Data dream ‘turns to nightmare’

Marketers’ dreams of putting the customer at the heart of their business are being shattered by a double whammy of company culture and data inefficiencies, which is preventing them from building a single customer view (SCV).
This stark finding of a new report by Experian QAS makes even more worrying reading as an earlier study – also by Experian – revealed 84% of consumers would no longer buy from an organisation that failed to take account of their preferences, purchasing history and other customer information.
According to the latest research, while 72% of UK companies see the competitive advantage in using data and insight, just 29% have plans to adopt a an SCV strategy to make this happen.
The study surveyed 400 UK businesses to better understand how they are harnessing data to implement an SCV, ultimately aiming to drive personalised multi-channel engagement with customers.
Over two thirds (67%) of organisations claimed that people-related challenges were a barrier to creating a SCV, while over half (52%) cited data itself as an issue.
In addition, 85% of companies reported that they could have avoided specific business problems over the past year with a SCV in place. And a further 58% felt that an effective SCV would help them overcome various business inefficiencies – with nine out of 10 believing that they can reduce costs across the business with an effective SCV.
Analysis across industry sectors highlights that organisations in utilities and telecoms, leisure and travel, and financial services have experienced more challenges that they felt could have been avoided with a SCV in place than those in business and consumer services, manufacturing, retail, and public sector. Customer complaints and cost inefficiencies are the biggest problems named; with 66 per cent of utilities and telecoms, 58 per cent of leisure and travel, and 55 per cent of financial services citing these as major problems.
Experian QAS managing director Joel Curry commented: “Though companies say they understand the critical importance of having a complete and holistic view of each customer to truly be successful in our data-driven world, the reality is that most are still struggling to come to grips with how to use the data effectively.
“Competition is cut-throat in our current economic landscape and those companies that fail to engage with customers in a way that suits them and that they trust will see those customers take their business elsewhere. There really is no room for error, and there’s only one shot to get it right today.
“It’s no secret that gaining buy-in from the top down and establishing a company culture that aligns people, data and process in order to properly support a SCV implementation is crucial to the success of it,” continued Curry. “When you look at the cold, hard facts, where 90% of companies believe that an SCV strategy will help them cut costs and 80% drive sales, planning for and ensuring the proper implementation of a SCV strategy is crucial to the bottom line and success of a business.”

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