If there are any business leaders still not convinced about the role data will play in the future success of their organization, the latest the expert-keynote packed Hub Institute Hubday should have erased any doubts.
“When we talk about the future, the words on everyone’s lips are artificial intelligence,” said Frederic-Gerard Leveque, the Hub Institute’s head of training, as he officially started a conference dedicated to the future of data, CRM and programmatic.
AI could be the single most transformative force across our society, but only if it is fueled by data – and crucially the right types of data – will we make the most of this technology’s potential.
“We have the opportunity in front of us to use machines to simplify, automate and augment how we interact and engage with consumers,” Leveque explained of combining AI and data.
Collecting data, but for what?
This is why data is being touted as the cure for all business ills. But, warns Antoine Denoix, chief marketing, digital, data & customer officer at AXA France, simply gathering data could be a waste of money.
“That’s the paradox of data,” said Denoix. “If a company uses data to do things better – to optimize existing systems or processes, there will be incremental changes. But the ROI will be hard to see.”
Instead, companies should use data to do things differently.
“They need to think about the core of their profession,” Denoix elaborated. “A mattress company’s role isn’t to make mattresses, it’s to help people sleep better. And in insurance, it isn’t about selling policies, it’s how do we protect our clients?”
“Companies need to expand their outlook to really understand the transformative effects of data,” says Geoffrey Boulakia, general manager EMEA of TSC, Sitel Group’s Digital CX Agency. “But brands also need to remember that data on its own has no value.”
Doing things differently
For example, when BMW partnered with a data-driven communications agency to improve customer understanding, it was able to remove the silo between potential and existing customers. The right data powering the right predictive model helped the brand identify their ideal customer type and apply the same CRM approach to clients and prospects alike.
“We can identify the leads and can act – engaging at the right moment with the right type of contact,” said Stéphane Delaporte, head of digital marketing and CRM for BMW.
Proving data is now the fuel for business growth, this approach also helped the company find the perfect moment to engage with existing clients in order to move them down the path to re-purchase.
“[With these modeling tools] we have increased customer retention by 20 percent over existing methods,” said Delaporte.
CRM 2.0: how can retailers boost their revenues with data mining?
This is an element of CRM 2.0, a new way of engaging with customers that rebuilds trust, encourages dialogue and promotes sincerity and transparency.
“One of the biggest transformations in retail has been how consumers perceive brands and what consumers now consider to be foundations of a strong brand relationship,” says Mike Small, chief client officer, Sitel Group U.S. “For many companies, reflecting this changing client need means re-evaluating and re-communicating their value proposition.”
For beauty brand Sephora this means identifying the right channels over which to deliver products, services and content with the aim of creating a dialogue with customers – because it’s engagement that generates the actionable data feeding back into their business.
Complementary, not competing channels
This is also why the brand has been quick to embrace omni-directional, conversational channels as they provide the richest forms of engagement. It started with a chatbot that helped customers select the right gift for a loved one. Since November, the company has also used a voicebot via Google Assistant.
“Customers can use it to reserve in-store treatments, access personalized content and partake in games to determine how much of a beauty addict they are,” explains Oliver Barth, digital transformation officer, EMEA Sephora.
However, in each case, the experience is complementary and adds value to the in-store experience. There is a clear business case and the data collected is of genuine value.
Keeping the customer at its core
Another company that transformed its CRM through taking an omnichannel approach is Club Med. It is several years into a long-term transformation and change management program aiming to change the company’s mindset in relation to how customers are perceived – as well as changing the way they offer their products and services in line with changing customer tastes.
“We have always kept the customer at the heart of what we do,” said Pascale Hardy, head of digital change management, Club Med. “But as they want new experiences, we must find responses to these demands.”
By partnering with a number of companies, including Sitel Group for live chat, it has developed a new digital platform and experience providing customers with the same access to information regardless of their chosen channel; likewise, it gives the company’s teams a single view, on a single screen of each customer including their history with the company.
A community of users
The Club Med path to purchase is 96 days and is a journey full of touch points. Therefore, reaching out with the right information at the right time is crucial. Because Club Med members can build profiles and act like part of a community, one novel approach is to allow the communities to answer questions fielded by new potential customers – the biggest potential recommendation of a product or service’s quality.
But that’s just the beginning. The company is making existing customers partners that help design the types of vacation or holiday they should be offering – and even submit ideas for new features or facilities.
The GDPR will force all firms to question their data collection
Thanks to building closer ties with its customers, Club Med now has access to huge amounts of data, but is very particular about what it uses and why. This was an additional point echoed by Gauthier Le Masne De Chermont, Air France KLM’s chief customer data officer.
“We only collect data with the idea of answering a business need,” Le Masne De Chermont said. “That’s why we never gather data for the sake of it – it’s guided by a need or business objective and in line customer sentiments.”
Because of this absolute focus on the “why” of data, Air France is happy to welcome the upcoming GDPR legislation.
“It’s an opportunity,” says Le Masne De Chermont. “To understand your clients and how important their data is, it’s a good thing.”
Indeed the new laws regarding data collection and transparency could be the perfect moment to reflect on the why and how of data collection and the strength of your company’s existing relationship with its customers.
“The GDPR is definitely an opportunity for brands to seize the initiative and build new levels of trust and understanding with their customers,” says Boulakia. “To do this, they must clearly demonstrate their transparency in terms of how their data is collected and how it is used.”
Don’t be afraid to ask
By developing a new relationship built on openness, brands will gain access to the most valuable of data insights.
“One of the easiest ways to gather the highest quality data about a customer is to ask that customer a direct question,” said Denoix. “But, unless you have fostered a strong relationship with your customers, you will never be in a position to have that conversation.”