What Are You Doing With Your Customer Data?

The earliest known customer complaint was recorded in 1750 BC. The ancient details of a copper supplier and his unsatisfied customer prove the customer experience was, and continues to be, an important part of the transaction. The customer journey remains integral to businesses’ success, and as advancements in technology increase, so do customer expectations. Over 50 percent of today’s customers who switch brands do so because of poor user experiences; they expect faster service, better communication, and limitless options. When company data can’t keep up, customers leave.

Reliable data is a cornerstone of all successful businesses. Companies understand the ability to know and understand their customers is one of the most important things they can do to maintain them. Simple gestures like ensuring the proper spelling of names and reaching out via preferred channels of communication make a big difference. Open dialogue between a user and a company is an essential part of maintaining positive satisfaction ratings, and all of this is made possible through identifying customer insights.

Machine learning, qualitative data, and cognitive analytics have made it possible for companies to identify patterns in user behavior. They are also able to pinpoint any inefficiencies in customer experience, then turn that data into actionable insights.

User Experience is Everything…

Most websites and apps are not meeting the needs of their users. In fact, of the “700 million websites that exist, 72 percent fail to consistently engage users or drive conversions. Of the 1.6 million apps available, just 200 account for 70 percent of all usage.” To figure out what the successful companies are doing correctly, we need to look no further than data.

Netflix came out of the gate hot, boasting no late fees and a focus on its customer. Soon enough, it had put competitor Blockbuster out of business. Companies like Sephora, Nike, and Amazon began taking notice of Netflix and eventually followed suit. What is the common denominator in their success? The customer experience is at the center of their business design. Each of these companies recognize the value in using data to personalize the customer journey, and providing unique user experiences.

…But You’ve Got to Get It Right

There is a fine line between “overwhelming” and “helping” in this digital marketing era. A company must stand on the helpful side of the line and offer truly personalized experiences in order to be successful. Otherwise, customer retention suffers. Careful consideration and proper implementation of three digital solutions “engage users long term and drive positive outcomes: Segmentation, relevance and rewards.”

  • Segmentation is the opposite of a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. To provide a unique experience based on user preference, companies must ask their customers questions—or infer their answers based on their behaviors. Using that segmented data gives companies a leg up in customizing every touchpoint during the customer journey.
  • Context has evolved beyond the when and where; today’s data shows us such details as how consumers are feeling and if their social preferences. If the goal is to create a unique user profile for each customer, businesses must consider this new multi-faceted context to relevant content to the correct consumer.
  • Companies and apps must earn the privilege of their user’s information. Requiring too much personal information too early in their journey turns off potential customers. In this age of immediate satisfaction, it’s better business practice to initially gather only absolutely necessary information then reward the user with a coupon or incentive to maintain engagement.

To successfully engage customers, businesses rely on robust analytics to tell them many things, namely how users prefer to conduct business. Sometimes, their preference is as complex as their personalities.

The Omni-Channel Method

Every touch point along the customer journey can make or break a sale. Convenience often trumps everything else, so when a user wants to continuing engaging with a business via several different channels, companies must be able to keep up. Analytics like OnviSource allow companies to optimize CX through “channel-dependent actionable knowledge.” Flipping the traditional “inside-out” approach to customer satisfaction on its head, today’s “outside-in” approach has improved retention and brand awareness. Because the emotional journey of a customer is subjective, so there is no blanket approach to meet all needs. However, by taking a customer-centric approach through omni-channel analytics, companies are personalizing the customer experience by considering their perspective and emotions.

The customer doesn’t always make it easy, though. When they establish interest by clicking a Facebook ad while on mobile, call a service center with questions, then sign up via email for coupon offers, companies are faced the difficult task of capturing all of this information. The cumbersome nature of maintaining a user-centric approach to business is far outweighed by the benefits. Today’s businesses have data that shows price and service are the biggest indicators of customer tenure, as well as data to predict churn. Knowing these things about your customer is a great way to proactively reach out with incentives to increase retention.

Digital Transformation and the Customer Experience

A recent The State of Salesforce Report shows more than half of the participating companies point to an intelligent application as their most valuable in predicting their next steps. Digital transformation is at the helm of today’s market, encouraging companies to invest in intelligent applications.

For example, Salesforce Analytics Cloud encourages humans and technology to work together to improve business outcomes by supports rapid analysis of data while empowering employees to discover insights. Investments in analytics that mimic the way the human brain works, making use of unstructured data, means companies can gather more data and make smarter business decisions. Intelligent, predictive tools capable of automation give businesses a competitive advantage.

Data makes all the difference when it comes to the customer experience. Collecting, analyzing, and understanding customer data has taught us an integrated omni-channel strategy creates the optimal CX and improves journey mapping. Properly gauging your customer and their behavior means improving retention and loyalty to your brand.

This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.

Photo Credit: martinlouis2212 Flickr via Compfight cc

Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.