Retaining and delighting empowered customers requires continuous, technology-enabled innovation and improved customer insight (CI). The logic is simple in theory, but that doesn’t make it any easier to implement in practice.

In my recent report, entitled “Applying Customer Insight To Your Digital Strategy”, I highlight the top lessons learned from organizations in Asia Pacific (AP) that are successfully leveraging CI to fuel digital initiatives. It all starts by ensuring that data-driven decision-making is central to the digital strategy. With that in mind, I want to use this blog post to focus on two key lessons from the report:


Lesson One: Establish A Clear Mandate To Invest In Customer Analytics

Successful companies serve empowered customers in the way they want to be served, not the way the company wants to serve them. When building a mandate you should:

■  Expect natural tensions between various business stakeholders to arise. To secure buy-in from senior business decision-makers, start by illustrating the clear link between digital capabilities and data as a source of improved customer understanding. Identify measurable objectives and then link them to three to four scenarios that highlight where the biggest opportunities and risks exist. Continue to justify data-related investments by restating these scenarios at regular intervals.

■  Link specific CI initiatives to clearly defined, measurable business goals. These goals will include things like improving customer service and experience; driving revenue; increasing productivity; reducing costs; and implementing sustainable continuous improvement strategies. The link must have a direct and unambiguous relationship to achieving the stated business outcomes — although it does not necessarily have to be wholly responsible for the achievement on its own. For example, an emergency services organization ties the benefits of customer analytics directly to reducing emergency services response times.


Lesson Two: Define A Data Strategy To Support The Digital Vision

Focus on providing the actionable data and insights the business requires to better manage the entire customer relationship across all channels. “Data has become organizations’ digital currency,” says Damien Dellala, former director of digital customer intelligence for a major Australian bank. “It’s critical for decision-making at each stage of the business life cycle supporting customer strategy, business cases, projects, marketing, and operations.” When augmenting existing data strategies, be prepared to:

■  Formalize customer-centric goals and initiatives to identify data requirements. Start by understanding the business strategy for creating strong internal links between digital products and services, customer engagement, and improved CX. Then clearly link the stages in this business strategy to data-driven CI requirements to identify information gaps. Sample areas to apply CI data for operational improvements and better CX outcomes could include identifying customer opportunities (intelligent offers); better business case creation (demand planning and forecasting); significant operational improvements (tracking, monitoring, reporting, and dashboards); and benefits realization (return on investment and value analysis).


While mastering communication won’t guarantee project success, it will give you the foundation necessary to ensure your company can embrace digital disruption and improve the customer experience.