Serving customers the smart way
Leveraging insight from the wider network of information will enable organisations drive further competitive positioning across the market. As today it is acknowledged that the knowledge about customers goes far beyond transaction data. But the primary question is ‘how do organisations’ tailor offering to customer needs without invading privacy?’
Paul Cushion (contact)
5 minute read
Most organisations are aware of the competitive advantage from collecting and analysing customer data. They can learn who the customer is, what they bought, where from and for how much.
While useful for revealing what a customer has done, this gives you little idea of what they intend to do. Such an insight would let you target your product, pricing and promotional strategies in the most precise way possible. This behavior segmentation and the undelaying predictive element is the difference between the traditional segmentation model of being merely aware of the customer’s needs and learning to let the data and customer insight/interactions guide you.
So what can organisations do to become much more customer led? Use data & insights to see beyond what a customer is doing, but also try and identify ‘why’ they did it.
Structuring the chaos
Harnessing the unstructured customer data available from the internet and, in particular, social media coupled with internal transactional/ interaction data is a powerful combination. People have shown a willingness to discuss their relationships with brands on social media with an honesty rarely seen in customer surveys. Analysing a customer’s journey (the way they go about finding and buying what they want) gives real insight into their decision-making processes.
The hard part is capturing these insights and making sense of them while blocking out irrelevant information from the ecosystem of different data sources. The leaders in this space link with a company’s CRM, social listening, session replay and customer analytics platforms to combine many types of customer data. This is then analysed, turned into actionable insights and shared across all customer channels such that the customer experiences the seamless interaction with the brand across all channels.
By learning how best to engage the customer, not only does it boost the bottom line, but you can allocate your resources more economically: right channel, right context, right content.
Power of Insight
There are good examples of companies introducing insight analytics for the connected customer to great effect. Mobile operator O2 realised it could benefit from offering a roaming tariff to Eurostar customers heading from London towards the Channel Tunnel. However, another high-speed train, to Hastings, used the same line and O2 did not want to pitch those passengers a product that wasn’t relevant. The company matched cell tower and CRM data with live train schedules to single out France-bound customers, combining descriptive and predictive data to ensure the right message reached the right people.
Ford in Denmark wanted to understand how it could link the physical experience of the dealership with the customer’s online experience when researching a purchase. The company invited customers to an event during which Ford staff observed their behaviour, in the models they looked at, whether they took a test drive and other metrics. They combined those insights with customer data to create personalised emails containing offers that may be of interest. Ford saw an eight-fold increase in email performance just by linking the offline and online.
Crossing the cool-creepy threshold
The ability to predict the future might be exciting, but it is important to ensure that the customer doesn’t find it intrusive. Individuals are far more aware of their privacy rights. In April 2015, 25,000 Facebook users joined a lawsuit against Facebook claiming the company’s data collection strategy broke privacy laws. And last year the IOC, the UK information privacy body, dealt with more than 16,000 data protection cases.
In 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force in the European Union, possibly the biggest ever change to EU data privacy laws. Organisations that hold any information on EU citizens will have to prove it has been gathered for legitimate purposes, that it has been lawfully processed and secured, and that it isn’t held for longer than necessary.
Businesses really have to view this as an opportunity to demonstrate their integrity, not as an imposition. Whether a legal obligation or not, organisations should always ask permission for personal data and make it clear what it will be used for.
The question then is how you present the information you have, finding the balance between offering a seamless, personalised experience and not stepping on a customers’ toes. There is no silver bullet for this. It’s very much a matter of good executive judgement and employee training. But those who get it right will reap the rewards.