Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Harte-Hanks: Know Thy Customer

A well-designed, enterprise-wide customer database contains the information needed to deal with each customer through all the phases of the relationship--cradle to grave (literally and figuratively). That means including information contained in the individual legacy systems, as well as sales and marketing information, contact information, and where the customer falls in the lifecycle of the relationship. Any information that can be used at any of the customer touchpoints should be available in the complete structure.

A Harte-Hanks primary study of 642 cross-industry companies of all sizes — each implementing relationship management initiatives — more than seven in ten favor a commercially available solution over one implemented in-house. And three in four say that to succeed, the solution must be embraced corporate-wide. Constructing a single database to store and access customer information is now viewed as such a strategic assignment that future projects will be staffed and managed by cross-functional teams — 40% more often than current assignments.

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