they already have to hand do so at their peril.

“As the research shows, the vast majority of consumers would choose to take action against offending companies by providing less data, restricting the ability to communicate with them, and even taking their business to a competitor. While the more immediate impact of such actions includes lost business, as well as more restricted marketing and customer insight capabilities – or even the ability to maintain a customer relationship – an organisation’s reputation could be seriously affected over the long term, which could impact the health of a brand and share value.

“Eliminating data wastage needs to be a top priority for all organisations. Creating a ‘single customer view’ – whether in-house or with a specialist partner – is an essential step towards avoiding data wastage and creating a platform for better targeting, more efficient marketing communications and improved capabilities for many other activities critical to business success.”

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