How to Streamline The Customer Experience with Data Integration

How to Streamline The Customer Experience with Data Integration

Data integration, in its purest sense, is a careful and methodical blend of data coming from different sources, making it more useful and valuable than a single point of data would have been on its own.

Customer experience, defined as the impression your customer has of your brand at any touchpoint, either with people or product, and should be the main focus of every department.

While these two areas seem to be unrelated, the two actually make a perfect match, and a mashup of the two concepts has innumerable advantages.

The benefits of doing so are great, for your sales and customer service teams as well as for your customers, as you’ll discover when you read on.

»  The Benefits for Your Sales and Customer Service Teams

Data integration can help your sales and customer service teams gain a 360-degree view of their customers.

In fact..

54% of marketing executives in the Forbes Insights survey said just that.

This dramatic view is possible because now data is drawn in “from a wide variety of sources that were previously inaccessible.”

This newly accessible information provides options far beyond what was ever possible before, bringing better benefits, too.

› Hyper-Relevant Messages

Companies are well aware of the sales and marketing tactic of email blasting their customers with a message.

Thankfully..

Those days are coming to a close due to a more effective, engaging way to get your message across successfully. Sending hyper-relevant messages to a specifically targeted audience is the new tactic—and one that is more useful and welcome.

Other hyper-relevant messages can be delivered via:

Addressable advertising
Individualized personalization on a website
Suppressed online advertising based on purchase data
Changing ads or offers based on purchase behavior
Changing channels (mobile, etc.) based on customer preference

Response rates have soared, especially when coupled with real-time targeting.

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› Real-Time Capabilities

Having the power to see customer analytics and having the ability to act on them in real time gives a serious upper hand to customer service reps. Allowing an alignment of strategy for retaining loyal customers at every touchpoint most certainly makes a positive difference.

Forbes published a Harvard Business Review study showing some very promising stats regarding real-time benefits:

85% cite improved customer experiences
58% cite speedier decision making
53% cite better collaboration between marketing, sales, service, and operation

› Customer Loyalty

Winning customers over is the easy part. Keeping them, when so many other brands are constantly vying for their attention and wallets, is another.

When sales teams know their customers, inside and out, a real opportunity presents itself for personalization. You’ll know everything, including where they spend their money, how much they spend, when they do it, and through what means.

You can even predict what, where, when, and how they are going to do it again. This allows you to customize your offers and promotions directly to what each customer wants, all but ensuring they’ll make a purchase.

However..

That’s not enough.

The key to keeping your customers coming back again and again, ignoring the blare made from hundreds of others competing for their attention, is to form a relationship and let them know how much you care about them personally. This is much more easily accomplished with data integration.

› Other Benefits

Build trust with customers
Learn what your current and prospective customers actually want
Cross-sell products and services
Access the information you need from anywhere, anytime
Reduce the need for paper documents
Control data quality
Raise your reputation
Save time and money
Keep sensitive information secure

» The Benefits for Your Customer

The benefit of data integration for your customers is that they will finally get what they want: a productive partnership so they can enjoy a collaborative relationship and a better, more streamlined service.

› Gaining a Partnering Relationship

Consumers are no longer powerless, waiting for companies to tell them what they want and then waiting for it to be delivered. These days, consumers want to be collaborative partners with the businesses they frequent.

Sharing personal information and knowing it will be used properly is part of the deal. Three-quarters of consumers believe businesses gain the most from shared data.

These consumers expect to gain offers, perks, and a listening ear in return for their data and expect their data to be kept secure.

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› Streamlined Service

Speaking of “a better collaboration between marketing, sales, service, and operation,” this is a major benefit gained from data integration.

There are often times when a customer needing help must be directed between two or three departments, such as from customer service to sales.

This juggling is quite unnerving for customers who get frustrated with the time it takes to explain, sometimes over and over again, the issue at hand. The disparity customers often receive from different agents is frustrating and drives customers elsewhere for their future needs.

Fortunately..

A fully integrated data management system solves this huge concern because every detail of every customer interaction is shared between departments in real time. The whole team can get on board quickly and come to a satisfactory conclusion, keeping customers satisfied with the ease and quickness in which their issue is resolved.

› Other Benefits

A more pleasant shopping experience
More personalized and relevant content
Valuable perks and offers
A consistent experience between devices

6 Steps to Take to Make Data Integration Possible and Successful

Don’t make the foolish mistake of assuming that just because you gather data, it is relevant and useful.

If not implemented correctly, you run the risk of having disparate, incomplete, inaccessible data that is not good for much of anything.

Without a thorough strategy (and a good data integration company behind it), you run the risk of falling into the same struggles many other businesses have had, namely:

55% feel they don’t have enough data and insights for personalization
46% only have data from a few channels
27% do not have any connected channels
31% have trouble accessing their data

Other struggles include data management being time-consuming and having trouble integrating both online and offline data.

While these numbers sound a little discouraging, the truth is they all represent preventable blunders.

Here are the six steps to make data integration not only possible but a widely successful endeavor:

1. Find a champion who will move organizational barriers with influence and insight.

2. Focus on customer results and capturing outcomes of retention, loyalty, and revenue.

3. Use data to support the process both before and after data integration.

4. Test and test again for usability, not settling for incompatibilities or incomplete data.

5. Stay focused on personalization at scale from every customer touchpoint.

6. Innovate around the customer and their valuable insights.

Conclusion

With 78% of organizations having or developing a customer data platform, you can’t afford to wait any longer before jumping on the data integration bandwagon.

Of those marketing executives who have already forged ahead..

93% of them anticipate that the data and analysis received “will create a noticeable shift in their ability to meet disruptive and competitive challenges.”

Being left behind when your competitors are speeding ahead puts you in a dangerous position of becoming irrelevant.

Don’t let this happen!

Do your research, find a highly specialized data integration partner, and work toward a successful implementation so that your sales team and customer service representatives can finally have the tools they need to offer a superior overall experience for every customer.

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Annabelle Smyth

Annabelle Smyth is a freelance writer located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She enjoys writing about leadership, HR, and employee engagement. She has most recently worked with DocInfusion. When not writing and educating herself, you can find her hiking the canyons with her dog and friends.

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