By Jade Winters
A recent study conducted by DMC Software found that 79% of businesses are failing to put the customer experience first, due to poor data quality. The data comes as just 21% of companies state they are confident in the customer data they hold.
Many organisations are aware of the role data and analytics plays in building, and sustaining, relationships with customers, yet still fail to make it a business priority. Customer relationships are the backbone of business; no customers equal no profit, after all. Therefore, a data-led strategy is essential for those who want to build profitable relationships.
This year has been dubbed the ‘year of the customer’, and by 2020 it is estimated customer experience will become a key brand differentiator for customers. Yet many businesses do not place high importance on their data strategy. Data holds the key to understanding a business’s target audience and should inform products, service and processes to deliver value.
Businesses are facing a growing problem when it comes to data storage, with the amount of data produced every day currently at 2.5 exabytes. To put this into further context, this equates to 90 years of HD video being produced each day. By 2020, it is estimated that there will be 44 zettabytes in the world (one zettabyte equals 44 trillion gigabytes). Of course, businesses are not going to hold anywhere near as much data as this individually, but with data volumes increasing, it’s clear this is something that needs to be addressed.
Our study uncovered that one of the biggest issues businesses are currently dealing with is data management, with just 43% of those surveyed using a dedicated CRM to store data. A further 20% use Excel spreadsheets, 5% are keeping paper-based records, and 11% are utilising email to keep customer data – which considering the increase in cyber crime, this is worrying.
In addition, some organisations use multiple systems to manage different processes and functions, with 21% of businesses surveyed operating this way. While these solutions may be fit for purpose, data errors and duplicate information between each system could have the same results, impacting the customer experience, and ultimately the revenue.
Mismanagement of data often leads to data accuracy issues. With 88% of businesses admitting records are not up to date, which can lead to incorrect or undelivered communications. This is potentially damaging and can affect customer satisfaction, trust and in turn customer retention.
A further 66% confessed to finding duplicate data by accident, highlighting deeper data management issues. If high levels of duplicate data occur, customers can easily, and rightfully so, become frustrated at having to repeat themselves – increasing complaints and lowering retention levels. To deliver consistent services through interactions made more attention needs to be paid to data hygiene.
In a time where competition is intensive and customer experience is a differentiator, it’s time for businesses to clean up their act and ensure that they are storing data securely, conducting regular deduping exercises and updating data regularly.
Jade Winters is Marketing Manager at DMC Software