Data is the secret to customer loyalty

By Nigel Lester, Managing Director, ANZ, Pitney Bowes
Monday, 26 June, 2017

Nigel lester carousel

Personalisation and customisation are becoming the key to winning loyalty as customers navigate quickly between digital and physical channels. To remain efficient in this increasingly competitive marketplace, Australian businesses need to acquire a clear, holistic, ‘single view’ of each customer, regardless of how or where they interact with them.

Many organisations are currently facing the challenge of managing customer databases that lack flexibility and agility, resulting in a fragmented, often inaccurate customer profile. A recent study revealed that only 18% of organisations surveyed had eliminated operational silos and had begun to deliver omnichannel experiences for their customers.

Businesses today are collecting greater quantities of customer data that are more diverse and complex than ever. As a first step to transforming customer relationship management, organisations must aggregate that data to understand customers as individuals and engage with them personally. For companies that have already begun, the transition has been shown to be mutually beneficial for both the customer and organisation. A McKinsey report revealed organisations that improve the customer journey see revenues increase by as much as 10–15% while lowering the cost to serve by 15–20%.

The solution lies in a revolutionary data model known as ‘graph databases’, which works with current systems and has the speed and flexibility required to respond to customers in more meaningful ways. As customers evolve and organisations acquire a larger customer database, this flexible paradigm allows for new schemes and data to be easily implemented. Many internet platforms such as Google and Facebook use the graph database approach to deliver fast results and an in-depth, multidimensional view of the customer, providing data that has real business value.

For example, one of Australia’s largest metropolitan councils, Victoria’s Brimbank City Council, had multiple siloed systems that provided disparate customer data, giving a surface-level understanding of the community. By adapting a new model which broke down the siloed approach and gave a complete picture, the council was able to enhance services, giving customers a round-the-clock payment gateway and access to various community-first initiatives. With the right data quality and engagement solutions that offer a multidimensional view of the customer, the council website was able to deliver an optimised user experience and improve customer engagement — and experienced an immediate rise in customer satisfaction.

Managing a cohesive data system may appear challenging for businesses. However, unlike existing relational databases, which traditionally require all information to be known upfront, graph databases have been developed to build structurally over time, evolving based on new inputs and connections as they appear. Business changes can be made incrementally, allowing organisations to see the positive business return without a complete disruption to current processes.

In creating personalised, meaningful interaction with customers, organisations can offer a competitive edge and a higher level of service as they deliver a more proactive, satisfying experience and provide actionable insights in real time.

Nigel Lester is Managing Director (ANZ) for Pitney Bowes, where he is responsible for the delivery of software and services across the company’s customer data, insight, communications, location intelligence and analytics offerings.

Pictured: Nigel Lester.

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