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What Does Customer Data Management Software Do?

Customer data management software creates an up-to-date customer database, which allows you to manage and organise all of the information you have about your customers.


This information can be used to develop strong relationships with customers and helps you to provide a high level of service at any interaction.



Open source customer data management

When you consider an open source customer data management system, you will likely have no cost to acquire and try it out. This gives you a chance to test the suitability of the system for your needs. It’s like taking a car for a test drive.

When a customer data management system is open source, it doesn’t mean that it’s free. Open source systems are free from licensing costs. They will however often come with costs associated from deployment, training and maintenance.

There’s also the fact that in most cases, open source provides work together to fix bugs, address issues, adapt and modify the system and innovate the technology. Sharing ideas, expertise and strategies for working with the system is encouraged. Code is refined and shared, making it easy to grow the system as updates occur.

Two open source customer data management systems that are worth considering are Pimcore and Apache Unomi. These systems use the open source model to help you to collate customer records and information and get a more accurate set of data about the preferences of your clients.


What customer data management will do

When you select and implement a customer data management system for your enterprise business, you will not only have a tool that creates, manages and stores customer data. You will also have a system that has the capacity to:

  • Review customer exchanges
  • Access data and analytics about business interactions
  • Automate contacts with your list segments
  • Create records about leads, and document follow up
  • Improve targeted marketing messages
  • Unify organisational knowledge
  • Create a data set that underpins all the work that you do
  • Ensure your team are creating accurate and thorough records


Benefits of customer data management

When you achieve a good process and standards for customer data management, you’re sure to see benefits. When responding to a 2018 survey 95% of senior executives stated that data is a pivotal part of their business strategy development process. Considering and improving customer data effectively is an important part of any digital transformation strategy.

There are benefits for the customer:

  • Consolidated records about interactions- they won’t need to explain themselves over and over each time they get in touch
  • Prompt responses to contacts, enquiries and complaints
  • An overall greater level of satisfaction and trust in your brand

There are also benefits for your organisation

  • Creation of a single data source for customer records and documents
  • Better conversions and sales outcomes
  • Service standards can easily be achieved
  • Improved brand perceptions and loyalty
  • Ability to obtain accurate customer statistics and data
  • Streamline business processes

Even making small data management improvements can bring about big changes in customer experience and associated revenue.


How a customer data management software should operate

Customer data management software should provide you with accessible, accurate and relevant records related to your interactions and exchanges with customers. It should be able to pull data from other sources into one database. Because all your knowledge about your customers is consolidated, the customer data management software will also help you to generate reports and statistics, which can be used to inform the future of your business.

A major benefit of this software can be seen when a customer contacts you for information about their order, or to raise an issue or a complaint. The person dealing with this interaction will have ready access to records about previous purchases, contacts and concerns.


What to think about before you choose a customer data management software system

If you have made the decision to get data management software for your enterprise business, there are a couple of steps that will need to occur. Before you commit to one particular system:

  • Assess your existing systems- having an idea about the volume of records, and the integrity of your data is important.
  • Understand your current and future needs- most data management systems will come with a core set of fields that will enable you some customisation. But before you commit to one of the more basic systems, try to get a sense of what your customer records and database will look like in five, or ten years. Look for a system that can scale.
  • Consider database reporting- as time goes on, using customer data from your system will become increasingly important. Consider reporting requirements.
  • Make some decisions about credentials- try to detail which employees will need access to what records.



Customer data management best practices

Poor data management practices can really let your business down. While a customer data management system will help you order and coordinate your customer data, you are still going to need some data processes in place. This will help you ensure your data is accurate, up-to-date and without duplication or error.

When you implement a new system, staff training is essential. Everyone needs to be on the same page about how fields, files and records are created, named and used. For example; are street addressed listed in full, or are abbreviations used? Does Patrick Owen live on Dartmouth Street or Dartmouth St? Establishing governance and conventions manuals will help you do to this.

To ensure the overall structure of your customer data management system is maintained, be clear about who has access to do what within the system. Try to limit the number of people who have administrative privileges. Many organisations set up user groups or create system champions so that data use stays at front-of-mind.

Other tips for best practice

  • Deploy validation and checker tools
  • Monitor and review your records on a regular basis
  • Consolidate rather than fragment data sources and sets


Customer data management best strategy

When it comes to customer data management strategy, in addition to selecting your consumer data wisely (mining for quality over quantity), implementing a cohesive information collection process is essential.

While you might get the vast majority of your customer insights from a small handful of tools, platforms, or sources, without the ability to view, interact, and analyse with your data from one central location, your information could become fragmented, making it less effective.

It is worth investing in customer data management software that allows you to collect, curate, and drill down into your consumer insights from one central location or live dashboard. That way, you will ensure cohesion and fluidity as well as a full and reliable view of the information that is most valuable to your business.


Customer data management tools

Collecting and organising customer data is well and good, but using that information effectively is key for business growth. Investing in software that can generate useful information, but then not using the system to create analytics and reports is a lost opportunity.

Depending on the system you choose, you may be able to access information such as:

  • Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
  • Cost-per-Click (CPC)
  • Cost-per-Acquisition (CPA)
  • Customer satisfaction ratings
  • Net Promoter Score
  • Customer Effort Score
  • Customer Retention rates
  • Total transaction and record rates


Challenges with customer data management tools

It can be hard to know with which team the responsibility for customer data lies and you might have recognised a lack of organisation ownership over customer data. Marketing teams might be the ones who use the data, IT might set up the system but not feel responsible for data input, business development have a stake but their role is not made clear.

You might also run into difficulties on the following points:

  • Lack of proper basement of data integrity before installation
  • Systems are too heavenly fragmented and can’t integrate
  • Data embedded in applications
  • The chosen tool can’t scale or is lacking flexibility to meet changing requirements

If you are not sure about commitment for undertaking a customer data change process, look internally. Customer records are a complex data set to commence a change project with- are there any other groups of data that could be considered first?


Data management considerations in B2B

The benefits of customer data management systems should be pretty apparent for B2C businesses. But good customer data management is really important for B2B too. In a B2B environment, you will want to create different fields for your customers and leads. You will also want a system that allows you to effectively group and segment your contacts list dependent on relevant characteristics. You might also want to create records related to the business’s structure and ownership model. You may need records to relate to individual staff members, directors or leads. Recording interactions, calls and email exchanges might become critical if you are trying to land a big deal.

The bottom line: Every business needs a good customer database that safely stores customer data from across systems. These records help you to more fully understand the preferences and practices of your customers, enabling you to use this knowledge to grow your business.

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