Rico Valdez, Director, Customer Relationship Management, AXA Philippines (Euronext: CS)
I still remember when my sister gave birth to my first nephew (the first in the family) a little over 2 decades ago. Just like any first-time uncle, I was “nervcited” to find out if he is healthy, how he looked like, how my sister was doing and wanted to let her know that we are all happy for her. Milestones like this are always made more special when family is around to show love and support. Unfortunately, during this time, our only means of communication was thru a public phone. The only time that I got to congratulate my sister was when she came home. Although I know my sister felt how proud we were of her, our messages would have been more meaningful had she heard it closer to the time that it happened.
In recent years, when friends and relatives want to share life events, you get to know about it and send your message of joy, support, and appreciation in an instant. The technology that paved the way to instant messaging and social media allowed us to timely connect with people each time stories are shared. These platforms established itself as a medium to share the latest updates, stories, and interests of users. For businesses, this can be a rich source of information that can be leveraged on to anticipate needs of their customers who are most likely users of these platforms.
Now, imagine the situation of my sister happening to selected customers of businesses. With the right information base, tools, and techniques, any business should be able to pinpoint these customers. Wouldn't it be a good relationship-building move to send your customers relevant and timely material during milestones in their life?
Being in the CRM profession for almost 21 years (almost the same age as my nephew)and fortunate to practice it in different industries, I've reached the conclusion that the 2 basic needs of a successful CRM are industry agnostic.
1. Access to data sources that contain the most recent updates about the customer and
2. Having the capability to process information, uncover moment of truths for each customer and proactively act on it.
Allow me to share my definition of a successful CRM. For me, it is a state of an organization's maturity to continuously use data to learn more about their customer, constantly refine insights and progressive relationship-building efforts thru means most relevant to each customer.
Now, let me breakdown my definition in simplified CRM terms.
1. How to continuously use data to learn more about customers.
1.1. With the recent storage solutions (e.g. data lake, cloud, etc.) the vision of having all existing customer information in a single repository, which is accessible to data scientists is now a possibility. This means, the data that starts with the output of data scientists all the way to the results of campaign should flow back to the same repository.
1.2. The tools to be used by the data scientists should be ready to accept new information, have the capability to refresh parameters on a user-defined frequency and push the analytics output to campaigns execution platforms.
Data Scientists are key enablers of continuous learning of customers. With sufficient information base and processed using data science techniques will help uncover moments of truth. It is therefore critical that the people in this function knows the different data science techniques, has business acumen, and has the ability to know which technique is appropriate for a specific business issue. These traits increase the confidence that data-driven solutions and opportunities are reached.
2. Doing progressive relationship-building efforts thru means most relevant to each customer
2.1. By using appropriate data analysis technique, the problem of who & why should we get in touch with the customers and what form of engagement is needed are already addressed, which is already 50% of the work.
You want to know who among your customers are likely to make a next purchase. The output of analytics should be…
a. List of customers with score of at least 60%
b. The natural groups of customers with score of at least 60%
2.2. The remaining 50% covers the materials and campaign offer that is appropriate for each customer segment. The progressive process of relationship-building efforts take place when refinements in the customer journey per natural group is injected as part of a continuous cycle of improvement coming from the learnings gained from previous executions.
We are now in the digital age! For businesses, it only means a much, much faster flow of information. The time it takes for a business to take a data-driven action ideally, instantaneously as new customer information is received will dictate how long you can keep up in the race of staying relevant in the minds of prospective and existing customers.