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Creating a Customer-Centric Culture: Share Data with Purpose

AvatarRichard Boehmcke | August 19, 2019

Even just 20 years ago, the job of “Chief Customer Experience Officer” at companies like a regional credit union, a large insurance company, or national retail organization was unheard of.  Today, this new job function is evidence of one of the most important competing factors in today’s business environment: customer centricity.

Companies just can’t compete on product and price point alone anymore, and 80% of organizations expect to compete based on customer experience (CX) in 2019 and beyond.

Today’s customers are more demanding than ever. They expect companies to build a smooth and seamless customer experience, no matter which channel they are engaging on. They also expect companies to go beyond top-notch CX during the sales process to create customer delight throughout the entire lifecycle. That means providing the same great experiences to existing customers, even when large amounts of money or huge sales numbers aren’t on the line.

Customer centricity goes far beyond hollow statements like “the customer is always right.” Instead, the customer-centric approach focuses on listening to customers, understanding and connecting with them on a human level, harnessing data to build customer knowledge, then advocating for customers based on their needs.

If you want to surprise and delight your customers, you’ll need to be smart about sharing customer data throughout your organization, so you can turn customer data into real action.

Photo by Austin Distel 

Everyone is Talking About Customer-Centric Data—Few are Using It

According a recent report by a big data firm, plenty of organizations are prioritizing data analytics, but most organizations are facing problems not only in gathering and harvesting this information, but also in drawing value from it—and 68% of organizations said their data analytics efforts were hampered by data siloing.

Currently, most companies don’t share their customer data with all of their teams. It rests either in a single repository or multiple segmented repositories, and a single individual or business unit is responsible for parsing and sharing that data.

Photo by Oleg Laptev 

Spreading Data Throughout Your Organization Enables Others to Act On it

If you intend to create a customer-centric culture, you can no longer afford to have siloed customer data. Instead, customer data must be spread throughout your organization to enable all of your teams to act on it.

Customer-centric data can help your organization identify your most valuable customers, understand customer trends, and better deliver on customer expectations. But for this to happen, that customer data must be accessible to the right people at your organization. This many require the implementation of new data analysis and data-sharing technologies so that team members can access data through easy-to-use dashboards.

For example, every branch manager at a credit union needs access to the data that’s relevant to their branch so they can use it to change and improve the way they interact with customers. And they also need to know how that data compares to their high-level company data. By sharing that high-level data, the credit union can help their branch managers understand how specific branches stack up with the rest of the company, identify opportunities for improvement, and even gain new insights about customer struggles and pain points. 

You Can’t Be Customer-Centric Without Sharing Data

Enabling the sharing of customer data across your organization may require new investments. It may also require you to reorganize your processes and grant certain teams that were previously in the dark access to key data as well. Many organizations are uncomfortable with these prospects because of the attached price tag and the possibility of allowing for too much transparency.

But it’s important to understand that you can’t be customer-centric without sharing customer data across your organization. Without access to this crucial information, your marketing, sales, and service teams are essentially operating blindly—and relying on guesswork to engage new customers and deliver for existing ones.

Becoming customer-centric may require organization-wide changes, and those changes must be initiated by senior executives.

Share Data Strategically

That said, not every person needs access to all your organization’s data. Privacy and transparency issues aside, overwhelming your teams with too much unnecessary data could have the opposite of your intended effect. Instead of understanding relevant insights about your customer that each team can use to take action, an overabundance of data may cause them to struggle and stand still.

For this reason, you must decide which data is relevant to which team. For example, customer data that is essential to your marketing team may not be as important to your customer service team.

Every company wants to become customer-centric, but few are succeeding. By empowering your team members with data, you can create a customer-centric culture that attracts, retains, and delights more customers.