Customer knowledge can be defined as a collection of information that an organization has about its clients and is needed for building a better customer relationship. Customer knowledge should find out what, when and how to offer products or services to customers. In short, customer knowledge is translated as understanding your customers, their needs, wants and aims. ( The Dobney Corporation Limited)
The customer knowledge strategy is built on three factors: data, information and knowledge:
Data consists of facts as the date when a purchase was made, what was bought, at what time the purchase was made, what type of payment or shipping was made, etc. An example of a tool which collects these types of data is the HTTP cookies. In addition, the hotels can store the history of customer preferences and adjust future services according to it.
Information is the data converted into a meaning for the user and allows creating an image of the customer or potential customer.
As soon as the information is processed and the strategy is applied and action is taken it is transformed into knowledge. (Peelen & Beltman, 2015)
In the hospitality industry the customer knowledge can be easily achieved by direct contact with the customers, reservations history, etc.
For a business, to build a relationship with the customer it is essential while the lack of it leads the business to failure. Nowadays, the customers are looking for more personalized and real time experiences. By personalizing a product or service means more than knowing his name, but knowing his preferences and interactions and this is achieved only through customer knowledge. (Manchester, 2014)
As an example, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company even has a Knowledge Management department. The focus is on customer satisfaction which increases the productivity and therefore the profitability increases as well. In addition, every employee has about 100 hours of customer service training annually. (The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C, 2014)
Another example is Marriott International. Through the program Marriott Rewards the business is developing the customer relationship strategy. Rewards are providing information about the customer value and facilitate the use of customer knowledge for anticipating the future travel actions.
The Dobney Corporation Limited. (n.d.). What is customer knowledge? Retrieved Oct. 02, 2016, from Dobney.com: http://www.dobney.com/Knowledge/ck_definition.htm
Manchester, G. (2014, February 1). Customer Knowledge Is the Foundation of Marketing Success. Retrieved from DMN (Haymarket Media, Inc): http://www.dmnews.com/marketing-strategy/customer-knowledge-is-the-foundation-of-marketing-success/article/330575/
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2015). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. (2014). The Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Retrieved October 2016, from News Room: http://news.ritzcarlton.com/the-malcolm-baldrige-national-quality-award/