Research shows that organisations that are structured around the customer generate seven times the return of their counterparts that are product, service, sales or geographically orientated. However, a study from McKinsey reveals that only eight per cent of companies are succeeding to integrate insight and analytics effectively, meaning a staggering 92 per cent of organisations that attempt customer centricity do not achieve it.
So with so much to gain, but a strong chance of failure, how do organisations increase the chance of success?
Firstly, it is difficult to integrate insight and analytics into a business if the corporate strategy is misaligned with the business and functional strategy. Consequently, the desire for customer centricity must come from the top and filter down. In reality however, it is often the other way round, coming from the marketing or operations teams.
To make customer centricity a priority there must be at least one sponsor at the top of the organisation. This should preferably be a C-level executive, who propounds and reinforces the benefits of data driven decision making and encourages such practice at all levels of the organisation. A commonality amongst the eight per cent of organisations that succeed with customer centricity is that thy have a data focused C-Suite.
What is clear from the above is that an organisation’s culture can be one of its most powerful assets. Conversely it can also be a significant thorn in its side. If insight and analytics aren’t already entrenched in the way an organisation operates it can be difficult to change the mindset of the entire company to focus around the customer and use data to make decisions that will ultimately benefit the customer. If this is the case it is critical to implement a culture change programme otherwise the danger is that analytics and insight just become expensive wallpaper. Unfortunately customer centricity is not just a label you can slap on the organisation and wait for the transformation to happen. In order to integrate data, insight and analytics across the business there needs to be the right data architecture in place. Only then will the right people have access to the right data. It’s the same as building a house: without the correct foundations, it will collapse. All too often
businesses chasing customer centricity buy the bells and whistles from obliging software firms without first ensuring they have the structure in place to support them.
And finally, the old adage GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out) is one of the most important lessons when it comes to the success of customer centricity. Analytics and insight can only ever be as powerful as the data that drive them. If the quality of the data is poor, then so too is its output. Consequently understanding what you want to achieve and making quality data available must be a priority. This includes a regular data hygiene regime which cleans the data to ensure that it is both GDPR compliant and up to date. For instance, as a result of Coronoavirus sadly the death rate in the UK is higher than average meaning that more people are passing away which has led to an increased rate of data decay. If people that have passed away are not removed from a database then analytics will be flawed as they are based on inaccurate data.
Increasingly CRM providers are recognising the important of accurate, up-to-date data and are providing solutions for their users that enable them to clean their data securely, cost effectively and easily. Alternatively, for non-CRM users there are many solutions available on the market which enable organisations to screen their data.
Ultimately, however, for businesses wanting to be truly customer centric data should be treated as a corporate asset. The decision to become customer centric is just a small part of the battle; the journey to get there is the hard part. However, a true desire to integrate insight and analytics into the DNA of the business data can be used to power advanced tools that changes the face of decision making which in turn leads to significant returns.