Omnichannel isn’t just another buzzword among marketers today; it’s becoming an increasing necessity. Customers nowadays are multitasking on multiple devices, so now the challenge is to provide that seamless customer experience from platform to platform. But to provide that continuous experience, marketers need a single, complete view of each customer; for a number of marketers, therein lies the challenge.
According to this week’s newly released report from Experian Data Quality, just 24% of companies say they have a single customer view. The study surveyed 250 people across myriad departments, including marketing, data management, customer service, IT, sales, finance, and operations.
One question came to the fore: How can marketers get a complete view of a consumer? The answer, according to the report, is data. More specifically, collecting and then linking customer data so that marketers have a holistic view of the consumer. The findings spell out four ways marketers can achieve that single view: work to understand the customer, link the data, extract insights, and create a consolidated database.
Understand the customer
According to the report, 79% of companies have an analytics team. And, on average, companies are investing $137,000 on analytics initiatives. But here’s the major disconnect: 94% of companies believe their customer and prospect data is in some way inaccurate. Simply collecting data isn’t enough to get to know your customers. Marketers need to work to improve data collection. That means taking steps to ensure data quality—which also means verifying accuracy, identifying duplicates, and consolidating info. Each of these steps will enable marketers to get a true understanding of the customer across channels.
Link the data
On average, companies collect information from about three channels, so linking that data together is critical. Marketers should attempt to connect the dots and then use those analytics to personalize. But according to Experian, a staggering 83% of companies struggle to link customer information across channels. The study does show, however, that 94% of companies are linking some customer info across channels—just over half report they’re linking all customer data. The most popular pieces of data that are linked: email addresses, customer names, and phone numbers.
What good is data without insight? Insight helps companies craft relevant, targeted messages; improve customer service; and generate business intelligence. To get the most revealing insights marketers need to make sure they check the source of information. Experian reports that 83% of companies have started some sort of Big Data program—but many remain in the fledgling stages. As these programs continue to mature, marketers will be able to extract more valuable insight from these larger sets of info and use them to build relationships with customers.
Create a consolidated database
The omnichannel experience is one seamless experience, and it should come from one consolidated database. Often, data silos that stem from varying technologies in each department challenge marketers. In fact, 34% of respondents in the Experian survey say they’re not able to link data because of different tech tools. And just 30% of companies manage their data strategy centrally—under a single director. But there’s no doubt that companies that want to provide continuous customer experiences must work on consistency and centrality.