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Taking control of customer information in multi-channel retail commerce


Successful multi-channel offer a high-quality and pleasant customer experience, where storefront service is seamlessly combined with online and mobile services. As I stated in my earlier blog post, multi-channel success requires product information which is both of high quality and correctly managed. However, that alone is not enough. High-quality and well managed customer information is also required to offer individualized services regardless of the channel. To achieve service levels which exceed customer expectations, one must also take certain vital customer data management principles into account.

Good quality customer information is up-to-date and sufficient

The individual customer experience is created when service is focused on the customer, taking into account their wishes and interest. In practice, it may mean a certain product selection, or maybe offers which are tailored to the customer’s purchasing behavior. The success of this requires good customer information management. An enough customer information is required, so that the interests can be identified, and the customer information quality must be in order. If there is incomplete or duplicate customer information, the entire visibility of purchasing behavior is lost.

In addition, in the collection and storage of customer information, official requirements, laws and regulations must be considered. These must be continuously monitored, and changes require quick reactions. The collection and storage of customer information is to be designed in a manner where it is easy to adjust, as regulations change.

Good quality customer information can be combined

Good-quality customer information can have internal and external company information combined with it. By combining history of customer purchases from the same customer segment, product suggestions can be directed with a better accuracy. These kinds of additional promotions and recommendations can be brought to visible through mobile applications or websites.

External information is e.g. customer information of collaborative partners, as well as public, open or information which can be purchased. External information can also be items which have been liked or shared by customer segments on social media. Additional information collected online may offer many possibilities. Those who successfully combine externally collected information with their own customer or product information sure have a competitive advantage now. But soon it will be vital for survival.

Good quality customer information can be shared

To serve the customer in a high-quality manner, the same customer information must be distributed throughout the entire organization. In multi-channel services, this is even more important. The best customers should be identified in all channels, every time. Shared customer information also enables effective cross-department sales. When customer information is in managed, it can be fully taken advantage of.

Result-based customer information management, such as information management in general, always starts from needs of the business: how and for what the information is desired to be used for. The identification of needs won’t help, however, if the information is not of high quality. If we know what our information consists of and where it relates to, then real commercial conclusions and actions can be made.