Are your customers turning into chameleons?

It may be noticeable that, like chameleons, they are becoming harder and harder to identify. And there is a reason for this. They are constantly changing their personal identifiers, like email, mobile numbers, or cookie IDs.

The process to properly identify individuals we call “identity resolution”, and failures in identity resolution may sometimes have quite negative consequences.

Customers actively dislike not being recognised, for instance being treated as a new recruit when in fact they have been buying from you for years, or being sent the same message twice, and in addition to that there is a cost for the organisation with added communications costs.

Lack of good identity resolution processes also makes a nonsense of trying to calculate customer lifetime value or undertaking forward business planning based around your expected rates of recruitment and attrition.

So what does a good identity resolution process consist of?

We see it as matching all available personal identifiers, from every one of your customers, to get the best possible chance of joining your customer data inputs from multiple sources into actual customer records.

This used to be a relatively straightforward task when the main personal identifier was the postal name and address, although that in itself posed some considerable challenges.

With the usual mix of badly typed addresses, varying address structures, and incorrect postcodes we often find there is a problem just within name and address matching. In a recent case we found 25% name and address duplicates.

But the postal address is just one of multiple personal identifiers, each of which can change at any time.

We have all become identity chameleons, changing our mobile numbers, emails, cookie IDs etc with great regularity.

There is however a relatively simple solution – just keep hold of all the personal identifiers you have been able to link to each individual since you first recognised them, so that you have the best possible chance of identifying them when the reappear.

This is exactly what our cloud-based customer data platform does with the data it ingests; as each individual item of customer data is taken in, its identifiers are matched across the entire customer base.

If you think that you may have an identity resolution problem with your customer data, we can offer you a very low-cost solution; we can trial match all your customer data sources together in UniFida, and report on the amount of duplication that exists between them.

This will tell you how many customers you actually have, and how many duplicates you are carrying.

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Why most ‘CRM’ systems are not really what they claim to be!


On the surface CRM systems give the appearance of covering most things you might need when you are looking for technology to help you manage relationships with customers.

But the reality is that they have been designed to only deliver the basics.

Yes, they manage what they call ‘contacts’ but these are usually only matched together using email addresses. The much bigger and key role of identity resolution is left unresolved.

Customers in fact have many different identifiers like mobile phone numbers, cookie IDs, postal addresses, account numbers etc and there are usually multiple versions of each relating to a single customer. All versions of these personal identifiers need to be stored so that customers reaching you through multiple channels can be properly identified.

Next CRM systems only include a part of your customer data. Your customers browse your website, they visit specific pages, they arrive there via different forms of on-line advertising, and all this vital information needs to be included in your single customer view.

CRM systems may report sales at a company or salesman level but they don’t look at longer term customer value, or how different channels and different customer recruitment propositions bring different types of customers with different kinds of customer needs.

CRM systems may undertake bulk email campaigns, but these are not usually synchronised with other channels such as post or SMS; also given that they don’t generate any added value customer knowledge such as probability of response or likelihood of attrition, the selections they make can only be via quite simplistic filters.

CRM systems were born out of the need to enable sales forces to record their activities and results; they were not designed to ingest data from multiple online and offline sources, and deliver a complete customer view.

Over the last five years or so a new breed of technology, Customer Data Platforms or CDPs, have been developed to allow you to properly relate to customers, and to make all aspects of your marketing accountable so that for instance an online order can now be linked back to the several online and offline contacts that preceded it.

If you would like to find out why you might need a CDP as well as a CRM, please see our presentation:


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Are you having an identity crisis?

Back in the ‘70s it was de rigour for cool people to be undergoing an identity crisis, and this involved trying to fathom out who the hell one was, why one had been put on the planet in the first place, and what other people would make of one’s extraordinary persona. This malaise could continue for several years and was only cured by a major distraction like falling in love.

Roll forward to the matter of fact ‘10s, and an identity crisis is more likely to involve losing one’s user names and passwords, or worse still having someone else steal them.

The very concept of identity has mutated into a set of letters, numbers, and codes by which organisations can recognise us as unique individuals; so much for the soul searching of previous generations.

The recently enacted GDPR tacitly assumes that identity crises have been banished, that organisations and individuals can immediately recognise each other, and that there is never a problem in tying together all the personal information that lies behind different doors, accessed by recognising identifiers like email address, cookie ID, mobile phone number etc.

This clearly is not the case, and for it to change, organisations are going to have to put in place a much more sophisticated process for identity recognition; something that we call a digital passport.

As we frequently change many of our identifiers e.g. get a new mobile phone number, different email, new tablet etc. an organisation needs to maintain an historic record of all means by which we have previously communicated our persona to it. This historic set of identifiers can then give us the best chance of recognising an individual when they appear though one of our many communications channels.

Developing this kind of digital passport is something that we have made a key component in the design of UniFida, our cloud based single customer view technology.

Contact us if you’d like to find out more about how we can help your organisation.