Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why Integrating Your Data Systems is Key to Positive Customer Experiences

Working within the customer contact industry does make me particularly critical of the experiences and communications I receive in my everyday life and whilst I try to leave my professional hat in the office, I frequently find myself critiquing the service and communications I receive from companies.

Recently I used the Odeon website to book my tickets for the latest film in the Bond franchise, Skyfall. As a regular cinema-goer I have a profile on their website which lists Chelmsford as my local cinema; using this profile I booked my tickets, before anybody has the chance of ruining Skyfall for me.

The Odeon online booking system is straightforward and easy to use and as you would expect, I received a confirmation email from them after completing my purchase. However, two days later I received a marketing email from Odeon saying “we can see you haven’t booked tickets for Skyfall yet at your local cinema. It’s not too late as there are still tickets available ... just click here.” 

Receiving this email brought two thoughts to mind. My initial reaction was whether my ticket booking has been successfully completed. The second thought was why their two systems (booking and marketing) aren’t integrated, preventing me from receiving emails that are misleading and misinformed. Fortunately my booking was successful so I will be able to see Skyfall unimpeded. I did however email Odeon to question the marketing message and as of yet, have not received a response.

There are important lessons to be learnt from this experience for customer contact and service professionals.
  1. The data that you collect should be used to shape your customer communications; ensuring that if you are going to use marketing emails, that the messaging is accurate and relevant to the recipient.
  2.  If you are going to request information from your customers it is important that you use it effectively to deliver personalised marketing and communications.
  3. There is significant value in linking up your data systems, not only does this allow you to avoid such mistakes, but creates additional opportunities to cross and up-sell.
  4. Companies need to be prepared for responses from customers, particularly if they get it wrong, answering their queries quickly and efficiently can minimise the negative impact.
  5.  Ignoring the value of integrating data systems and communications can be detrimental to brand image.
Whilst this may only be a relatively minor mistake in delivering an integrated marketing experience to customers, it does highlight to companies the confusion and negative impact a mistimed or misinformed communication can have. It will not however limit my enjoyment of the film, even if the booking experience was compromised.

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