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Stay ahead in data game

Customer relationship management (CRM) initiatives are doomed to fail when data quality and data security are not seen as the core components of the implementation, says Jonathan Shilling, head of CRM at information systems integrator, Gedas United Kingdom.

Within an automotive landscape, this maxim specifically holds true. Organisations spend significant amounts cleansing and migrating data to centralised customer databases without fully understanding why. They also generally underestimate the need for continuous cleansing of the data.

During the initial stages of a CRM initiative, an early evaluation of the organisation's data sources is vital for an overall understanding of the scale and scope of the cleansing and migration requirements.

It is tempting, having formulated a data management strategy, to 'cut corners'. Many organisations then compromise on data quality by lowering data hygiene thresholds.

The resulting poor data quality inevitably gives rise to poor systems acceptance, ultimately resulting in sub-standard customer interactions.

Companies who recognise this and refuse to compromise, such as the Bentley Motor Company, put themselves ahead of the game. Bentley are centralising customer information in one database so customer care, marketing etc all have the same view of a customer.

o ensure only accurate data is captured, a comprehensive set of priorities and business rules need to be assigned to each source.

Centralised data also requires other key data security issues to be addressed. Who is allowed to access the data, who owns the data and which information can be shared across the organisation? These key issues need to be implemented as part of the enterprise-wide data management strategy to protect all parties involved and, crucially the customer.

To differentiate itself from its competitors, organisations need to excel at customer management. Each interaction should build on the customer relationship, leading to an enhanced experience for the customer.”

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