Although organizations proclaim the customer - whether client, citizen, patient, etc. - comes first, management generally concentrates on the bottom line. The emphasis on customer and the subsequent customer experience exists as a direct result of the maxim that the customer drives profit. The difference is that while the former may close the sale, the latter may create customer loyalty, which translates into additional sales (opportunities) and higher margins. Although there may be many differentiating factors between both approaches, the management of an organization's data and how it utilizes and organizes that data affects the customer's experience. Customer data integration (CDI) can achieve a positive customer relationship and, more importantly, enhance the customer experience.

Organizations drive the customer experience through the management of data. Whether customers speak to a live representative or contact the organization through a self-service model, e.g., IVR or Internet portal, the management of their data should seem transparent in terms of accessing the required data for each interaction. As organizations expand and collect data from customer care, billing, receiving and shipping, each department accumulates a wealth of information that remains within the department or interfaces through a variety of processes. From the customer's perspective, this may only be noticeable because they receive calls or mailings from various client management groups or multiple marketing campaigns.

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