22nd May, 2015
Personalising the customer experience for high-end retailers is no longer a nice to have, but a need to have.
Retailers understand that achieving a single customer view (SCV) provides a readily accessible, consistent summary of a customer’s relationships with them - combined with essential personal and demographic data.
And a true SCV should also include the new touch points and interactions the digital age has brought in.
While I was heading up CRM for UK & EMEA at Burberry I was very lucky to be at the core of the change where customer-centric growth became the focal point.
Even though some customer management and profiling best practices had been used for years in a couple of regions, at a global level customer records were maintained on disparate IT systems dispersed internationally, and there was a lack of focus on data capture and management.
Organisational silos and the lack of a global data quality culture meant that it wasn’t possible to implement best practices across all of the channels and geographic locations until the CEO demanded the availability of an SCV to enable a customer-centric growth strategy.
I can see lots of similarities with the retailers I work with now. Typically customer data is spread across many systems. It is fragmented and often inconsistent. This makes it extremely difficult for an organisation to understand the true value of a customer, their likely behaviour, their needs and the reasons for losing them.
Retailers have tried various approaches to create an SCV, with different levels of success. It often comes down to the barriers they face.
For large companies like Burberry, overcoming inadequate legacy infrastructures and the plethora of incompatible customer management systems, databases and IT platforms resulted in a positive outcome. But others may face different challenges, such as the support of key decision makers or other business-orientated barriers.
Whatever the obstacles, achieving a 360 degree view of customers reduces costs, increases revenue and profitability and makes it very easy to retain customers, cross-sell to them and deliver the experience they desire – and increasingly expect.
And that’s just the beginning. Once you’ve achieved your SCV, you can implement clienteling programmes to further enhance customer service, as Burberry has done. Understanding the value of your top customers, globally and by region, and then institutionalising clienteling best practice has fabulous rewards – for both the customer and the retailer.
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