Understanding customers is something nearly every business will struggle with, and knowing what they want is critical to the success of an organisation.
This is where the proliferation of data poses a real problem, as growing quantities of information gathered by businesses can make it difficult to really identify individual customers. In turn, this means it can be an issue to get an accurate idea of who they are in order to build sustainable relationships.
To understand customers and solve this 21st century problem, businesses will have to consider a truly 21st century solution.
This year, IBM predicts that there will be a need for 4.4 million data scientists across the globe.
Understanding your customers
Technology giant IBM notes that large sets of information are constantly being generated, in a trend that’s also known as Big Data. There is so much data being generated that the organisation predicts a significant rise in the need for experts to process this information. This year, IBM predicts there will be a need for 4.4 million data scientists globally.
Businesses gather data from a substantial number of areas. For example, an outbound call centre will log when staff call, what they call about and any other issues that arise in the conversation. Outbound call centres will also likely log when staff make offers to customers for various products and services.
Given data growth, and the difficulty in actually handling it, many companies are likely to be neglecting the possibilities. With data effectively under control within an organisation, it’s possible to build a unique picture of every customer. In effect, this means developing a greater understanding of the people who are critical to the success of a company.
Achieving control over data, and subsequently a greater understanding of customers, is possible through a modern solution – one capable of performing tasks such as address verification and data matching.
Reliable – and consistent – customer information
Creating synchronised and reliable customer information across an organisation is possible with the right technology and processes. Below are three of the most effective ways of ensuring customer data is consistent.
One of the first steps in improving customer records should be to de-duplicate data. This involves identifying any records that represent the same customer, based on pre-defined criteria. To ensure that this duplication isn’t a problem, businesses can make decisions with regards to merging files and removing duplicates.
De-duplication can then be used on an ongoing basis to ensure systems remain free of unnecessary data.
Similar to de-duplication, matching compares data sets (one or more) to a set of matching rules. Then, it’s possible to identify common relationships across different data sets. When searching for information in the future, businesses can quickly identify the right customer.
This is especially useful in a call centre context, when finding the correct data in a short space of time is important.
Master Data Management
A term commonly known as MDM, this involves the various processes, policies, governance and standards needed to define and manage customer data. Essentially, it’s about providing a single point of reference for the business. Like de-duplication and data matching, MDM can prove useful on an ongoing basis.
Understanding who customers are isn’t an altogether difficult task, it just involves getting the underlying data pertaining to them in order. From then on, it’s easy to accurately identify customers.
To learn more about making effective use of customer data in order to form stronger relationships, consider speaking to the experts at Mastersoft. The rate of data generation isn’t going to slow at any point in the near future, and effective controls are the best way to effectively understand who customers actually are.