To be successful in today’s online economy, companies need to utilize all available tools at their disposal to recruit and retain customers. When a company loses a sales opportunity because a prospective customer has a bad online experience or the company didn’t personalize the buying experience, the chances are that customer won’t be returning. Two primary components of customer engagement are management of the overall relationship and having a platform to track and proactively interact with the customer in real-time.
For any company to succeed with customers, there needs to be reliable and actionable data in place. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems coordinate the communications when a company interacts with current and prospective customers. The primary focus of the customer relationship management system is to stay connected to customers and work to improve the relationship and drive revenue. Companies have built upon this approach by implementing customer data platforms (CDP) to drive data collection and integrate multiple systems to provide more information for a given customer.
The main difference between the systems is what each system does concerning the customer and who utilizes the system. The customer relationship management system targets overall customer interactions and customer satisfaction. The customer data platform expands the customer relationship management system and targets gathering data on customer behavior. The platform allows all customer devices to integrate to provide a more enjoyable customer experience regardless of the device used.
The behavioral data gathering approach of the customer data platform drives predictive strategies to guide personalized experiences for the customer. When a company implements a customer data platform, data across all data systems are integrated into a single place to synergize all data components. Once the data is combined, it is analyzed for patterns and provides unique identifiers. The platform connects information for known customers and creates profiles for unknown prospective customers. The customer data platform works in real-time to adjust and apply the unique identifiers as the customer works through the system websites.
These unique data identifiers come from phone numbers, email addresses, login accounts, cookies, and mobile phone identifiers. Each data component is a piece to complete a larger customer puzzle. This data integration allows the systems to recognize when a known customer is online, control the interaction, and provide a personalized experience. The customized experience offers customers items they may have forgotten, such as previous data searches. Product recommendations can be made based on activity.
The customer relationship management system is designed to benefit the customer-facing departments. These include the sales department, help desk, customer service, and others that interact directly with customers. The customer data platforms are utilized by all areas of the organization to drive decision-making, growth, and understanding of how customers interact with the company’s products and services.
A salesperson reviewing an account with the customer service team via the customer relationship management system can see how many times a client purchased products, when they purchased, how many times they called for support, and how the customer responded on satisfaction surveys. When the sales leadership team reviews the reports from the customer data platform, the data can point to times the customer accessed products, added products to a wish list, or closed a session prematurely without a sale. Whatever the behavior, this data opens new avenues for the sales team to target upsell opportunities.
As organizations try to remain competitive and proactive in today’s economy, investing in a customer data platform opens new horizons. Some organizations are cautious about making a significant investment in a platform, and these organizations will continue to struggle. A focused and uniform approach to a customer data platform will show a return on investment that drives future growth and stability for an organization. Most importantly, it will drive a consistent and enjoyable relationship with the customer.