Data management for customers

In today’s fiercely competitive economy and with new sales channels emerging all the time, developing closer relationships with customers is more important than ever, says OpenText


Organisations need to ensure they can present their customers with relevant offers and communication at the right time and place – and in the way they have chosen to interact.

To do this, businesses need to be able to access data from a wide range of sources – customer relationship management (CRM) systems, enterprise resource planning (ERP) packages, social media applications or external databases – to help them make targeted communications that can ultimately drive customer loyalty and sales. If it’s going to be sunny for the next week in an area where a customer lives, they could receive promotional offers for shorts, for example.

For many businesses, however, such data is stored in disparate systems, owned by different parts of the organisation. Many companies have grown organically, developing separate solutions for mobile communications, printed correspondence and their own internal back-end systems.

An effective enterprise information management package can bring all these elements together, reaching out across customer service, marketing and sales teams. Such a package can either migrate data over to a central system or pull information from a range of sources and bring it into a new set-up gradually. This gives the ability to ensure customers receive the same message across any channel, whether that’s internet, mobile, in-store, printed correspondence or any internal communication packages.

OpenText has worked with a number of well-known organisations to help them enhance customer experience or improve their business offering. For instance, Nationwide, one of the UK’s leading building societies, turned to OpenText to help manage the process of setting up new ISAs for customers, to help it comply with financial regulations. As a result, this enabled Nationwide to eliminate three million pieces of paper a year and significantly reduce the amount of time it took to set up a new customer’s business.

OpenText has worked with a number of well-known organisations to help them enhance customer experience or improve their business offering

Telecoms firm Three uses OpenText’s communications management solution to deliver targeted messages and special offers to each customer every month, ensuring they receive the same content regardless of the channel. The business has also realised it can use these communications to boost revenues, offering advertising space to partner companies on the printed statements it sends out each month and helping customers find out about the latest handsets on offer from manufacturers.

Customer experience, though, goes beyond driving sales. OpenText also provides the communication platform for Transport for London (TfL) incident reporting, which they use to log any service delays. This information is vital for the organisation’s own internal processes. The monitoring of incidents allows TfL to produce accurate and timely statutory and performance reporting. By learning from past incidents, they aim ultimately to improve the service to their growing numbers of customers.

AkzoNobel, meanwhile, has seen real value internally in being better able to manage its data resources. The business relies on content, such as images and video, to market products to customers, but would often find different departments paying out money for new shoots. With all resources now stored centrally, the company estimates it is saving £500 for each photograph it can re-use across multiple channels, giving an annual cost reduction of £15 million.

Being able to correspond with and engage customers effectively is essential if businesses are to protect their brand and drive sales in the current competitive landscape. Customers now expect to be able to do business how and when it suits them, and those that are unable to deliver that experience risk losing them to competitors. The key to this – and to those internal efficiencies and compliance with regulations – lies in effective data management. Only those that have such capabilities can really hope to succeed.