Why data is the lynchpin between the client and customer experience

Some work in organisations that deal solely with businesses – whether that is start-ups, SMEs or corporate and enterprise-sized businesses. The world of clients has the challenge of diverse relationships per account, complex business structures or multiple sites – B2B is a complex environment in which to deliver strong reactive and proactive service.  On the other hand, for those working in the consumer world, the multiplicity of customer profiles, each with infinitesimal variants and variables, means B2C is just as complicated.  For those of us who service both clients and customers, the world of work is exponentially more difficult!

In the past, both models would often operate in isolation, or at best, with minimal operational links.  But as the pace and rate of change in behaviour of consumers has a greater impact on businesses, and technology drives faster and more innovative change, it’s easy to loose focus, become overwhelmed and shift from a strategic focus into short-term tactical planning.  But there’s one thing that unites both the client and the customer experiences, that drives our strategies and that validates our decisions – data.

Every action we take results in another action (or inaction.)  Each decision to make a change is driven by an expectation of a different outcome than that which currently happens. Every time a business buys a product, they expect to sell it at a profit.  Sometimes we make these decisions solely based on our experience, previous knowledge or worst of all, on a whim, but the factor that unites every aspect of our front-of-house and back-of-house experience is that each action creates a data point.  Linking together the data points helps us make the next decision.

It gets to a tipping point where our brains, our tools and our processes struggle to process the volume of data points, so our capacity to expand, to do bolder and more creative solutions will eventually be hindered.  In part, this can be due to a lack of data strategy.  I’ve written previous posts on the difference between B2B and B2C service delivery , how data powers your customer experience and why data scientists matter but one aspect that is become more obvious is the need to connect your client data with your customer data.

For example, in a mobile phone operator, you would typically see separate B2B and consumer teams.  In the B2B model, servicing the client, keeping them happy, driving cross sell and renewal is key.  KPIs or SLAs will typically be very operational, with a limited view of the end customer (employee) experience.  Whilst the needs of the employee are effectively identical to those of a consumer, the experience (processes, servicing model or escalation) are usually different.  Does the company compare the data, analyse the synergies and innovations between consumer and employees ad deliver value to the client?

More importantly, in terms of demonstrating the value delivered to the client, showing the quality of the customer (employee) experience is key, especially where the mobile is key to the employee’s ability to deliver their job.  By leveraging insight from the consumer division, best practice and cost effective service improvements can be delivered quickly and cost-efficiently.

The third and perhaps most obvious advantage of linking your client and customer data is that through enhancing the experience for the employee, you increase your probability of winning them as a direct customer beyond the employer relationship.  And then through advocacy, recommendation to family and friends, and help you reach new customers without any marketing spend.

Connecting up all your data points reduces subjectivity in your actions and leads to data driven decisions, letting you scale your business goals, processes, products and services in a controlled way.  Leaving the two data sets unconnected is a huge missed opportunity, so if you can’t leverage all your data in one place, time to review your data strategy.

Important point to note: With the evolution of data protection and privacy laws around the world, and recent introduction of GDPR, before taking any action with your data (or more importantly, the data belonging to your clients and your customers), seek advice on best practice, ensure you are following the regulations and maintain the highest security and confidentially standards.  Permission to use data must be sought, and the right to continue to use it must be earned!

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