Data’s Impact on the Customer Experience
An outstanding customer experience is the basis for building customer loyalty. The customer experience (CX) includes all interactions between an organization and a customer throughout their relationship. In many of these interactions, organizations collect information or use data they already possess to communicate effectively or influence the customer relationship. The data must always be complete and correct.
The key to customer loyalty previously depended heavily on price, but that attitude is changing. Today, customers demand more personalized customer service and a better experience. More than half of the consumers in a Forbes Magazine survey said they switched companies solely because of poor user experiences.
The best customer experience requires companies to know their customers and use that knowledge to make it easy and enjoyable to do business with them. Customers want to feel that companies are aware of the products they buy, how often, and in what quantities. If customers provide information about themselves or their preferences, they expect a company to use those facts to enrich the relationship — not ignore them or ask for the same information again. Loyal customers expect some respect for their longevity.
An exceptional customer experience relies on the collection, cleansing, matching, and analysis of customer data.
Customer Data Consolidation Creates an Actionable Profile
Organizations have no problem collecting data, but they struggle with using the information to drive their CX platforms. Data is everywhere and the number of data silos is staggering. Companies are working towards improving CX but matching dissimilar or far-flung data is challenging.
Take customer emails for example. If a customer places orders over time using multiple email addresses, will all their purchases be merged in a single customer profile? Since the company shipped all the products to the same person at the same address, customers expect the company to understand the breadth and depth of the relationship — regardless of the email accounts they used to place the orders. If the company regards each of those email addresses as separate entities however, those customer expectations will be unmet
For a single customer view, companies must combine the information in separately maintained data silos. The format of data collected with different methods at separate times often varies. Before merging the data, the elements must be parsed, placed in the right fields, and formatted. Inaccuracy causes erroneous matching and personalization errors that lead to a poor customer experience.
Improved CX and loyalty requires clean and accurate data. This can only occur by systematically processing the databases through address and data quality applications on a regular schedule.
For more information about creating single customer views, read this two-part blog article: “What Are Golden Records and How Do You Create Them?” Click HERE for Part 1, and HERE for Part 2.
How Bad Addresses Impact Customer Experience
Collecting and confirming customer information such as names, email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses at the earliest point possible is the key to continued communication and an excellent customer experience. With incomplete or invalid data, future marketing efforts and measurements are unreliable. Actions based on questionable information will affect CX negatively, and postal addresses are one of the most important data points.
Invalid addresses might cause your organization to:
- Direct customers to the wrong retail store location
- Make errant local references in personalized communications
- Quote inaccurate prices
- Combine household data incorrectly
- Offer customers discounts unavailable in their area
- Neglect to follow location-specific regulations
- Refer customers to the wrong resources, such as government agencies or representatives
Addresses are easy to get wrong. In Atlanta, for example, seventy-one streets, roads, and parkways include “Peachtree” in their name! It would be easy to make a clerical mistake that results in an error in the physical location of a customer.
Even when addresses are correct when they enter an organization, they can change over time when people move, governments rename streets, or the US Postal Service realigns ZIP codes. Besides money wasted on postage, handling, and parcel returns, delayed or unsuccessful postal deliveries have immediate effects on CX. Unhappy customers often broadcast their disappointment through social media and spread their poor experience even further.
A Customer’s Postal Address is the Baseline
A person’s physical address is foundational to a great customer experience, and accurate data is important. The best defense against poor customer experiences caused by inaccurate postal address data is validating the data at the point of entry. Once incorrect addresses become entrenched, companies struggle to find and update the bad addresses lurking in databases scattered across the enterprise.
When an address is valid and standardized, companies can layer on demographic information that drives the impact of future customer interactions. Marketing uses the enhanced data to plan direct mail and multi-channel campaigns. Commonly appended demographic information based on postal addresses include:
- Dwelling Type/Home Ownership
- Home Value
- Income Range
- Family Size
Data Quality Important for Non-Addresses Too
Other customer data, if improperly maintained and cleansed, can lead to more problems:
- Incorrect spelling or capitalization of customer names
- Failure to recognize customer loyalty or lifetime customer value
- Inaccurate account status/errant late fees
- Confusing notices or irrelevant customer communications
- Inconsistent customer experiences across communication channels
- Billing errors
Any data-quality related error impacts the way a customer feels about an organization with which they do business.
Firstlogic Has the Tools for Outstanding CX
Firstlogic offers software tools organizations need to improve the quality of their data and make improvements to the customer experience. Address correction & encoding software standardizes and corrects postal addresses to the Postal Service’s CASS™ standards. Move update software keeps address files current even if customers forget to update their move with your organization. Sequencing routines access delivery route information provided by postal carriers to identify vacant buildings, empty lots, or seasonally occupied residences and businesses. List management utilities parse, standardize, and enhance all types of data. And matching software uses deterministic and probabilistic matching techniques to remove duplicates intelligently and connect customer data stored in disparate databases.
See the full line-up of software our customers deploy to cleanse, standardize their data, and create great customer experiences.
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