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Data: the building blocks of customer loyalty

From connecting the dots to improving the post-purchasing experience, brands are using data to retain their customers

The power of data has long been widely accepted, and organisations are collecting, collating and storing it in scale. The total amount of data generated in 2018 was 33 zettabytes (330 million times the capacity of the largest hard drive currently in existence) and it is expected to grow exponentially to more than 2,100 zettabytes in 2035, according to IDC.

So whilst a mass of data clearly exists, there are only a limited number of companies that are utilising it to deliver tangible insights – which have a direct impact on their customers. How can a brand build loyalty by using customer data?

Two very different companies – PrettyLittleThing and First Rate Investment – have successfully collected and used data to give them an advantage over their competitors.

There was such obvious peace of mind, like a burden had been lifted from them

Deborah Repak, First Rate Investment

PrettyLittleThing: looking beyond the buy button

For retail businesses, brand loyalty is the golden goose. 86 per cent of consumers agree that the post-​purchase experience – the experience they receive after the buy button – is fundamental to whether they return to a retailer or brand.

“It’s not enough to just acquire new customers, you have to keep them coming back too,” says Anthony Gavin, regional manager in Europe, the Middle East and Africa of Narvar, the organization that conducted the research.

One of Navar’s clients, the women’s fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing, has seen tangible gains in both customer satisfaction and brand loyalty as a result of improving the post-​purchase experience. According to the company, the rating that PrettyLittleThing customers assigned to its overall post-​purchase experience increased by more than 30 per cent and the average time to next purchase reduced by 57 per cent.

“By providing convenient, yet meaningful, experiences to customers, PrettyLittleThing has a great advantage over its competitors,” says Mr Gavin. “Such experiences are rapidly becoming the new battlefront for differentiation upon which retail profits hang.”

First Rate Investment: uncovering a treasure trove of information

The savviest of investors want to know more than just how their wealth portfolio performs each quarter. The wealth management company First Rate Investments has created a web-​based performance measurement solution that reveals investment details for millions of portfolios. The company’s goal with the app is to eliminate the cost of erroneous decisions and to increase customer loyalty.

“What makes our company unique is its business intelligence and information delivery capabilities,” says Terry Gaines, managing director and manager of business development at First Rate Investments. “We add significant value with our web-​based reporting and drill-​down capabilities.”

After the market closes, First Rate receives holdings and transactional records for more than two million accounts, which equates to about one terabyte of data a night.

Using data analytics technology to process such a high volume of portfolios in a short time period enabled the firm to expand in Europe and Asia. The firm has captured the portfolio analysis and performance measurement business of more than 350 institutions worldwide, including five of the ten biggest domestic trust firms. More than 4,000 investment advisers use the system, generating over two million statements a month.

Deborah Repak, managing director and general manager of First Rate’s products group, describes this dataset as a “treasure trove of information”.

One client used to spend a lot of time creating concentration reports to identify accounts holding more than 40 per cent cash in their portfolios. “When they saw how [the app] could automate these inquiries, they told us it would save 30 hours a month for anybody involved in these routine activities,” says Ms Repak. “There was such obvious peace of mind, like a burden had been lifted from them.”

Making data the foundation of customer experience

Effectively utilising data is a complex, but valuable, undertaking for building brand loyalty. Frustratingly few companies are successfully doing so, perhaps lacking the internal expertise and knowledge required.

Organisations need to ensure they have the correct people, process and technologies to successfully garner insights from data, and embrace it as a competitive advantage.