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Three Words That Tell Me Your Customer Data Platform Is a Failure

A guest blog post by Alan J. Porter, Founder and Chief Content Officer at The Content Pool


a black coffee mug with the expression "UGH" printed on it in white letters, handwritten-style

Account number, please.” Three simple words tell me I am about to have a less-than-optimal customer experience.


It’s an all too familiar scenario: I call up a company, and the phone system asks me to punch in my account number to verify who I am. And then every time I get passed on to another step in the process, I am asked again to give my account number and verify my name.


Derailed by data silos


It’s an obvious tell that the company I’m calling has its customer data siloed in systems that don’t talk to each other. Once I punch my account number into a supposedly automated system, that data, and the customer profile associated with it, should travel with me on every subsequent interaction, no matter who is handling my call at the moment or which department that person works in.


Isn’t that the promise that customer data platforms (CDP) are supposed to deliver? After all, CDP technology is designed to provide a persistent, unified customer database to other systems across the enterprise. But is that really what’s happening? Too often, companies see CDPs solely as marketing tools, and as a consequence keep them siloed within specific marketing-driven operational functions. These companies use CDPs to drive marketing campaigns, not to improve the customer experience.


Look at your company the way customers do


When marketers talk about the omnichannel experience, they are usually referring to the various channels through which they deliver their messages: websites, social media, email, etc. It’s an inside-out viewpoint built around a broadcast model. They are failing to look at their company the way their customers do — as a single entity.


When customers engage with you, they don’t do so because they are anxious to consume your latest marketing message, they do so because they want a question answered. They don’t want to passively consume, they want to engage in some sort of conversational relationship that will provide value and help them.


More to the point, they don’t care which functional group or department the information they need comes from. They don’t know your business-unit structure or your operational hierarchy. To them, your company is a single entity, and every interaction with that entity is a reflection of your brand experience.


Asking a customer to supply the same information, again and again, is a bad brand experience.


If your CDP acts solely as a siloed enabler of marketing campaigns and doesn’t improve the customer experience, then it is failing.


 

This post originally appeared at The Content Pool. Sign up for the free weekly The Content Pool newsletter at https://thecontentpool.substack.com/.

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