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BI must put customer at centre.

Even though companies might have become jaded by the concept of the ‘customer is king’, the truth is that the customer experience in the digital landscape remains fundamental to competitive differentiation. And Business Intelligence (BI) tools must evolve to reflect this.

Unfortunately, BI has been lagging in terms of what an organisation is trying to achieve. Traditional BI tools do not support the data integration required to enable the decision-making needed to push customised solutions out to customers.

Part of this entails linking all the various components involved in the decision-making process to deliver on customer expectations. After all, a customer’s perception is their reality when it comes to the feeling they get from the business that interacts with them. If the service is sub-par, or the data does not accurately reflect their needs, then chances are they will start looking at a competitor offering.

Linking information

Many organisations struggle to build this bridge between analytics and the customer experience. However, this is essential if the customer is to be serviced according to their specific requirements.

An example of this lack of integration could be an insurer sending existing clients SMS messages asking them to buy product X when they already have been using it for a several years. Or a medical provider emailing someone monthly a request to become a member even though they joined more than a decade ago.

This lack of integration between BI tools and what marketing departments are trying to achieve is often the biggest stumbling block for a business to capitalise on valuable data insights.

Not only does this frustrate a customer, but it detracts from an experience that would otherwise be fulfilling. And thanks to the power of social media, bad experiences such as these can do a company a significant amount of damage.

Managing in new ways

Inevitably, customer experience management must be done properly if a company has hopes to compete against its peers around the world. While many organisations are focusing on aspects of this, they are almost stuck at specific points in time and not viewing the customer journey in its entirety.

Singular campaigns, as run by many retailers and banks, are simply not sustainable or expected in a connected environment. Instead, customers want to be treated as individuals in their involvement with a brand. This requires a proper integration platform that links data with departments, management and with development to deliver bespoke customer solutions.

Fortunately, the tools are there to do it. But companies must move away from managing their data in silos. Customer initiatives need to be linked and communication must be done more effectively.

This challenge is not limited to South Africa. Companies across the world need to overcome their traditional BI views and start embracing data analytics in more innovative ways. Now, it is about structuring the organisation to suite the customer instead of the other way around.

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