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Moving from Customer Data to Customer Knowledge

The collection of customer data has become an issue for many companies. However, the “customer knowledge” approach also implies the definition of a clear strategy upstream and the implementation of appropriate technologies. This is necessary to really take advantage of the often large volumes of recovered client data. How can we move from simple data collection to the implementation of an effective knowledge-based approach?

Customer knowledge is based on a philosophy and strategy

“Customer knowledge” is not a same synonymous with “customer data” because customer knowledge presupposes a philosophy and a strategy.

Customer knowledge is inseparable from a customer-centric approach. This involves placing the client, his or her concerns, expectations, needs and requirements at the heart of the business. This way of thinking is actually the result of a recent “revolution” from traditional business strategies which tend to be focused on their products (product-centric). In a word, customer knowledge presupposes a complete paradigm shift, a new philosophy.

Integrating customer knowledge within your company involves reorienting your way of thinking and changing mindsets. Simple in appearance, this in reality presupposes a change of culture and a work of awareness of all the teams.

Customer knowledge is also based on a strategy. This differs according to the companies and sectors of activity considered, but still answer these key questions:

  • What kinds of data do I need to improve customer relationships and customer satisfaction? You need to determine the relevant and exploitable data, which implies a strong understanding of your market.
  • Which online and offline channels do I have to set up to collect the data I need? How to set up these channels?
  • How to organize internal data management and division of roles between teams (marketing, customer service, sales, management, etc.)? What tools can be used to give everyone the opportunity to use the data?
  • How to use the collected data in practice and use it in decision-making?

The strategy defines both a way of working and objectives to be pursued. A customer knowledge strategy generally has two objectives:

  • A marketing objective: thanks to customer knowledge, you will be able to offer personalized offers to your customers. In other words, to offer your customers relevant offers at the right time and with the right channels. To go further, find out what is the place of customer knowledge in marketing.
  • A customer relationship objective: Customer knowledge allows us to customize customer service interactions with customers.

In both cases, it is to improve the customer experience in order to generate more customer satisfaction, and behind, generate more sales. This is why the concepts of “customer knowledge”, “customer experience” and “customer satisfaction” are inseparable. They involve each other.

As we can see, the integration of customer knowledge involves a demanding work upstream, habitual changes and the establishment of a comprehensive strategy.

Customer knowledge requires software and tools

As part of your strategic thinking, you will be led to choose software. No customer knowledge without suitable tools. You will mainly need two types of software:

  • CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that will give you the ability to centralize and organize all the data you have on your customers in a single referral database. The choice of a single CRM interface will allow you to find yourself among the thousands of data that you are likely to collect from your customers.
  • Data collection software that can enrich your CRM. The CRM software contains your customer database, consisting of contact lists, information fields, and so on. The customer base is the raw material of your customer knowledge. The collection software allows – via connectors or APIs – to feed this database in real-time and in an automated way. The “technical” performance of a CRM is measured not only by its ability to manage and organize data, but also by its ability to integrate easily with your different collection channels.

Defining a clear customer knowledge strategy, setting measurable targets and choosing the right tools will not only allow you to obtain more information about your customers, but also to exploit them efficiently by integrating them with your customers.

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