Business intelligence is rapidly becoming the focus for companies struggling to take advantage of the big data gift horse that’s offering them unprecedented information about how to better gain and retain customers.
As business intelligence and customer intelligence have risen up the business driver priority list, they’re prompting companies to retool their strategies from focusing on products or services to being squarely customer centric.
This paradigm shift has resulted in the need for a new type of executive – the chief customer officer (CCO) – according to a recent article in Harvard Business Review.
What skills will CCOs need to efficiently lead their companies into this evolving customer-focused era? HBR cites three:
- The ability to understand and interrogate data. “They know how to build a hypothesis, mine the data, test a solution and validate.”
- Expertise in bridging the gap between marketing and IT. Customer intelligence leaders must know how to translate the data and insights gleaned from business and customer analytics into language the business can understand.
- An understanding of the customer of today. Those who will excel in customer intelligence can adeptly take the fire hose of information flowing in from multiple channels and devise and analyze microsegments of customers to predict and meet customer needs.
Forrester Research, meanwhile, goes on to note that all employees who focus on digital marketing and sales should have a customer centric focus to “save billions and gain loyalty” from customers.
Forrester analyst Carrie Johnson advises companies that in today’s dynamic and competitive business landscape, “the only way to create sustainable competitive advantage is by being customer obsessed.”
Companies can do this by:
- Spending more on service and the retention of existing customers than on customer acquisition. Zions Bank has boosted its retention of new accounts by 11% with a new multichannel customer onboarding program, Johnson points out.
- Investing in technology like CRM and analytics to gain real-time customer insight. Without this real-time, actionable insight, companies will be hard pressed to create the experience and offerings that will resonate with customers.
- Switching to customer versus channel metrics. Companies should break down the existing marketing channel silos and educate all their employees about the importance of being customer centric.
- Bridging the digital and brick-and-mortar worlds. Mobile programs can be used to take digital strategies associated with in-store and branch mobile points-of-service and self-checkouts to the physical world.
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