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A new report from Experian has revealed that UK businesses are besieged by information overload, struggling to gain a true understanding of their customers.

By 2025 the global data sphere is tipped to exceed 163 zettabytes (a trillion gigabytes)1. But despite having access to more data than ever before, less than one in five (19%) say they are unlocking the full potential of their data to improve the relationship with their customers.

However, the study also revealed that businesses certainly don’t underestimate the value of data, or the importance of understanding their customer base better. In fact, four in five respondents (83%) see data as an integral part of forming a business strategy with 81% relying on it to make key decisions. While 65% of businesses acknowledge there’s a need to improve their customer insight and 80% see customer insight as a critical priority.

Businesses also understand that customer experience can be one of their biggest unique selling points. 60% of those surveyed stated customer experience to be the top source of differentiation over the next three years. 50% of organisations cite improving customer experience as the biggest driver to gain a fully developed view of their customers.

“Businesses are effectively suffering from an ‘infobesity’ problem. There are more ways for customers to interact with a business than ever before, but a lack of understanding about how to extract valuable insights from that data is holding them back,” said Boris Huard, Managing Director of Decision Analytics at Experian.

“With the volume of data growing all the time, it’s perhaps more appropriate to consider how investments in technology and analytics can move us beyond the traditional ‘single customer view’ towards a ‘universal customer view’, allowing us to develop a deeper, more meaningful understanding of both our market and our customers, so we can deliver better outcomes for them.”

“It all starts with the data. From improving operational efficiency, to building a more trusted brand, data brings challenges, but also unlocks enormous opportunities.”

The research revealed that several factors are preventing businesses from gaining a comprehensive view of their customers. These include variety of information (35%), too many disparate data sources (35%), the volume of information (33%) and lack of data standardisation (30%).

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