Getting Ready to Transform Information Into Growth & Profitability

If you could wave a magic wand and make everything in your organization work together to create the perfect shopping experience, would you do it? Of course you would! Smart executives are always striving to improve customer satisfaction because they know that happy shoppers are the foundation of successful companies.

The desire to effectively manage promotions, processes, and people has fueled the growth of the multi-billion dollar customer relationship management (CRM) industry. Unfortunately, somewhere between the software sales force and corporate buyer there was a miscommunication. The idea that the perfect turnkey system existed took root and grew into legendary expectations. Whether it began with a promise impossible to keep or a manager desperate for a way to simultaneously increase sales and profits, we will never know. The result was disillusioned companies and a shake-out in the CRM industry.

The major challenge any company faces in a system conversion is logistics. Consolidating data from multiple departments is daunting at best, overwhelming at worst. Multichannel companies have the problems compounded exponentially. They have to combine different systems, metrics, and processes into useful information. One look at all the available information can overwhelm the most seasoned statistician. Digging through volumes of data to find hidden treasure isn’t glamorous, but it can launch your company into a new world of opportunity.

Start the process by identifying data sources, the information available, and how it might be used to improve sales, service, and satisfaction. You might even find that you don’t need a new system; you simply need to improve the management of information already available.

Some words of caution – data integrity is the most critical requirement for all analytics. Order management systems can have items miscoded. Cookies, the driving force of many web reports, are often deleted resulting in skewed information. Clerks will sometimes use their member cards for other customers, and external sources have their own measuring systems. All of these issues can have a negative effect on the planned results. Verify the integrity of every source before the information is utilized in a management decision.

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