Data and the Search for Deeper Customer Relationships
Peter Drucker, the legendary management consultant, is quoted as saying: “The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” If only customer relationships were that easy. Technology has leveled the playing field, providing potential and existing customers with access to information to make more informed decisions around engagement. The challenge for companies within any industry is to find ways to meaningfully deepen existing relationships. The answer may be leveraging customer data better.
The financial services industry provides an interesting case study of the aforementioned challenge. In addition to increased transparency via technology, it faces a multiplicity of headwinds, including:
- Competitive fee pressure
- Declining margins
- Changing demographics
Broadridge recently interviewed (Opens as a PDF) 10 asset management firm CMOs, representing a broad spectrum of firms, ranging from mid-tier to very large. Their insights into how firms are rethinking client engagement, specifically the extent to which they are leveraging data and analytics to deepen the client relationship, may prove useful to others facing similar challenges.
The interviews we held with these CMOs yielded three important themes:
- Customer Data Needs to Be Viewed and Accessed More Holistically, Across the Organization. Qualitative information, in combination with quantitative data, will drive more complete personas and better segmentation. This is essential to unlocking the power of customer journey mapping.
- Customer Journey Maps Are Essential to Integrating a Firm’s Resources and Delivering a Consistent Client Experience. Unfortunately, very few firms have actually mapped out a holistic view of the client relationship. There appears to be little alignment between teams, with disagreement over who owns (or leads) the client engagement. Siloed and disconnected activities can disrupt and confuse clients.
- Few Products or Services Can Escape Commoditization, in the Eyes of Clients. Therefore, content marketing is rising in importance and is essential for staying relevant. It is critical to get the right content to the right customer at the right time. The best way to ensure doing this is integrating the previous two themes. More detailed segmentation built around client needs will inform the type of content, its frequency and best medium.
In the face of these, how can companies evolve to be more client-centric? What does it take to tie the customer journey together for a better client experience?
- C-Suite Buy-in: Senior leadership has to lead the way by setting the goal for the firm.
- Assign Ownership: Given all the unique parts of the value chain that have to come together, someone has to own the process of ensuring that internal buy-in and execution takes place.
- Hire the Right Talent: You need to bring professionals on board who understand quantitative data and the qualitative business environment.
- Conduct an Audit Regarding Client Data: Ask yourself and your teams: "How is data collected? Where does it reside? Who is accessing it? Who is ultimately responsible for its quality and management?"
- Segmentation: Your client journey map must be informed by more robust data and advanced analytics, leading to a full segmentation strategy.
Technology has changed the landscape for both corporations and individuals. But access to information has not changed the maxim that companies would not exist without clients. The good news is that we have better tools to facilitate a better level of engagement. All it takes is leveraging them.