Making a case for better customer data use in Kenya.
What a week! Its been a busy week with lots of meetings and all sorts of other things happening. I am really looking forward to the weekend! But, before I get there, I want to share a couple of interesting incidents that happened to me this week, which form the basis for this post.
The first incident involved me going to an express courier to send a document to an International destination. I had not used the said courier for probably as long as 5 years in a personal capacity. At sometime in the past, I had registered for their loyalty program for cash customers. Now, I had long lost their loyalty card for the same so they asked me for my first and last names. So, 5 years later, my details were still preserved in their databases. They were able to tell me the last time I transacted and how many points I had. I was a little astounded that they still had all of my information even though it was well over 5 years since I last interacted with them – I was impressed. Indeed, customer data does live on, even in Kenya.
The second incident involved going to a building I have not visited in few years for dinner. In this same building is a video library where I used to borrow movies every weekend, for a good number of years. Now, once again, its probably over 5 years since I used my account there and likewise I had long lost my membership card. However, I asked them to check for my membership details using my first and last name – well, voila! The details we’re still in their databases and better yet my account was still considered to be “active” – I could have borrowed a movie right there and then. They were even able to tell me the last movies I borrowed as well as the dates, and the “late” fee I was charged when I returned the movies.
As these two incidents illustrate, customer data is very much an area where businesses are paying attention to in Kenya. Using this customer data, even without a fully fledged Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, businesses in Kenya can retain customers and generate new business. However, its ironic in my case that none of these businesses ever called me or emailed me to find out why I had stopped using their services, even though they had this crucial data on me. What happened?! Is this to say that the data is simply for filing purposes and is not being used to enhance sales and service? Well, it would seem so in these two incidents. So, certainly, data for the sake of data is not enough for businesses in Kenya. Data needs to be leveraged as a strategic asset that can sustain and grow business for the long term.