Adjusting the Business Based on Customer Contact

Blog Administrator | Data Management, Data Quality | , , , ,

By David Loshin

OK, a few posts ago I noted the change management challenge associated with employing a customer centricity strategy with the desire to do what almost everyone wants to do with master customer data (reminder: cross-sell and up-sell).

The problem is that even with the data, the salespeople involved are neither
trained nor incentivized to adjust their sales approaches to sell beyond their
comfort zone. Yet the method to address this challenge not only asks fundamental
questions about existing business processes, it raises questions about whether
the executed processes actually implement the business.

As an example, we once worked with a client to understand the use of data within
their business processes. When we asked the client to describe the business
process, though, they started to describe the application developed to implement
a business process. This means that from their perspective, the application was
the business process, and they no longer had a distinction between the two!

Over time, those executing a business process are more likely to be driven by
the application than by the intended outcome of the original business process.
But over time, the needs of the business may change even though the applications
do not track accordingly.

As a result, the more you scratch at the need for solidifying and centralizing
customer contact methods, you may begin to see cracks in the foundation,
especially when there is no horizontal alignment regarding corporate management
of customer touch points.

The result of reviewing the many potential customer contact methods provides an
opportunity to reassess the existing business processes (as implemented in
application code) and really consider ways to change the business to accommodate
multi-channel customer contact.

The upshot is that customer centricity has to be designed with a two-fold
intent: map the ways that you interact with your customers and ensure that you
can uniquely identify each customer across the realm of interactions. An open
mind may help expose ways to transition to the point at which you can truly
up-sell and cross-sell your products!