Leveraging Customer Data: How a Cable Company's Failure Can Help You
Fast forward five months when I finally get it together to switch. Yes, as I said, part of loyalty is just complacency. I’m busy, so I just couldn’t find the time to call the competition, or go online. Fortunately, waiting got me an even better deal. But now it’s time to officially cancel with my old company. I make the call to the same customer service line, and it’s as if the actual date staring them in the face makes them realize that I've been with them for 14 years!! This is a very important piece of data about me.
Suddenly, my loyalty means something. Out of thin air comes a competitive offering. The realization of that 14-year loyalty has triggered the realization that if they can avoid the switch now, they can probably rely on me to continue for another 14 years without asking. It’s too late, but now there’s a serious effort to avoid the churn.
This is an issue of data management. They’ve had my history, but it’s either unavailable to certain screens or it’s not something that’s prominent in the field of view for the call center. It’s the question of when one piece of data is important enough to make it top of mind within an organization, for a particular customer. I don’t think this is an issue of data availability, because I assume they knew I’d been a customer for 14 years during my first call. It may be, however, that it’s only available to those at the “crisis” part of the call center.
Data management is the process of controlling the information in such a way that it’s most useful. There’s no way to generalize a solution to data management for an industry or particular company, but there are things you can do to in managing your data to avoid missing the opportunity to keep your customers.
- Data consolidation: Easier said than done, but if you want to leverage data throughout your organization, building the database to have a consistent and complete picture of the customers is “central” to being able to make the customer experience better.
- Data availability: Marketing technology and channel expansion are a blessing a curse. We can now know someone has tweeted about us, but can we make sure that information is included in our data? Facilitating real time connections between channels to the data and then data back to the channels gives us the ability to listen and react, but also be proactive from what we learn about our customers every day.
- Testing: Even with the central database and connectivity across channels, how do we know what data is important. Well, we learn. We learn by testing. We need to dive into the data, see how our customers react to its use. Refine the particular pieces of data that give us the best results. Try again.
The promise of all this customer data is better personalization and better customer experience. It could be that if I’d gotten thanks along the way for my continued loyalty it would have made a difference, but it certainly would have helped to have my loyalty recognized at the first sign of trouble. The peril of not leveraging the data, particularly when it comes to loyalty where you have the most robust customer data, is the loss of the customer.
John Sisson is the President of Westwood, Mass.-based Wilde Agency, an agency that creates digital marketing and direct marketing powered by behavioral science to drive superior results for leading brands.