• September 1, 2015
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

4 Ways to Maximize CRM Data

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You might be familiar with the adage "A CRM system is only as good as its data." While this is fairly well known and understood by many customer strategists, too many of them aren't taking the necessary steps to ensure their data is valuable. From inaccuracies to lack of detail, a CRM system can easily be overrun by bad data and, as a result, discourage even the most enthusiastic CRM users. To avoid this scenario, consider these four tips:

First, organizations have to focus on collecting the right data. I'm not referring to demographic data. That's the easy stuff. Progressive companies are coming up with creative ways to connect the physical and digital worlds to track behavioral, or customer experience, data. For example, Uber, through its mobile app, enables passengers to digitally hail a cab, track it via GPS, pay, and provide feedback on the driver. It's such a revolutionary concept, especially for an industry that has successfully evaded the digital world for so long, that other industries are taking notice and following suit. The trucking industry might be the next one to become "uberized," according to a recent Forbes column, "The Disruption Uber Has Brought to the Taxi Business Is Coming to Trucking."

But it's not only about capturing offline behavioral data. It's about leveraging it in a way that maximizes users' experiences. What better companies to learn from than those that specialize in creating great customer experiences? Read the feature "When Customer Experience Is the Ticket," by Associate Editor Oren Smilansky, to see how Disney World is improving visitors' experiences inside the amusement park and how the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum is maximizing visitors' experiences outside of its museum.

The next tip is something that every organization should regularly address—data accuracy. In the column "Make Sure Your CRM Is Well Informed," Jim Dickie writes, "In terms of having correct information on their customers, only 52.1 percent of the firms surveyed reported having data accuracy rates of greater than 75 percent. That number plunges to a troubling 23.1 percent when you assess the data these companies have on their prospects. No wonder companies are still struggling to increase CRM usage adoption. If salespeople don't have sufficient confidence in their company's CRM data, why would they opt in to using the CRM solution as part of their daily workflow?"

The third tip is a bit more advanced, but getting easier thanks to cloud computing. It has to do with data integration. When combined, CRM and ERP data can streamline various tasks such as internal, shipping, and customer data retrieval processes. For more information, check out "Integrate CRM and ERP for Better Intelligence" by News Editor Leonard Klie.

Finally, organizations should move from reactive to proactive data strategies, especially regarding social media and mobile apps. Progressive sports teams are already turning to companies such as Venuetize for social media marketing and mobile app usage for fan loyalty programs; proximity marketing; and in-seat ordering and delivery of food, beverages, and team merchandise, to increase fan engagement and experiences.

When it comes to data, another adage, "garbage in, garbage out," absolutely applies. Not only that, but if your organization is not regularly revisiting how it captures, tracks, and manages data, even good data can turn into garbage very quickly.

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