4 Ways to Make the Most of Your Customer Data

By Kerry Young on Oct 25, 2019

Whoever understands the customer best, wins. Author Mike Gospe (@mikegospe) dropped that piece of wisdom into the Twittersphere, and as data management fanatics, we have to agree.

For both B2B and B2C enterprises, reliable data is nothing short of indispensable. Sadly, many organizations find themselves drowning in fragmented data instead of leveraging it to improve the effectiveness of customer relationships. This is especially true in the digital age, where data floods in at an overwhelming volume and rate.

Think about the mountain of customer data your business has accumulated. What are you actually doing with it? Is it a barrier to your success, or are you prepared for the summit?

In this article, we’re discussing four key ways to make your customer data count, along with pro tips for applying master data management (MDM) to turn that mountain of data into a strategic business asset.

Four Ways to Make Your Customer Data Count

#1.  Get to know your customer (hello, loyalty)

Customer data is extremely complex; it multiplies and changes over time. Companies must pay attention to life events and preference changes that may impact your customer relationships and communication.

For B2C, examples include variations in your customer’s names (marriages, divorce, etc.), a move to a new home, buying a vacation home, having a child, etc.

In the B2B world, businesses flex and grow with acquisitions, mergers, relocations, etc. Your individual contacts get new jobs or take on new territories.

Businesses can use a consolidated view of customer data to generate a more thorough understanding of the customer, their preferences, and the impact of each interaction. When you truly get to know your customer, you can work towards building an even deeper sense of loyalty.

PRO TIP:  Use data quality rules to intelligently capture, cleanse, and match for the most up-to-date customer information. Organizations can also use Customer MDM to establish survivorship of records and data relationships for an accurate view of customer information in the right context. 

#2:  Reduce your risk

Customer data protection is an important topic, particularly in light of some of the major breaches in the last few years. Companies must ensure regulatory compliance with industry standards and privacy laws – and having well-managed customer data can help you do just that!

A big one, particularly for healthcare companies, is HIPAA. This privacy rule establishes standards to protect individuals from having their medical records and other health related information shared without their permission. It sets limits and conditions on the use of personal health information and gives patients’ rights to their health records. MDM can ensure healthcare organizations are in compliance with HIPAA regulations by consolidating siloed patient health information across multiple business systems and enforcing consistent business rules around that data.

Another key area, MDM helps companies manage customers is the General Data Protection Regulation. GDPR is a compliance standard that protects the consumer. It keeps us from being solicited by companies without our permission. If someone has not opted in to receive their marketing content, they can be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars. MDM helps by allowing companies to combine all operational master data pertaining to a customer including their consent to be contacted across all customer-facing channels. With a 360-degree view of their customers, companies can prevent multiple sales or service staff reaching out and sending inappropriate emails to someone who is not interested in their products or services.

Finally, when it comes to regulations, compliance is key, but so is agility. Whatever your industry, whatever your business, you must make sure your company is prepared to not only comply, but be future-ready for whatever regulatory changes come next.

PRO TIP:  Use Customer MDM for data governance with continuous monitoring of data quality and customer activity. You’ll get reliable data matching and merging capabilities to prevent data duplication and inconsistency – plus, visibility of where, how, and why customer data is used by any downstream systems, with the ability to link and track this information to each source.

#3:  Make it personal

Remember, the plan is to get to know your customers. Here’s where you put it into action. A repository of high-quality, enriched customer data can make your interactions more personal and targeted with tailored campaigns.

As consumers, we want to feel like a company knows us and our interests. It is important for B2C and B2B organizations to have visibility into their customers’ journeys to better determine cross-sell, upsell and future purchase opportunities. In addition, companies need to understand who their most active and loyal consumers are so they can acknowledge these individuals with special offers and discounts.

Today’s trend is to leverage customer data to anticipate a customer’s needs before they even know they have them. This is the type of next-level personalization that’s key to competing in the digital, AI-driven era.

Companies can improve their personalization efforts by establishing relationships and hierarchies within their data to help tailor marketing offers and campaigns.

PRO TIP:  Use Customer MDM to gain visibility into customer behavior through reporting and analytics, and put product recommendations, cross-selling, upselling, and promotions into action. Personalization can also be enhanced by linking and enriching customer data with information from third-party systems.

#4:  Combine customer data with other domains for a BIG impact

Customer data is powerful, but when companies can relate their customer data to other data entities, like product or location, it can be revolutionary. The area of cross-domain intelligence is a really rich topic (you can read more here), but the crux of it is: If you understand who your customer is, what they buy and why, where they buy it, and what they might want next, you have a lot of insight to work with.

Data analytics teams and the right data management infrastructure are desperately needed by companies to help transform their heaps and heaps of data across domains into actionable business insights.

PRO TIP:  Leverage MDM with a Multi-Domain approach to “connect the dots” and drive business intelligence. Multi-Domain MDM helps organizations gain extraordinary insights around the relationships between products, customers, suppliers, locations, etc.

Learn more about Customer MDM

Managing customer data is a big topic, and we’ve just scratched the surface. To learn more, we invite you to download our overviews:

Customer MDM for B2B

Customer MDM for B2C

About the author

Kerry Young

Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.

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