In today’s digital world, data quality is more important than ever before, especially if you want to provide an excellent customer experience.
You may be doing a “good job” with the systems you have in place now, after all, customers still use your services; but is good actually enough? Not forever it won't be...
Simply put: poor quality data will damage your business—it might slow you down or cost you financially—but if you're not optimised to deliver a good customer experience, it will limit your ability to grow in the long run.
Poor data can:
To make sure you're not holding back your business's growth, you’ll need to overhaul the inefficient data management practices that you currently have in place.
That’s basically a fancy way of saying that you’ll need to get rid of paper, filing cabinets, and scattered spreadsheets (as much as is reasonably possible), and adopt an all-in-one digital solution.
That means adopting a customer database.
Unconvinced that a database is right for you? Perhaps you feel like you've looked at solutions but not found one that's right for you.
Well, take a look below as we explore how poor quality data management can damage your ability to deliver a great customer experience. It might just give you the kick-start you need to make a change...
1. Poor data can limit the speed with which you deliver results.
“Slow” isn’t a word that many businesses (if any) would want to be a defining trait of their customer experience and with customer expectations higher than ever, speed is essential if you want to keep up with demand.
Think about your own experience when you've been the customer.
As an example, you might call your mobile phone provider to request information and upgrade your contract. You expect them to be able to confirm who you are, get past security checks, and make the upgrade efficiently. Lightning-fast responses help to move things along and if you were waiting even one minute for each individual detail, it’d be a nightmare!
It should be the same for your business too.
No matter what stage of the customer journey they're at (whether it's making an inquiry, purchasing your services, or receiving after-sales care), the interactions should be easy, clear, and efficient. You can’t do that if files aren’t organised, easily accessible, or physically laying out of reach.
Speed is important for both your engineers out in the field and your staff back in the office, and a customer database can help with both. If you’ve gone paperless, a database can let you access information remotely and even synchronise via the cloud so that everything is shared and updated in real-time.
No longer will you have to put up with sheets of ineligible paper that cause errors, delays, and rely on corrections that will not only waste time but can even cause you to lose money.
With an organised database, engineers can also save time by downloading diary data, job sheets, stock lists, and see information conveniently displayed through their smart device, like a mobile or tablet, all whilst out in the field. This lets them deal with customer queries in the moment, rather than hours or even days later. Customers will appreciate being able to see a solution through without having to wait, and everyone wins!
If everyone’s using the same system, there’ll be no crossed wires and less chance of incorrect data spreading. With this information easily accessible, syncing back to the office, your staff can update jobs, profiles, and complete admin work faster and more efficiently. Time, after all, is money and no one wants theirs to be wasted...
2. Poor data can frustrate customers.
It’s true that there are a lot of ways to contact people these days, whether it’s through apps, text, email, phone calls, or social media, but people will still have a preference. If you don’t know how best to contact your customers, or even worse, ignore the preferences they’ve indicated, then you’re going to frustrate them.
With a database, you can collect, store and easily update this information, even allowing customers (or your staff) to update the information with just a few clicks. Being able to access this information and deliver a message to a customer in the right way, at the right time can have a massive impact on your relationship with them.
Knowing when to contact someone is almost as important as knowing what to contact them about. As such, seeing their job history and customer details together can stop your business from seeming intrusive (by not having to ask the same questions over and over), and allow you to deliver experiences that customers are more likely to enjoy.
Considering how easy it is to shop around for quotes, estimates, and reviews, if customers have to wait to get the information that helps them make a decision, they’re going to move on. The same can be said of their experience of using your service too.
If you provide a plodding experience as part of their customer journey, where it takes ages to get an estimate or a booking confirmation or receive something as simple as an invoice or an appointment notice.... well, it doesn’t exactly scream “a job well done”.
As a result, even if the physical work you do (say for a boiler installation for your heating business) is finished well, but the experience of getting there was slow, then that frustration could put them off using your business in the future...
3. Poor data can damage your reputation.
Last year, Forbes reported on a number of reasons why customer experience is essential, saying that:
“96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.”
The sad truth is that customers will rarely talk about a great experience; you’re far more likely to receive aggravation (and complaints) from customers who have had a bad experience than a review from someone who liked your service. If your service is slow, unresponsive, or even inefficient, it can be the difference between a 5-star and a 3-star review (or worse) and when made public online, your reputation can suffer.
What’s more frustrating is that you might have the best customer service team in the world, but if the systems they’re using to try to help your customers are outdated and inefficient, then it’s going to reflect poorly, especially against a competitor who is digitally optimised instead.
If you can enable yourself to resolve simple customer issues in minutes, rather than hours or days, it does amazingly well for your reputation and even makes it easier to incentivise people to leave positive feedback and reviews that you can then share.
Customers may even do it unprompted, as Forbes states with another statistic:
“Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to the company.”
Using paper diaries and accessing information that’s spread over disconnected systems isn’t conducive to delivering a good customer experience. If you’re unable to offer a quality experience, customers will go elsewhere, especially as they can look online and easily see if there’s a better (or higher-rated) alternative.
If you want to provide customers with an excellent experience, you need to go paperless and make use of a digital customer database. It can be surprising to learn just how much of an impact the way you manage, store, and use your customer data can influence the experience they have when interacting with your business.
Why not take a look at how to get started with our Guide to Building a Customer Database?