If you still have an old hard drive as I do, you know it’s useful now and then to run a defrag program. It doesn’t fix everything, but it improves a computer’s performance by grouping related data.
I think most of us need to defrag our customer data if we truly are going to get a complete picture of our customers and improve their user experience.
Data comes in torrents these days – which is a good thing if you are ready to manage the flow, which is generated at the moment by about 8.4 billion online devices globally. And an even bigger tidal wave is forming: Research firm Gartner predicts 20.4 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020, each pumping out data.
This cascade of useable information flows right past many companies because they don’t know how to capture it and provide context that is meaningful to the user. They haven’t established a global user identity policy or path.
With companies operating multiple brands – or having multiple business units with even more brands — it’s challenging to provide a unified user experience because individual brands often have their own data sets. Some even have their own technology stacks.
So while that single brand may know its customer, no other business units within the company get the benefits of that engagement, and the customer may be missing out on information that could in his or her mind add value.
When you consider that today a consumer may have multiple identities on multiple devices – I recently read where the average social media user now has seven identities – it’s crucial to make the UX fast, convenient and informative.
It begins by defragging customer data.
The first step is building a global customer profile based on the information the user has provided. Maybe it is simply name, address, email and brand preference based on purchases.
By using this profile as a baseline for all the customer’s interaction, you can map it to preferences across the company network of brands, to provide relevant content and improve the customer experience.
There’s also convenience for the customer in not having to log in to each brand’s website.
Whether companies build the software to create and map this unified profile or use a third-party platform such as Gigya, the rewards far outweigh the capital outlay.
We have seen decreases of up to 40 percent in support costs around account recovery – forgotten passwords, email resets, etc – when profiles are unified across three or more brands and their associated smart phone applications.
In addition, cross-brand engagement shows an initial rise of 10 to 15 percent, and the opportunities for content personalization increase as customer behavior is logged and analyzed.
Putting the customer first and creating a great experience with global identity are worthy goals, but executing the strategic path to those goals takes work and cooperation. I’ll talk more about that in my next blog post.
By Craig Ferrara