Great Customer Service Starts With a Single Accurate Database
Decentralized databases are a growing problem. Many telcos and utilities suffer from them, pay for them and often lose customers because of them. Take your typical telco: One unit sells Internet service, another wireless, a third wireline. Each one of these services relies on a different, disconnected and usually out-of-date database. It’s the perfect storm for poor customer service.
Knowing your customer base
Picture this: Your customer service rep accesses an old database and calls a customer to upsell her, only to find out she’s already bought what you’re trying to sell her. This doesn’t exactly instill confidence in your rep, your services or your company. This problem arises when, over time, an organization creates different databases for customer service, sales and billing. The problem is compounded when companies acquire another organization, causing inefficiencies among multiple, disconnected legacy databases, raising costs and seriously impairing your customer service. “What’s needed is a customer integration tool, one that enables you to accurately identify and link customer information to create a complete, single up-to-date view of each customer across all of your disparate databases,” says Tom Lenahan, Vice President of Product Management at Equifax.
Gaining a complete view
Fortunately, there are customer data integration (CDI) solutions you can use to solve this growing problem — systems like Equifax’s Connexus, for example — that can enable you to accurately identify and link customer information regardless of address changes or name changes or variations. “These systems enable an organization to create a single, trusted master database of customer information that can be leveraged by all of your customer service systems,” explains Lenahan. This accurate, up-to-date database allows customer reps to know the specific products and services each customer currently has.
Consolidating must-have data into one easy-to-access database
If you’ve been working with multiple databases, the idea of uniting them into one instantly accessible and up-to-date database may seem impossible. But that’s exactly what these advanced linking systems do. “They apply unique individual, household and address keys to match every record,” says Lenahan. A unique key is created for each person, along with two other keys: one for the household (everyone with the same surname and address at that location) and a location key (the physical location of the home).
They can also enable creation of a customer master database that includes both consumer and commercial customers — or a database that has both active and inactive accounts with standardized addresses. When new customers are added to your database, these systems make it easy to create new associations, ensuring that links between existing records are updated accordingly. This marks a bold departure from the way files and information have traditionally been processed and accessed.
The goal of these new systems is to provide a better, faster and more efficient method of managing and linking customer information. They will finally allow telcos and utilities to unite silos of disconnected data and thereby enhance customer service.
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