What does KPI mean from a business perspective? Key Performance Indicator? Well, certain terminologies have found newer definitions with the advent of technology and innovations in business. KPIs that drive direct selling businesses to newer dimensions are
Keep People Interested,
Keep People Involved,
Keep People Inspired, and
Keep People Informed.
Customers, who decide on whether or not to invest their time, energy, and money into a business also decide whether or not to stay with a brand for a longer time with the number of options and offers that are available for them both online and offline. And hence, integrating a pathbreaking technology and technique like data integration is a revolution that can transform direct selling businesses to new extremes.
What is customer data integration?
Customer data integration or CDI is the process of identifying, consolidating, and managing customer information from across an organization’s databases to conclude the collected data. This could be called a ‘golden record’ because the data has been compiled from all of your available systems like contact details, financial data, market research data, social media, information gathered from surveys, or other direct marketing techniques. Integrated customer data will help you drive sales and revenue by analyzing customer preferences, behavior, demographics, and pain points with which overall customer experience can be improved.
Data integration can broadly be classified into five
With this method, you could Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) technology to collect data from various sources. This data can then be filtered and rendered into a readable format and stored in a single data store or warehouse to avoid multiple data storage locations. Data consolidation could be an expensive affair considering the advanced security feature and compliance it offers.
Lets you create a copy of your data from its original location to use a particular tool. For example, when your finance team wants to use a set of data with one tool and the sales team wants to use the same data in a different platform, data propagation can be used to duplicate your data.
With the help of an interface, this method will help you provide unique, near-real-time data from various sources with different data methods letting you view them in a single location.
Is a form of data virtualization that collects data from numerous sources letting you view it from one location. Though very similar to data consolidation, data federation does not combine data.
This reformats, cleanses, and stores data.
The first and foremost step in adapting data integration into your business system is to understand and identify which type of data integration suits your business the best.
Customer data integration in direct selling business
Direct selling businesses will have data in every nook and corner. Managing these vast amounts of data by logging into different platforms to add, delete or modify data could be an arduous task. This is where data integration can be put to good use since it can compile and store your data and safeguard it in one single station.
For any direct selling business, delivering high-end customer experiences is imperative. And hence, making customer data integration or CDI an integral part of your business could help you with enhancing your products and services through various customer feedback giving you a clear indication as to how and where your products need improvement right from their development stage to it being shipped or get on to the retail counters.
Speaking to your customer in their language and tone is the most crucial part of effective marketing communication, with CDI you could get an evident picture of how to curate personalized messages from data derived through customer touchpoints and talk to your customers in their eyes. Through data cleansing and validation, discarding outdated information, removing duplicated data, etc could help build a fool-proof data-driven business strategy.
With integrated customer data, you will have large volumes of data that can help you identify gaps in marketing communication, and customer service and even understand the psychology behind abandoned carts. Filling these gaps could help you increase customer loyalty in the long run.
With CDI you can be sure that your data is unique and updated and also clearly understand if you have missed out on anything. You can also be sure of data accuracy and the quality of data instead of having to scroll through a hundred windows leaving yourself confused and not being able to conclude with your decision-making and planning.
Why is customer data integration important?
At a time when brands compete to deliver their best to the customer in every possible way, missing out on any opportunity to cater to your customers could cost you a lot. Not just about the revenue, but your brand’s credibility itself could be damaged. Direct selling business start-ups and veterans these days are always on the lookout for enhancing customer experience than generating revenue. With the advent of digital media and marketing solutions, more than sales, brands are keen on building credibility and trustworthiness among their customers which is beneficial for a brand in the long run. Incorporating innovative solutions to create a high-end customer experience is imperative for the same.
Key drivers to enhance direct selling success through data integration are
Customer data integration best practices
For every business, adapting to a new change could be time-consuming and difficult. Integrating a strategy like customer data integration into your system could benefit your business in multiple ways. But to begin with, you need to have a complete understanding of how it can help your business grow and at what level.
Identify the source systems from where you want to extract data. Allocate data access based on whom and why would they need access to your data. From various sources that your departments might already have, figure out which of them would be ideal for your integration practice.
Outline your company goals towards integrating customer data. Develop metrics to measure and analyze whether your business is meeting these objectives. And finally, zero down on the process and rules to be incorporated into your CDI strategy including data governance, protection, and quality.
Set a timeframe to implement the system into your channel to effectively manage customer data. Keep all your departments thoroughly educated about the system and why it is necessary to embrace the change, urgency, and how it would benefit the organization as a whole. Implementing CDI could be time-consuming depending on the integration type that you are going to implement.
Data security holds a vital role no matter what kind of data you are dealing with. By implementing customer data integration, your responsibility for safeguarding data also increases. The new system should not have loopholes that cause any kind of data breach or security concerns that would eventually affect customer experience and even the brand’s advocacy.
As competition is steadily rising among brands to deliver everything best for their customers, customer data integration acts as a magic wand that can read out to brands as to what they want brands to deliver. As a brand, you could choose to ignore customer interests and traits that change overnight, but every relevant tweak you make to your brand, its products, and services could make a larger impact on the brand’s growth and overall improvement. Customer data integration is for sure a trampoline that could take your brand to higher levels with a gentle push.
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