Ask the Expert: Can Poor Master Data Management Sabotage Customer Experience?

This blog is part of our Ask the Expert series on improving the customer journey by evaluating and improving customer interactions across various touch points within your organization.

Master data management (MDM) may feel far removed from the Customer Experience (CX), but it plays a significant role in the customer journey and experience. As companies add channels of engagement (self-service, social, etc.), the need for MDM grows and the potential to impact CX grows.

I sat down with Mike Long, a member of the IT Excellence practice on the Business Consulting team at Tribridge, to discuss. Mike has 18 years of technology consulting experience, is Six Sigma certified and has held various executive-level positions with Accenture (formerly Andersen Consulting).

Why is Master Data Management important?

Growing up, at some point we all played a game of "telephone". The first person in line is given a message, whispers that message to the next person, and this continues until you reach the end of the line. Inevitably, the last person to receive the message will recite something that is very different from the original message! That's what makes the game fun.

This is not fun when it's your data that is getting garbled, mismanaged, misinterpreted, or in some cases simply lost. Master Data Management (as part of a larger Data Governance Framework) helps to ensure your data stays pristine; there is one and only one authoritative source of the truth, and everyone in the organization understands that data is an asset that should be treated with great care and respect.

As More and More Companies are Providing Self-Service Options, How can this Complicate Master Data Management if Not Addressed?

If you're like me, you remember the first time you used the self-checkout line at Home Depot. It's a beautiful thing when you have a couple of normal sized items and just need to get in and get out. But as time went on, you tried to use it for everything and found yourself flipping items around, looking for a barcode, trying not to crush your air filters with a can of paint, calling over the attendant to help with a pile of screws and bolts that weren't in the system and thinking maybe I'd be better off with a live person to check me out?

The more complicated the set of master data and systems integrations become, the greater the need for a consistent approach to MDM and Data Governance. If I dread using self-service because I know ultimately it won't find my account, will present me with wrong or old data, or I will always end up at the same spot where I have to ask for help from an agent, then ultimately self-service becomes inefficient and is rendered useless.

How can Master Data Management Improve Customer Experience?

The outcomes of MDM will depend on the nature of the business and the issues, but in general, you can expect to see things such as increased customer satisfaction as customers don't need to reenter or validate the same data over and over again. I will never understand why I need to enter my account number to progress through the self-service menu, only to have an agent come over and ask me for that same account number again. It seems every corporation with an automated menu has this same limitation, to correct for that would make things more efficient and ultimately a better customer experience.

Responsiveness to customer inquiries improves along with the accuracy of those responses as team members have shared visibility into one set of shared customer information.

Are there other benefits to Master Data Management?

Yes, there are three main benefits:

  • Internally, productivity increases due to minimizing manual processes and rework required when dealing with certain data across several different sources.
  • More reliable and consistent reports with metrics can be trusted by Senior Leadership, which in turn will allow them to make more informed and accurate business decisions.
  • Potentially, the retirement of legacy systems and/or databases that are no longer required

Tribridge’s IT Excellence business consulting practice has developed a structured framework for approaching MDM initiatives.

  • We start at the highest level of ensuring the business vision is clearly defined and serves as a key enabler to the effort. Without this, we essentially develop a solution that is then searching for a problem to solve.
  • Next, we define the Strategy and Governance processes that will be required to guarantee ownership and accountability as well as ensure consistent and desirable behavior in the management of master data.
  • Finally, we bring it all together by defining the necessary technology infrastructure and processes required for authoring, validating, enriching, publishing and consuming the master data.

Through Tribridge's IT excellence solutions, we develop MDM strategies, working with customers to implement the right strategies, business process improvements and technologies for effective master data management.

To learn more about how your organization can implement self-service customer and vendor portals and improve customer experience, reach out to Tribridge for help.

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