Zuko Mdwaba
Zuko Mdwaba

How (the right) customer data ignites customer loyalty

By Zuko Mdwaba, Salesforce SA VP & Country Leader. The right technology ensures a level of efficiency to the automation that can support growth across an organisation.

By Zuko Mdwaba, Salesforce SA VP & Country Leader. Economic uncertainty is forcing businesses across industries to rethink what it means to be efficient. Across departments there is a drive to do more with less – to innovate, to solve customers’ problems and to provide a seamless customer experience all while ensuring that the offering aligns to the customers’ ever-changing needs and priorities.

This is a tall order, even in times of growth and prosperity, which highlights the need for the right tools and the right data to inform strategy and decision-making at every level to ensure the customer experience is one that ultimately translates into customer satisfaction and – more crucially – loyalty.

The data-personalisation duo 

The right data is central to achieving the goals outlined above but is all the more difficult as the amount of data created, captured, replicated, and consumed each year is expected to more than double by 2026. As such, personalisation is the solution for success now. And while the benefits of personalisation are widely touted, it’s not without complexity as consumers grow more aware of data privacy. Companies wanting to unlock the benefits of personalisation through data will have to be compliant, first and foremost, and ensure that data is being put to use in a way that adds measurable value to the customer.

A brand that I’ve mentioned before, but certainly worth holding up again as a best practice example, is Clicks. The well-known South African health and beauty company worked with Salesforce to personalise every interaction – both in-store and online – that they have with their customers. The right data helped inform the brand’s content strategy so that they were able to deliver high-quality content that reflects a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and interests. The goal was to build loyalty, through personalisation, and the numbers certainly speak to the efficacy of this approach.

Clicks grew its data by 300% in just six months but, more significantly, their emails are now achieving a 20% open rate and a 1.1% average click through rate. Moreover, the ClubCard programme, winner of Best Loyalty Programme of the Year award in the retail sector, added 600,000 new members to the programme as a result of this new, highly relevant approach to data and personalisation.

Optimise with automation 

Cloud technology has a key role to play in reaching the level of automation and business efficiencies needed to weather the economic headwinds. Currently, the average company uses nearly 1,000 applications to run their business and store customer data, according to Salesforce research. This isn’t efficient, effective, or affordable, and highlights that data in and of itself is not particularly useful. What is useful is a simple 360 degree view of each customer, which is the basis for the personalisation that drives results.

The right technology ensures a level of efficiency to the automation that can support growth across an organisation. While this increases the demand on IT teams, the right technology makes it easy for non-technical teams to leverage and apply data in a no/low-code way. For example, drag and drop digital and data capabilities will allow teams to automate processes and create new services.

The logical takeout from this is that companies must prioritise tools that maximise time and reduce admin – namely reporting, CRM and account/contact management – and enable teams to focus more on customer service. To reduce time switching from tool to tool, we can expect to see more businesses consolidating their tech stack over the coming months.


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