Data helps organisations better understand customer’s needs, providing valuable insights that ensure they deliver the right information, for the right customer, at the right time.
Businesses have been chasing the goal of having a ‘single customer view’ and providing omni-channel experiences for a long time. We’ve been helping businesses harness the power of data to drive more informed business decisions and transform customer experiences for 25 years.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights provides a platform for your team to deliver innovative and personalised customer experiences with a streamlined and unified view of data across the whole business. However, there are a few things you need to do to set yourself up for success before getting started.
1. Start with the right team
It’s perhaps trite, but having the right team is critical. Successful teams are those who can clearly articulate the business impact of data decisions to stakeholders who might never have considered customer data in that level of detail before.
Successful projects start with upfront acknowledgement that the organisation will have to address more than just the technical aspects of customer data. You need to also examine what data really means to the organisation and how you can get the most value from it.
That means open discussion between people who really understand the data and people who have the vision for how the data could be applied to deliver amazing insight and inspiring customer interactions.
2. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
What does your customer think about their experiences with your organisation? How would they describe their relationship with your brand? Think about whether you will apply probabilistic or deterministic data signals to identify customers or a mixture of both to better link disparate customer interactions.
Putting yourself into the customer’s shoes will influence how you assemble a single customer view. Thinking of your customer’s needs and wants from the outset will help ensure your project stays true to its values and goals, allowing it to have greater impact, quicker.
Finding the right platform is key to success. With built-in security, privacy, and governance, tools like Dynamics 365 Customer Insights will help you maintain full ownership over your data while making it easy to apply compliance and governance rules with your single view.
These are just a snippet of the types of things you will need to think about based on the unique needs of your organisation and your customers.
3. Don’t forget the big picture, but focus your scope to drive speed to value
Customer data projects that deliver strong ROI control breadth of scope, not depth. When you pay attention to the details early in a project, it translates into faster realised value and a smoother deployment. It also makes it easy to optimise processes for your employees, making it easier for them to do their work and create innovation.
Some of the details it’s worth focussing on are:
- What degree of ‘real-time’ is appropriate to deliver business value? Not every data source or interaction needs to be real-time, and batch refreshes can be much more cost effective.
- How will you make data readily understandable and discoverable to your teams? One organisation we worked with had over 7000 calculated customer data variables – it was quicker for users to create a new calculated variable than find one of the existing ones. Using clear naming conventions for data variables, adding metadata to make them searchable, and promoting their availability around key users will be essential to success.
- How will you develop data competencies? Specifically, the skills needed to be able to manage the data lifecycle. A clear competency development plan is key.
- Think about how you can access the data. Using a platform that works across different devices securely means your employees will be able to work anytime, anywhere, and keep delivering the best experiences to your customers. According to a 2019 Gallup study, engaged employees had 10 percent higher customer ratings.
4. Build your data roadmap
Details don’t have to be at the expense of the big-picture. Successful organisations have a living roadmap for their customer data and their customer data technology projects.
Each step along the customer data journey roadmap should align inputs with outcomes and feedback. This loop continues as you gather data and use these insights to further improve your roadmap.
Think about the actions you want to take and how you want to grow. To do this, identify the data-driven customer interactions you want to provide and the kind of insight you need to inform better decisions.
Once you’ve identified the insights you need, think about the technology you need to gather and harness data to help drive these outcomes. A platform like Dynamics 365 will adapt and extend with your needs, growing alongside your business and help unlock insights and power personalised customer experiences.
Share this roadmap widely among all stakeholders (marketing, IT, sales, customer service, etc.) and update it every time new customer data capability is released to the organisation. This helps everyone contribute, feedback, and buy-in to any phasing decisions that are made.
Finally, turn to technology
Doing these first steps before you start using software means you’ll understand your customer’s needs more and use the power of data to drive better experiences. You’ll also have better buy-in from stakeholders and employees when implementing the technology.
That means you’ll be well placed to streamline how you source, integrate, and assemble data to deliver your single customer view. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights uses AI to help drive insights that your marketing, sales, and customer service professionals need to give personalised experiences to your customers.
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About the author
Alex leads marketing technology for Edit as a key member of the Strategic Consulting team. His mission is to collaborate with Edit’s clients to align their marketing ambitions to an optimised technology landscape, bringing together the right platforms with an organised data set to drive value through improved capability, better marketing operations, and data driven continuous improvement.
Alex balances deep technical knowledge with the ability to understand client requirements and translate them into appropriate, and ambitious solutions. With strong foundations as a software engineer, he has six years experience working with some of the world’s best known marketing data solutions providers. He also has over 16 years pre-sales experience working for a some of the UK’s best marketing solutions providers and system integrators. Alex helps clients select the right solution for them, and adds practical experience of what it takes to make technology projects successful. Alex is a Microsoft Advocate and one of the lead Microsoft CI and Azure technical pre-sales consultants within Edit, Part of Kin + Carta, a top 10 global digital agency (eConsultancy).