You Need a Customer Data Strategy to Drive Your CX Effort

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To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, and to a strategist, the proper response to any project is a strategy! Not every issue facing your company requires a grandiose comprehensive approach, but customer data certainly rises to that standard.

Personal information is like uranium – it generates kilotons of energy, but it can also be a killer if mishandled. How can I make this assertion? 18 years in the CX field, plus a 10-second Google search for “data breach.” Take this article from Business Insider on July 10, 2018:

At least 15 separate security breaches occurred at retailers from January 2017 until now. Many of them were caused by flaws in payment systems, either online or in stores.

Data breaches are on the rise for both retailers and other businesses. According to Business Insider Intelligence, data breaches are a real danger for both brands and customers, and they can affect a customer’s trust in brands.

According to a study by KPMG, 19% of consumers would completely stop shopping at a retailer after a breach, and 33% would take a break from shopping there for an extended period.

Your customer data strategy should manage the downside risks and help catalyze the benefits that first, second and third-party data unlocks. Here are the elements that I look for in a customer-focused data strategy:

  1. Customer Data Inventory: Document the current sources and uses of customer data. What types of data, where and how is data obtained, stored, and used by the organization today?
  2. Data Capture: How will you obtain the right data on our prospects and customers over time and across channels to build actionable profiles, drive targeting and personalization?
  3. Data Management: What data will you collect in the future? How will you store and share it? How will data hygiene be implemented? What data standards and formats will we use? What insights will you derive from it?
  4. Governance: Who can view and handle the data? How do you make policy or process changes? When do you meet and how do you make decisions?
    Privacy Policies and Compliance: What is our promise to customers on how you collect, use and share their data? Are you compliant with GDPR, GLB, or HIPAA? How are you communicating this to customers? Do you have platforms in place to respond to privacy preferences?
  5. Data Monetization: This one is my favorite! Many large, diverse corporations are waking up to the fact that they have oceans of customer data and very little idea what to do with it. Companies like NBC Universal are building entire teams to identify, unify and monetize their data assets in new and creative ways. For example, how can Parks combine their own consumer data with that of their media side colleagues to boost attendance and create new thrills and experiences?


Your CX strategy will only be as good as the quality and quantity of customer data will allow. Begin thinking about your data strategy in the early stages of the CX effort. Include a broad group of experts in the project, including marketing, IT, service, and even legal staff to answer these questions. Keep an eye on the real prize – using diverse data sets to create new products, services, and experiences.



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