Front-office leaders who excel at driving growth and profitability for their companies know that they have to deliver great customer experiences across the full lifecycle—awareness, selection, acquisition, conversion, retention, and expansion. Successfully orchestrating that kind of differentiating customer capability depends on intentional planning across processes, functions and technologies—and data is the key to making it all happen.
You can see the importance of data in things like the struggles many enterprises have to get a consolidated view of their customer—a “customer 360,” as we call it at Accenture. Some companies have insufficient data—it’s trapped in multiple systems, or it’s difficult to access and consolidate, or it’s not even being captured. In other cases, so much data exists from various sources that it’s overwhelming and no one can create actionable, cohesive insights from it. This translates into trouble from a customer’s viewpoint: they have to interact with each function separately, which feels clunky and disconnected, and often drives them away.
Data and the future-ready front office
In a recent Accenture article, I explored our research into the concept we call “future readiness”—a state where companies are agile and responsive to evolving customer and business demands. As shown in Figure 1, a multiplier effect is achieved by using four levers—technology, process, talent and data—to accelerate the journey to operations maturity, and to enhance efficiency and profitability. Better performance across all four levers has a significant positive impact, but pulling the data lever far outpaces the other levers in terms of results—with a 4.2X impact on progressing towards future-readiness.
When it comes to the front office, the impact that data can have is fascinating. Accessing and analyzing the right data can help companies better understand what their customers want—including when and how—and provides valuable insights to power front-office strategies. Sharing and using the right data in a holistic approach across marketing, sales and customer service can create better customer experiences and also progress a company’s maturity level towards future readiness.
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Figure 1: The multiplier effect toward future-readiness
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Using data to generate value from the front office
Another piece of research we recently published, “End-to-Endless Customer Service,” provides additional examples of how data generates value and fuels growth in the front office, specifically within the customer service function. The research found that companies who treat the customer service function as a value center instead of a cost center drive 3.5x more revenue growth. Customer service organizations typically have an abundance of data from their CRM systems, contact logs, call recordings, social media, and cloud contact center systems, among other sources. Harnessing and understanding insights from that data can create value by enabling proactive and predictive services, fueling feedback loops to product development organizations, and maximizing usage of the products and services purchased.
Becoming a data-driven front office
Here are some key takeaways for transforming new data capabilities into winning strategies for the front office:
- Create a strong segmentation strategy: Understand which products, services, and offerings will appeal to your various customer segments at various points in time. Harnessing data effectively will help you better understand the customer archetypes and personas for your products and services.
- Plan your customer interactions: Leverage advanced technologies and capabilities such as AI and machine learning to create integrated insights from sales, marketing and service. Those insights can then be used to design and enable intentional and personalized interactions across all touchpoints and leveraging multiple channels.
- Balance digital and human touches: Building a scalable way to connect with customers is possible by creating the right digital experiences.
Front-office leaders expect their companies to experience significant growth in the coming years. Achieving this, however, will require having a future-ready front office in which data silos between marketing, sales and customer service are removed, enabling great customer experiences.