I’d better start by clarifying. I loved Marcel Marceau (RIP). My frustration is not with him but with databases that don’t talk – creating very poor customer experiences!

It’s a simple concept. Maintain one central database (data mart or warehouse) with a single customer view. Why do so many companies find this so hard?

Enterprise level

I’ve worked with major financial institutions that had become so silo’d  they couldn’t get a whole of customer view. Let alone a whole of household view (ie: the multiple relationships within one household). “Pretty valuable if you could”, I kept saying.


I’ve worked with mid tier companies that have so many disparate databases it would make your eyes water. My experience of booking online with one this week was atrocious.

Smaller business

And I have also worked with plenty of small businesses where maintaining one database should be easy. Right? Wrong!

Databases are on a steroidal growth path

And now in a social internet world we have an explosion of businesses  building customer  databases via online social networks, communities, and mobile touchpoints. It has never been more critical to get a whole of customer view!

4 noisy questions

If you can’t answer these four key questions then you need a business and database analyst to help guide you.

  1. How much per year, on average, do my high value customers spend in your category and how does this compare to medium and low value customers?
  2. What percentage of this spend is on my product or service?
  3. Which channels or touchpoints are delivering this value?
  4. Are my high value customers also the most loyal (ie: fans, advocates or ambassadors) and engaged?

Please, create a central database for your business that will deliver some noisy feedback and insights to you. And your customers will also appreciate it over the companies with databases that don’t talk and deliver a lousy customer experience.