Terms such as ‘big data’ and customer insights are the today’s buzz words. Yet, few organisations are using data effectively.
How much information does your organisation have about its existing customers? How much insight does your organisation hold about its potential customers?
We are moving from the information age to the knowledge age, and what is absolutely clear is that to be successful, you have to know (have knowledge of) your customer.
Organisations generally fall into two categories: Those who have very little customer data, and those who have too much customer data.
Let’s be clear that understanding who your customers are, how long they’ve been customers, what they buy and how much they spend is not real customer data. This kind of data is historical, and whilst it has its use, it is entirely useless in terms of predicting future behaviour.
Some marketers believe that the more information you have, the better. The question is, the better for what?
I’ve had personal experience in corporate where this month we were bent on collecting our customer’s birthdays. The next month, we were more focused on analytics to determine things like the spend of our customers. And the next month we wanted to know where we could find new customers. This lack of focus drove us nuts and didn’t endear us to our customers either. Sound familiar?
The starting point is not how to gather the information, for that is comparatively simple. The real beginning of this journey, and a journey it is, is to work out what you will do with the data you gather.
The real question is why do you want to have information about your existing and potential customers? What is it that you are seeking to learn? Collecting information is expensive. It may not cost your business directly in terms of money, but it certainly bears a cost of time. Given that time is money, the benefits of using the information must outweigh the costs of collecting it, analysing it and making intelligent sense of it.
Whatever the purpose, data collection must result in organisational intelligence. If the information that you gather does not enable the business to perform better – either in terms of your offerings versus your competitors, or your product/service delivery to customers versus their expectations – then the time and effort invested to gather, analyse and make sense of the data has not been justified.
Just like anything in business, gaining insights into your customers requires a plan as step 1. Once you understand what you will do with the data you have, or will collect, then you can work out how much time (money) to invest versus the returns the business can anticipate. Starting to collect customer data without having a detailed plan, with resources allocated to that plan, for the use of the data is an absolute waste of resources. Without a formalised plan, whatever data you collect will lie like a dormant oak seed – it’s incredible potential wholly unrealised.
So, what’s your plan?
Don’t have a plan yet to achieve meaningful business performance and customer satisfaction improvements as a result of the effective use of data? In2Great Consulting can help. Contact us here or mail us at info@in2GreatConsulting.com.