There is ongoing talk about creating a winning customer experience through the understanding of customers’ needs in a constantly evolving and uncertain landscape. What does that actually mean? With the consumer shift to digital-only being fast-tracked by the national lockdowns, there is mounting pressure on businesses to garner more holistic customer insights to accelerate growth.

The ultimate aim is to deliver a fit-for-purpose product that creates a seamless user experience. Data and analytics are undoubtedly playing an increasingly important role in creating a 360-degree view of the customer by empowering intelligent decision-making through data-driven insights. However, that is often far easier said than done and begs the question – ‘where do we begin in creating a winning customer experience?’

Overcoming siloes with the democratisation of data

Siloes emerge when only certain ‘gatekeepers’ have access to data sets and sources. This creates a major obstacle in designing a 360-degree view of the customer as access to data is prohibitive. It also prevents a unified interpretation because there are often multiple versions of data, meaning one department could read it differently from the other. Consequently, resources get wasted and productivity is limited. The good thing is – all of this can be eliminated through a centralised system that contains fewer models and allows greater access to data through democratisation.

This means shifting towards the model where the data is more freely accessible to all job functions within the organisation rather than being in the hands of the select few gatekeepers such as IT and accounts. The best approach is from the top down – getting the C-suite and executive level management to continuously utilise the data until it becomes second nature to do so. The action will have a natural trickle-down effect on the rest of the organisation until data becomes a core function of almost every position. Otherwise, regardless of the regime you implement, your strategy will never reach the full potential and you will probably fail to deliver a winning customer experience.

Split-second decision making through API

Application programming interface (API) is an effective means of verifying customer data at lightning speed. It also offers high accuracy and is exceptionally valuable in numerous industries. Take short-term motor insurance as an example. The market provides a needs-based product, with instant transactions where speed and convenience are of greatest importance. Therefore, brands need to to be in the right place and at the right time when a customer requires cover at short notice.

In a fraction of a second, API helps to verify a myriad of data such as vehicle details, driver identity, driving licences, payments and claims history. This ultimately enables insurers to provide cost-effective temporary insurance policies in a matter of seconds to a wider range of verified customers, ultimately reducing that impacts the cost of premiums.

Enhancing customer relationships through data-driven insights

A data-driven customer relationship management (CRM) programme is another effective route to building a 360-degree customer profile. When based on purchasing trends, it helps businesses build an intimate knowledge of the customers’ needs and expectations.

Let’s use our short-term motor insurance example again. High-quality CRM data enables the policy provider to recognise different need states, especially when comparing single and multiple usages. For instance, students taking out a one-day policy to borrow their parents’ cars and trade professionals who experience seasonal peaks are not the same.

In this case, the aim of the CRM programme is not only to reward repeat customers with preferential offers but make it easier for them to redeem. The last thing loyal customers want from a CRM programme is a promotional discount that comes with strings attached. They want value for money and an enjoyable purchase journey. The best way to achieve that is to remove all barriers for your customers so that they can redeem at the checkout – no promo codes or other gimmicks!

A data-driven future

Data and analytics will always be a constantly evolving concept – even more so as technology continues to advance at an unprecedented rate. The most important action for any organisation is to ensure they are utilising clean, high-quality data that accurately represents the needs and expectations of their customer base.

This ultimately builds relationships and emotional connections with existing customers, while attracting and winning new ones. From a commercial perspective, this will lead to a measurable increase in brand loyalty and repeat purchases, building a winning customer experience. An organisation’s customer base will have benefitted from a value-added and relevant offering in a time where spending power is significantly reduced and where alternative options are easily accessible.

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