Experts have long talked about the 360-degree of customers in near mythical terms and as a generally worthwhile, if not actually achievable, goal. A new business imperative could up the ante for integrating data about customers, according to Gartner.
In the past, what that’s really meant is that they want to align channels, such as in-store, online and customer. Now, the goal is to improve the customer engagement across business divisions as well. Basically, what that means is that they’ve added marketing and sales into the mix.
That’s going to be a big job, too. A Scribe Software survey released in October found that only 16 percent of companies support full integration between CRM and other business systems. And I can’t swear by this data because it’s a few years old, but back in 2012, Scribe found that 35 percent of businesses planned to handle CRM integration by manually re-entering the data.
So, clearly, it’s time to step up the game on CRM integration.
One caveat: Integrating everything with CRM sounds like a brilliant idea, but it’s not entirely risk-free. For instance, if you integrate three databases and have poor data quality practices, you will irritate me. That’s the exact opposite of the original goal: a better customer experience.
What’s more, that annoying of customers could result in a 25 percent reduction in potential revenue gains, Gartner writes in its press release.
That’s 25 percent of your potential new revenue - gone.
Now I’ve talked about this a lot in the past in terms of data quality, and how poor data quality leads to wasted funds from duplicate mailings and so forth. But I think this may be the first time I’ve seen an amount for what that annoyed customer will cost you. Honestly, 25 percent seems like a fair trade to me, but I’m biased against being annoyed.
What can business leaders and CRM folks do to avoid that? It’s a little thing called “data quality.” And the way to iron out all the data quality problems you’ll create during integration is to invest in master data management, sayeth Bill O’Kane, research director of Gartner and co-author of a new report, “MDM Is Critical to CRM Optimization.”
“CRM leaders must understand the benefits of the MDM discipline to CRM and make it part of their CRM strategy,” he states. “MDM is critical to enabling CRM leaders to create the 360-degree view of the customer required for an optimized customer experience.”
And, as luck (and PR) would have it, Gartner is hosting two upcoming Enterprise Information & Master Data Management Summits to discuss exactly these kinds of trends.