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Customer Knowledge Management
Most enterprises struggle to gather complete, accurate, and consistent information about their customers. The process of cleansing and integrating customer data is often the hidden "gotcha" in CRM projects. This is rarely because project teams aim too high. Rather, it reflects the fragmented way that most enterprises gather and maintain data about customers in the absence of a vision for customer knowledge management (CKM).
Posted Jun 11, 2002
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Most enterprises struggle to gather complete, accurate, and consistent information about their customers. The process of cleansing and integrating customer data is often the hidden "gotcha" in CRM projects. This is rarely because project teams aim too high. Rather, it reflects the fragmented way that most enterprises gather and maintain data about customers in the absence of a vision for customer knowledge management (CKM). CRM projects provide the perfect opportunity (or excuse?) for enterprises to start formalizing their customer CKM visions and strategies. CKM has four major components: * Defining the types of questions that an enterprise needs to be able to address * Specifying who has access to the information required to answer these questions * Identifying the various touchpoints that the enterprise has with customers and how the most critical pieces of customer information can be gathered through each of these touchpoints * Determining the appropriate architecture for gathering and maintaining the relevant customer information This process begins by defining the basic customer information requirements, e.g., what products and services customers buy, how much revenue they generate for the enterprise, and how purchasing patterns have changed over time. The next step is to build upon these basics, e.g., insights about what factors drive the purchase decision and what factors influence a customer's satisfaction and loyalty. From there, the goal is understand how much margin a customer contributes and how this contribution is spread out over the lifetime of the customer. At the top of the customer knowledge pyramid are strategic insights -- clarity about how a vendor's products and services enhance the customer's economic and strategic success and the types of new product and service features will be important in the future as a result of the strategic and competitive pressures that the client faces. Our experience in working with clients on CRM projects is that the CKM strategy component is often neglected or given short shrift. As a way of helping our clients jumpstart the CKM strategy formulation process, my Deloitte Consulting colleagues and I have developed a short checklist of the types of questions that an enterprise may want to be able to answer about its customers as a result of implementing CRM.
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