How to make the most out of your customer data

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It’s not acquiring data that is proving challenging for organisations, in fact the opposite is true. Businesses often feel overwhelmed with data and have so much of it that they just don’t know where to start, investing in technologies to help them – which often become the end, rather than the means to the end.

Many brands collect and store data about their customers, but they don’t use it to their full advantage. Customer data is the lifeblood of customer growth. The amount of data that can now be captured about customers provides boundless opportunities for brands. However, when the data is trapped in silos and various departments, it’s difficult to get a complete view of who your customers’ actually are. There are great rewards for the brands who succeed in accelerating their data to get a better understanding of customer behaviours and interests.

This knowledge enables you to predict and deliver the kind of experiences your customers want (and expect) to receive.

Why is customer data so important?
Data science job postings rose 58% in Australia last year and are more than five times higher than they were in 2014. Momentum has shown no sign of slowing in 2019, with postings tracking 30% ahead of the same period last year¹. There’s a reason for this growth.

We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase “data-driven marketing”. This is a strategy that every brand must adopt. Strategy, technology and best-practices won’t have any impact if you’re not applying the insights from the customer data you have. Patrick Teahan, Customology’s Head of Data Science says “essentially, data has two core objectives: a) to help brands inform better decision making and b) to enhance stronger customer communications.”

Customer data enables you to:

Segment your customers more effectively

Point of sale (POS) and additional customer data (i.e. customer/loyalty program data) reveals a lot about who your customers are. As we’ve said many times before, your customers are at completely different stages of the customer lifecycle. Customer data will help you learn more about your customer’s purchase habits and lifestyle preferences, and where they are in the lifecycle. Data is the ‘input’ – with various types of segmentation being the most important ‘output’.

Segmentation can be an overused term, there are many ways in which you can segment customer data. To simplify, we suggest looking at your customer data through these segmentation lenses:

Strategic Segmentation is used for medium – long term decision making, i.e. should we emphasise acquisition of this segment?, should we put together a customer program for that segment?, should we have a dedicated service proposition unit for another segment (e.g. dedicated contact centre for ‘Gold’ or VIP customers), as well as the monitoring.

Tactical Segmentation is all about the immediate to short-term (communications objective) i.e we’re sending a campaign to this group of customers this week? How can we influence the customers behaviour and get them to come back in-store to purchase?

Personalise your marketing campaigns

While strategic segmentation should be used to drive the creation of the framework of communication programs – the broad strokes – the finer details to tailor relevant, tailored messages to customers comes from the tactical segmentation.

Patrick Teahan adds “for example, a brand new customer who has just bought a lounge suite might be channelled into an onboarding program specifically designed for those new to the brand. This program may include an offer to interest these customers in a follow up purchase a month later (among other communications). Tactical segmentation would then be used to tailor this message based on their initial purchase, similar purchases by other customers and other available data (e.g. type of home). In this way, a single customer in a unit block might receive an offer related to a compact dining table, while a customer in a large house in the suburbs could be presented with a new range of outdoor furniture.”

Enhance the customer experience

Use the wealth of data you capture from customer behaviour alongside customer feedback data to enhance the customer journey and overall experience. Discover the pain points and the moments of truth and delight. Customers expect you to know all of this.

Educate your employees on the importance and value of customer data. Encourage them to actively capture customer data as much as possible. Again, this links back to the decision making objective – brands use data to change and improve the way in which they operate. For example the monitoring of customer churn at an aggregate level helps identify decisions which need to be made at a macro level (reduce prices? identify/address product or service gaps relative to competition?/ institute a retention program?).

Customer churn (or perceived propensity to churn) at an individual customer level should drive the nature of communications to the customers in question.

Predict the customer’s behaviour

Thanks to the likes of Amazon and Netflix, customers now expect brands to be one step ahead when it comes to the next product they may like to buy. Customer behavioural data will enable you to predict what the customer will do next. This type of predictive data analysis should be used tactfully – remember there is a fine line between creepy and cool.

Identify how and where you should be spending your budget.

The insights customer data provide enable you to target much more effectively. You will know what your customers are responding to, which messages resonate best and how to get the biggest return on your investment. In addition, data informs decision making such as inventory management, developing trends, staffing and additional resource requirements.

Summary
Personalisation is a major factor of the customer experience. Customer data makes genuine personalisation achievable. It provides the opportunity to build customer relationships and customer loyalty – and ultimately, improve overall customer lifetime value.

It’s imperative that brands make effective use of their customer data. Those who can effectively segment and apply data insights into their core strategies, are sure to realise the greatest return. Take a step back and look at the data you are already collecting and using every day, and seek ways in which you can use the data you have to enhance your customer relationships. Identify new ways you can capture data from your customers.

Customology are specialists in customer lifecycle management. Contact a Customologist today on +61 7 3902 7700 or [email protected] for more information on how we can help you leverage the customer data you already have, and implement an effective customer communications strategy.

Sources:

¹ https://www.hiringlab.org/au/blog/2019/04/30/data-scientists-au/

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