We live in the era of big data. Those companies have a competitive advantage that collect the most data about their prospects and customers and transform it into useful information. Predicting what a customer wants to buy and when he is willing to purchase is in the crystal ball in which every company wants to look in. This knowledge enables them to address their customers with relevant offers specifically tailored at their needs. Therefore the aim of a company in our days should be to possess as many personal and behavioral data of their customers as possible.

But how do you get to know your customers? Market research and customer satisfaction analyses are established ways that are applied by most companies. A large amount of interactional data and social insights about customers and customer behavior are generated by transactions, e.g. in web statistics or customer communications. Also geo-based data are important sources of information that are used for analytics. Tracking those data and using the retrieved knowledge can create further business opportunities. In this regard, our data heroes are companies like Apple and Amazon: They make their customers register and provide a lot of personal data…and they are even happy about it (I personally love to scroll through the recommendation of my Kindle…)!

Nonetheless, it is not enough to only invest in business analytics. What a company needs is an overall data strategy across departments to generate the necessary customer insights. This data strategy is closely linked to a customer-centric strategy: If customer experience stands in the center of a company’s business activities, the only logical consequence is to know as much as possible about each single customer. Since with whom do you have the best relationships? Right: the persons you know best.

To enable a successful implementation, however, it is necessary to break through the current silo-structure in a company (marketing, sales, service, …). There has to be an organisation-wide approach instead of a department (silo) approach. This means not only to integrate touchpoints across channels but to ensure that all business activities are truly customer-centric and data-driven. Every department has to have one integrated aim: retrieve as many data as possible and communicate these insights into the company. 

Without the support of integrated business processes and IT systems it is impossible to pursue a company-wide data strategy. But it is also essential to change into a data-driven culture. Only if every employee in a company has incorporated the necessary mindset and works in an environment that emphasizes quality data generation, the transformation can be successful.

When your company is now starting the journey to become a data-driven organization, some simple guidelines can support you:

  • Deliver value to customers to make them voluntarily provide data
  • Engage your customers in a personal way to encourage involvement
  • Support multichannel customer interactions
  • Analyse online conversations about your products and services
  • Track customer behavior (online and offline)

Are you working in a data-driven organization? Or is your company currently transforming? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.