When I came back to India for good, I choose to settle down in Bangalore. One of the first things I did was to get a mobile connection and the service provider I choose was Air Tel.
Now I have been an Airtel customer for 10 years and I am sure they had all my records in their database, but still I had to fill the forms once again as a new customer. But the surprising thing was that once they sold me the mobile connection Airtel never bothered to ask me if I needed broadband, landline or DTH.
As I was just setting up my house in Bangalore, I was looking out for them as well. But Airtel missed a big opportunity to get more of my wallet share and hence loss in revenue. The gain in both cases was Tata.
Single view of the customer was the problem in this case. I am sure the mobility arm had never shared my data with the internet arm, DTH arm as well as the fixed line arm. But I am surprised that if Airtel is in such shape I wonder how the other firms would be.
The single view of the customer is intended to provide the corporation with an opportunity to cross sell all its products and services. The net result is that it lowers the cost of sale and ensures that the customer is sold the entire portfolio.
The most important requirement to have a single view of the customer is a very robust database, a good CRM and insightful analytics running on top of it.
Let me give you an example, As I took the mobile connection, the sales person had to just ask me if I was new to Bangalore and check that box, as this data is fed into the database, the CRM should be able to pick that up that customer “Vikram” has just moved into Bangalore. The analytics reports should immediately flag that as a potential cross sell opportunity and flag it to the other arms namely DTH and Internet.
I am sure that a firm like Airtel has all these but why did they not do this, seems like common sense, isn’t it? These are some of the reasons why such a opportunity is lost every time a customer walks into the store.
- Lack of clarity on the customer requirements- Often sellers are not aware of what value the customer is seeking when he is walking into the store. For example thought I was sold a mobile connection, my need was for communication which would also involve, broadband, Cable TV and fixed line.
- A narrow view of the business- Again most sellers and marketers have a narrow view of the business. For example what is the business the firm is in. In Airtel’s case they are in the communication business. Selling only mobile connections narrows down the opportunity that presents itself.
- Investment in technology – Capturing the single view of the customer requires investment in technology. It requires a CRM and a Analytics solution. Mostly firms in India are happy with Excel. As a matter of fact I found out that a major consulting firm still uses Excel based client lists and did not have a CRM.
- Training – Sales and marketing has to be trained to identify opportunities for cross sell, but most hit the filed with just some words of advice and a cup of tea. Hence this is another big challenge.
But I would like to listen to your stories, when have you felt let down by such a gap. Is single view of the customer a myth? Or do you think there are some good case studies on that.
Would love to hear your views on the same.