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Five Tips for Using Customer Data

By Ernan Roman, President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing

Customers have learned that in order to have a more customized experience they need to provide the data to drive those high-value communications and experiences. However, the burden is on marketers to become better in delivering on that expectation in order to give customers a reason to supply the necessary data.
In a recent study by Consulting firm Emnos, it was noted that shoppers want relevant solutions – tips and advice that will simplify their lives, save on time and deliver information. However, 83% feel that retailers are not providing sufficient information and resources.
This should be a wakeup call to marketers to do more than just collect data. They should use customer information to provide a clear and obvious improvement in the customer experience.

This fact is reinforced by a recent survey from data insight company ClickFox, which stated that about 32% of consumers said they’re most willing to share personal data if they feel loyal to a brand.
Data influences every decision that Avis Budget makes, from product to distribution to communication. With records from 40 million customers, finding data to analyze wasn’t an issue, it was how to structure the use of data that was the challenge. Understanding the value of the “total” customer through data helped the company to determine communication strategies and helped to differentiate customer service solutions.
Jeannine Haas, CMO, Avis Budget Group stated, “...we look for ways to infuse the customer experience with data… It helps us organize our contact strategy... which in turn increases [its] effectiveness ... The most critical achievement of the project may be the “single view” of the customers...Information is consolidated into a web-based dashboard that the front-line customer-facing employees can access.”
The company used data technology to get a single 360-degree view of its customer by applying a segmentation strategy called “customer lifetime value” (CLV). They looked for ways to infuse the customer experience with intelligence Tim Doolittle, Vice President of CRM, Avis Budget, noted that “Differentiation today is based on customer service and customer experience... We lacked an organized process and analytics infrastructure to leverage our data assets, to improve marketing ROI and the customer experience and to drive long-term customer value...”
“...We’ve added win-back and peer prospecting for a total of six segments, and that’s how we organize our contact strategy group. That approach has increased the effectiveness of our contact strategy, in many cases above 30% over control.”


  1. Use data to provide useful information. Make it easy for customers to understand that you’re collecting data in order to give them a better experience.
  2. Use data to solve problems. Identify issues and solve problems based on customer input and customer communications.
  3. Positive experiences drive customers to share data. Marketers need to continuously provide excellent customer experiences because this is what proves knowledge of customers as a person rather than just a transaction.
  4. Use data to actionably improve customer communication. Due to lack of customer insights companies are often only able to provide generic responses, leaving the customer feeling more frustrated. Personalize communication, responses and experiences.
  5. Don’t just collect data...use it as a tool. Look beyond the last click, or the most recent search, to provide an experience that covers a consumer’s entire purchasing journey.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-bsed guidance, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients’ customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships. The firm’s Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp. More info at

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