Improving the Customer Experience Through Big Data Analytics
Personalized, on-demand account and service information can create happier customers.
by Michael Abramow
With digital data growth expected to increase globally by 4,300 percent by 2020 and competitive pressures mounting, companies must now more than ever meet the rising demands of their customers. However, challenges abound with fewer resources, limited budgets, and older technology that doesn’t really make the grade for the increasingly sophisticated expectations regarding multi-channel engagement, service, and value.
Alongside these challenges, this digital revolution is also providing unprecedented opportunities to improve the overall customer experience via big data analytics. This is the process of collating and interpreting these vast quantities of data to extract the meaningful, insightful, and useful data that provides value to a customer. Forward-thinking companies are gathering, analyzing, and acting on information to improve a number of areas:
Market competitiveness: In manufacturing, integrating data from R&D, engineering, and manufacturing units to enable concurrent engineering can significantly cut time to market and improve quality.
The quality of customer experience will always be improved if a business can quickly respond via the correct channels to manage the expectations of its customers.”
User productivity: In the public sector, making relevant data accessible across otherwise separated departments can sharply reduce search and processing time.
Sales revenues and profitability: According to McKinsey, retailers using big data analytics can increase their operating margins by more than 60percent.
Customer experience: Proactive communications through preferred channels provide optimized matches between products and consumer needs.
Figure1. Big Data Analytics Industry Value. Source: Measuring the Business Impacts of Effective Data University of Texas, Austin, USA
The quality of customer experience will always be improved if a business can quickly respond via the correct channels to manage the expectations of its customers. Utilizing software analytics to process the correct data sources and metrics, and then proactively providing relevant and contextual information, is paramount.
Below are three tips on keeping up with customer expectations for personalized, on-demand account and service information that will enhance the overall customer experience.
Implement proactive bill shock management: Bill shock is customer “distress” from unexpected charges and is usually the result of broadband users’ inability to quantify their massive data consumption, especially when roaming. These dissatisfied users can negatively impact the communication service provider’s reputation and ultimately lead to churn and revenue loss. Broadband companies can avoid this by providing real-time enforcement actions and alternatives. They can send email or text notifications as a customer is close to reaching the quota, allow free restricted browsing rather than just disabling internet service, implement automatic bandwidth shaping, and redirect customers to alternate data plans to avoid future issues.
Create smarter personalized shopping experiences: Opt-in mobile marketing communications of targeted products and services can then be offered through personalized messages specific to each stage of the consumer cycle — awareness, engagement, consideration, conversion and loyalty. Let’s say someone opts in to receive marketing messages from a retailer who has an outlet in the local mall. GPS-integrated tracking detects that the customer is in close proximity to the store and sends the customer a text message alerting them to a special one-day offer. The offer is driven by what the retailer already knows about this particular customer, based on profile, loyalty card data, stated attitudes, and predictive analytics modeling. With the customer’s interest piqued, she heads into the store and purchases using the coupon code in the text message.
Reduce waiting time in the queue: A utility company, for example, can address this perennial pain of arranging a home repair visit by getting the consumer’s preferred channel of communication, confirming the afternoon before in an automated manner via that preferred channel, and informing the customer that the service tech will call at 8:00 a.m. to tell the consumer where he stands in the daily queue. This delights the customer and eliminates the cost of up to three inbound phone calls: the day before (“Is the technician really coming tomorrow?"), 8:00 a.m. the day of the visit (“When is he coming?”), and the frantic call if he is not there by 10:30 a.m. (“I have to get back to the office in time – is he really coming before noon?”)
If you want to win customers, you need to know them as individuals. You need to harness and quickly analyze all of the data at your disposal, from within your organization and beyond, to make smarter predictions about their needs and behaviors. By better understanding your customers’ expectations, you can provide the level of service that will create satisfaction, increase retention, and turn customers into advocates.