Chris sat in the conference room waiting for Karen, the CIO, to arrive. Her list of customer reports was a bit longer than Karen would like but there really wasn’t much she could do about it. IT had been swamped for the last several months with a new POS system, and the last thing it needed was another major project on its plate. Chris wished she could bypass these guys entirely and go after the information herself, but there were no cross-departmental access tools in place. She had no choice but to work within their schedule.
Karen hurried in the conference room several minutes later. After the customary bout of pleasantries, they got down to business by reviewing the check list of requested reports:
- Active /inactive customer counts
- Purchase trends
- Categories shopped
- Items per transaction
- Purchase channels
- Tender types
- Repeat visits
- Elapsed time between purchases
- Demographic profiles
- Acquisition and attrition rates
And this was only round one. Chris assumed that the answers to these questions would lead to even more questions. Karen looked at the report and grimaced.
“Yikes, this is going to take some time.”
Chris nodded – “I know, but we’ve really got to get our arms around customer behavior so we can better understand what we need the new loyalty program to motivate. Besides, we need benchmarks so we can measure the program’s impact on behavior over time.” Chris felt so very buttoned-up.
“Understood – we’ll do all we can to get this out ASAP, but realistically, the reports will trickle over to you over the span of a few weeks. I’ll assign a point person to work with you on the specific details of what you want to see in each report.”
Karen shoved the reports list into a folder and started heading out the door. She had one parting comment. “Oh, by the way, if it’s not in your plan already, you’ll probably want to start investigating business intelligence tools. I’m guessing you’ll want quicker access to data once the program is in place”.
Gulp. Chris swallowed so hard, she was sure Karen had heard it from outside the door. Her mind raced back to the team meeting. They talked about: Customer and business knowledge, competition, resources, and vendors. No one even considered technology. Another wave of panic started to sweep over her. Chris just knew that the days of home-by-6:00 and work-free weekends were about to be a thing of the past.
Note to Readers: Before moving on to Chapter 3, we want to pause to reflect upon the keys that have been revealed in our story thus far.
Summary: Key Components
Time: Make sure you allow for plenty of time to extract the information you need to build your customer knowledgebase.
Benchmarks: Include core purchase metrics in your analyses. You’ll need these in order to quantify your program’s impact on customer behavior.
Technology: If you only have information access through I.T., you’ll want to change that. It’ll make both you and your CIO very happy.
Our next post: Chapter 3: “Drowning in Data”