Taru Ojaharju-Latief
Director of Marketing and Communications at Primehotels
Markus Myhrberg
Attorney, Partner at Lexia
Sara Eklund
Director CX Strategy B2C EMEA at Oracle
Katie Girow
Director of Membership Services at Amcham Finland

“We are in an absolute war for who catches the customer and their micro-moments!” exclaimed Taru Ojaharju-Latief, Director of Marketing and Communications at Primehotels. While acknowledging the challenge of doing business directly against giants like Booking.com and Trivago, Taru proudly stated, “We have the human factor. What we can fight back with is loyalty.”

And although sincere, Taru’s spirited words weren’t as much a declaration to attack the competition as they were an apt description of why companies must capture customer loyalty by leveraging data effectively.

On September 5th, a crowd of over 50 members of women’s networks from Amcham Finland, Lexia Attorneys, and Oracle gathered at Katajanokka Hotel to explore common challenges and solutions for using data to improve the customer experience (CX). Guest speakers included Taru, Markus Myhrberg, Partner at Lexia, and expert in IT, data protection and marketing, and Sara Eklund, Director CX Strategy B2C EMEA.

Data is everywhere. Almost everything we do in our personal and professional lives generates data, and companies can responsibly use this massive amount of free information to provide consumers with exactly what they want, when they want it.

So, what’s the issue? Well, it depends on who you ask.

“The role and value of data is increasing. It’s all about data. But how do we use it?” Markus told us the first key point to understand is that companies don’t own data. In fact, no one owns data, at least not by law. It technically exists in the public domain. But your company can agree with customers and partners on how their data is used. Companies must collect, manage and make any data-related decisions in accordance with current law, and the current law is expanding all the time. Think GDPR, ePrivacy, consumer rights, intellectual property rights, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, and more.

As a developer of database management solutions, Oracle is in a perfect position to see all sides of enterprise data usage. Sara Eklund believes “Data is the key to getting customers to come back.” Platforms for new technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IOT), will be very important for maintaining customer loyalty in the future.

For example, Yamaha uses Oracle solutions to analyze status data of motorcycles in real-time. This data can be passed on to dealers, which can predict dates for future repair and set the sales process in motion. All of these small conveniences add up to additional customer value.

However, to maintain a competitive edge, big industry players are able to keep customer data to themselves, despite not owning it. Therefore, Taru says, “It’s about delivering real value to our customers, engaging with the guests, listening and learning, improving customer experience. If I need to choose, improving customer is the main battle we are fighting at the moment.” The guest experience at Primehotels consists of multiple touch points, which the hotel can use to delight its customers. Direct customer interactions within industries like hospitality can create long-lasting bonds between the person and brand.

It’s important for us to remember that data doesn’t only consist of numbers in a database. Behind every data point is a person, and creating brand loyalty requires companies to allocate appropriate resources for digital data usage, as well as thoroughly understand their  intentions.

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