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Putting the customer at the heart of your organisation’s strategy has long been the elixir to business success. It seems obvious, doesn’t it, especially as we’ve had CRM systems in place for more than 10 years now?

However, at a recent event in London hosted by Celerity, data & CRM specialists, big players sat around the table and agreed it was still an aspiration and ever elusive goal for many.

It was recognised that CRM systems that combined digital, mobile and social data alongside traditional touch-points were outstripping those that didn’t.

Names such as Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks and first direct were obvious brands to cite that have cracked the customer service game thanks to their combined approach.

The John Lewis Partnership was heralded as delivering best practice in joining up online and offline data to deliver value-added customer service.

Celerity’s managing director, Jason Lark, said:

The art of CRM doesn’t change, but the channel has. It’s all about talking to customer in relevant way, at the right time, on the right channel and adding value to the customer’s life. Combining the digital alongside offline data has enabled companies such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, to identify individuals rather than just households. This, as well as harnessing Facebook and mobile data, means companies can target and create specific, timely offerings to maximise conversions.

The benefits of joining up digital, mobile, social and offline CRM data:

No duplication

Businesses that have integrated all touchpoints into a single view CRM system are outperforming those that aren’t because they don’t duplicate messages.

1-2-1 conversations

Data drawn from Facebook, email and other social media channels means large multinationals now have an opportunity to have a 1-2-1 conversation with their customers.

Increasing real-time relevance

Using mobile as a channel to collect and harness data has allowed companies to create specific, targeted and personalised offerings – such as ecoupons triggered by geodata.

Agile customer service

Companies that have embraced, and not shied away from social media, now respond to conversations with customers instantly. This demonstrates agile customer service.

Greater opportunity for personalisation

By tracking offline and online activity organisations can personalise content to offer the greatest reward to the customer.

Tracking consumers once they’ve left you

Data created by mobile payment from the digital wallet and passbook technology allows you to track the consumer once they’ve left your site (this can give you insight into their behaviour & preferences outside your arena).

Without naming names, the consensus view of top data analysts/senior customer “insight” execs and marketers at the event was that bringing all the data touch points together into a single view is one of the many challenges that big companies face

"Who owns the data?" Is not a question that the consumers/press are asking. It’s an internal conflict going on between the board, sales, marketing and analytics teams.

One senior exec admitted there was no such thing as “big data” in her FTSE100 company (due to internal politics around this issue). This problem is magnified for companies that rely on franchises to supply information. 

A company’s culture, from the boardroom down, was seen as another major obstacle in implementing an effective CRM system. Making the necessary changes is often seen as costly and a logistical nightmare that no one wants to touch.

Jason Lark, from Celerity, said:

Boards want to see ROI. To demonstrate this marketers need to take 10% from each of their existing segments. Implement a new CRM system. Manage and track the improvements. Take the evidence to the top. Most boards know the way to go, they just need the justification.  

Joined up CRM in practice

The Caravan Club improved its member retention rates and reduced its marketing spend by 40% when it combined its digital and offline data into a single view. This new strategy focused on being more personal and timely with the customer and having all its teams using the data effectively. 

Highly targeted emails were sent to members recommending caravan/camping sites within a one to two hour radius of their home.

Once a customer had booked their holiday – personal “what to expect when you get there” emails were sent with pictures of the site and an information pack on fun things to do in the area. This created a 29% reduction in no-shows at the campsite. 

Disjointed communications:

Using your data from all touch-points to inform your customer interactions sounds like an obvious thing to do hey?

Not necessarily, according to the head of data and analysis at one large life assurance company (who will remain anonymous). His example of not using and sharing data across all teams in an organisation sent a shudder around the room and acted as a word of warning to everyone.  

As a life assurance company, the only interaction you have with your customer is when a member of their family dies. They pick up the phone to the life assurance company and announce the death of a loved one. The customer service operator says: “I’m sorry to hear that your husband has died, when did he take out the life assurance policy?

I’ll leave you with that thought.


Published 25 April, 2013 by Juliet Stott

Juliet Stott is a freelance journalist, content creator and a contributor to Econsultancy.  Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter

20 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis, Research Director at Econsultancy, Centaur Marketing

Great article. Econsultancy recently published an 'eCRM in the Social Age' best practice guide by Andrew Campbell which is highly recommended. http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/customer-relationship-management-in-the-social-age-a-best-practice-guide

over 3 years ago

Jenna Anderson

Jenna Anderson, Freelance Digital Assistant at Intellicore

The Caravan Club example is an interesting Case Study, a 29% reduction in no-shows is impressive. Incidentally I have stayed at a Caravan Club in Freshwater East, Pembrokshire, the place was spotlessly clean and the grounds beautifully kept.

about 3 years ago

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