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Data as a Currency

The days of ‘data overload’ have long gone and instead we have a headlong executive rush to garner customer information and wave the magic wand of analytics to transform it into gold through monetisation

Organisations today have many ‘touch points’ with their clients and customers, from field and officebased salespeople to accounts and customer services. Each produces a data iteration; some detailed, like sales or account queries, and some as simple as a payment acknowledgement.

The problem for most organisations is that this wealth of data is neither holistic – seen in the whole – nor ‘joined up’ within an organisation. For example, does the product development team know about the user issues being fielded by customer services that might be impacting accounts cash collection?

In recent years, enterprises large and small have attempted to address such problem through the digital transformation (DX) of their organisation. The drivers for DX have been both wide and deep but can be summarised by the need i) to mitigate against the risk of being disrupted in their own markets by a more nimble, digitally savvy competitor and ii) to gain a higher level of customer service through a more complete understanding of customers’ likes and dislikes.

Analyst firms constantly place achieving customer service excellence as the primary driver whilst at the same time advocating the use of data analytics to reveal where both the threats and opportunities for the enterprise are.

For small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs), analytics can look complex, daunting and expensive to implement, but in practice this doesn’t have to be the case.

Bart Delgado, Managing Director of Akixi, which offers cloud-based solutions that scale up to the enterprise level on a pay as you go model, suggests that businesses can quickly work out the value of analytics.

“How many calls to the organisation were not answered nor had return calls made to the caller?,” he asks. “If the business can’t answer, then they are just throwing productivity to the wind and losing income. All the effort put into marketing their products and services to generate business is wasted. To establish how much resource and income is wasted just multiply the lost calls by a typical conversion rate and an average order value. Do it daily, weekly and monthly and you get a big number.”

Many organisations today use a wallboard to indicate response times for call answering.

“But,” says Delgado, “is that the only form of contact measured? Today we are in a digital age; many customers, especially the Millennial generation, like to do everything on their phone and that doesn’t mean just calling you. They like messaging and they like chat. Do you know how many emailed sales enquiries you get every day and what your response times and success rates are for each of these? So termed omnichannel experiences such as these have become the norm for a generation of customers.”

Carl Boraman, Director of Strategic Alliances at Tollring, says the big opportunity for SMEs is the ‘democratisation’ of customer data – making it available to all in their organisation and understandable by everyone.

“Analytics is the key; it can truly help SMEs ‘level the playing field’ and help convert customer interaction data quickly and easily into knowledge and actionable intelligence. Early feedback shows SMEs who have harnessed the power of analytics have increased their turnover, achieved higher profits and expanded their workforce. However, to succeed the solution needs to be simple to deploy and use whilst delivering tangible and measurable results quickly. Off-the-shelf cloud analytics tools deliver this whilst being available on a predictable fixed monthly cost per user.”

Compliance Caution

Since the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018 there have been some pretty hefty fines issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for non-compliance with the new regulations. Caution should therefore be taken with client information collected and stored as a result of any company activity. The ICO website contains up-to-date guidance.