Our approaches to serving customers have become so disconnected that it’s stunning. There’s a real opportunity for companies to gain a competitive advantage by providing superior customer experiences. They can do this by taking a more strategic approach to how they manage their data assets. Failure to do this risks damaged reputations, revenues and hinders the ability to succeed in new markets.
The role of data within organizations must change from being departmentally siloed, to being centrally managed. Breaking down these siloes is more of an organizational challenge than a technical one, requiring a data strategy, the correct level of ownership, and corporate governance. This means having a C-level supported, organization-wide understanding of the customer, broad executive level ownership, and a well-managed change control process to ensure ongoing data quality and trust in the data across the organization.
Your teams may analyze website trends and tweak marketing programs to lure back shopping cart abandoners. These are certainly important use cases. But, the notion of capitalizing on your data requires you to re-orient the whole organization around the customer, and likewise, how your customer interacts with your brand throughout the entire customer journey.
CX = The Case for a Chief Data Officer
Data-centric use cases mainly focus on customer acquisition, whether increased website visitors, optimized purchase funnels, targeted remarketing programs or personalized advertising. This only scratches the surface. Data can be used to impact every touchpoint for the customer beyond sales and marketing, including customer support, service and loyalty. Once data is connected to form deep meaningful customer intelligence, you connect that intelligence to provide connected, seamless customer experiences (CX). These are the opportunities waiting for companies that think more broadly about their data assets.
Companies that provide CX leadership are creating a new position called the Chief Data Officer. I consider it more of a persona than a job title. However you define it, this person is responsible for breaking down data siloes and figuring out what it means to turn data into a competitive, proprietary business asset.
Dynamics Driving Change – Get on or Get Out of the Way!
Data as a business asset is hardly new. So, what’s the urgency to accelerate this?
- Customers demand highly relevant, contextual experiences: Consumers are savvy, well informed, and demand top-notch, relevant brand experiences. This challenges brands to better understand the discreet needs of individuals and to use that intelligence to deliver the most personalized experiences possible. Enterprises that embrace a data-driven culture by harnessing all data at every opportunity in order to differentiate itself across the complete customer experience will be rewarded by their customers.
- Channel proliferation and the Internet of Things (IoT): The volume of digital interactions and their complexity keeps growing. The way customers engage with your brand almost always involves a variety of channels and devices. IoT expands the definition of a digital touchpoint beyond a human to any network-enabled object. Companies must rethink how to leverage all this new data to drive real-time decisions and avoid the creation of more data siloes.
- Data security concerns: A data breach can immediately destroy a brand’s reputation. As software is increasingly delivered as a service over the cloud, and behavioral data volumes grow and fragment, data security rises to the top of executives’ priorities. Companies must re-consider how they manage their customer intelligence with the clear recognition that the data chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
When data is considered a business asset, it has the power to create competitive business advantages for your organization. It will require a cultural shift for many organizations, but now is the time to start. The alternative is to be left behind and lose your most valuable customers to your competitors.
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*This article originally appeared on the Oracle Customer Experience blog