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How well do you know your customers? If your company is like most brands, you already realize that you don't really know them at all. In fact, a recent study from Aberdeen Group found that just 4% of organizations are fully satisfied with their ability to ensure data-driven conversations with their customers.
That's a shockingly small number. And it's also a huge problem, especially in today's customer-first culture. Data-driven insights are the key to increasing customer satisfaction. If you don't know your buyers, how can you really help them? That disconnect can very quickly translate into reduced ROI and decreased revenue for your business. That's why it's so important to incorporate data and analytics into every activity designed to support the customer experience. It's simple math: Better customer interactions equal superior business results.
So if it's so simple, why aren't more companies doing it? What does it take to use analytics effectively, and how can you turn data into the kinds of insights you can use to meet the rapidly changing needs of your customers? Let's look at three key strategies for success:
1. Start with a unified view of the customer journey.
Every customer travels a unique path to reach your organization. By understanding the different channels people use, the changing needs they have during various stages of their lifecycles and what their behaviors are telling you over time, you can gain a clear view of who they really are—and what they want. Business intelligence and customer journey mapping tools can help you fill in the gaps in the customer picture. But of course that information is just the beginning.
Knowing your customers is only valuable if you actually put that information to work for you. That's why it's critical to take the huge volume of data you gather (and it will be huge) and make sure it's integrated into everything you do around the customer—and across every team that's involved in shaping your customers' experience with you. It's also important to keep that insight current. Buyer needs change quickly, and it takes a steady, ongoing assessment of the data to keep up with them.
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3. Make sure the data is really working for you.
Creating happy customers is only the beginning. It's also important to make sure those customers are doing what you want them to do and converting in ways that matter to your business. So in addition to using analytics to personalize and customize customer interactions, you need to continually track how your customer experiences are performing—and how they're impacting your key indicators.
Putting it all together
Here's an example. Let's say you've just released version 2.0 of an exciting, new smart watch. The company has set and is pursuing an aggressive target of increasing revenues by 10% in a very competitive market. It plans to achieve this business goal by developing and launching a multichannel campaign that targets customers based on preferences. A few days after launch, the marketing team logs into
Using the same solution and interface, the marketing team quickly identifies which customer segments are not converting. They drill directly into that data and discover that a promo code entered by customers is not being accepted by the system.
The team wants to know where this bad code came from. They examine the entire customer journey and discover a typo in the promo code distributed on Facebook.
The team quickly takes action to fix the issue by issuing a correction. They identify the segment of customers who experienced the code denial and follow up with a personalized message apologizing for the error and providing the correct code. Once the code is fixed and the follow-up messages sent out, the team sees the conversion rate return to normal, positioning them to meet the desired 10% increase in revenues.
Only by using in-depth customer analytics, with a comprehensive view across channels and over time, can you really get to this level of insight.
How adept is your company at understanding and responding to the rapidly changing needs of your buyers? How much visibility do you have into the factors that influence the outcomes that matter to your business? And most of all, how easy is it to put a dollar value on the interactions you have with your customers? Consider using this online assessment from Aberdeen and IBM to get a customized report of your capabilities. It can measure how well your organization engages customers, and it will give you tips for delivering better overall experiences.
About the Author
Henrietta Akpata is IBM's Tealeaf product marketing leader responsible for customer analytics marketing, positioning and messaging strategies. With over 20 years of experience in business solutions and technology, Ms Akpata has held other positions in marketing, product management and software product development in key areas within IBM.
Passionate about information technology, developing new markets, market strategy and executing business plans at pace, Ms. Akpata holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management and a master's degree in computer science from University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering.
About the Sponsor
Customer engagement solutions from IBM help you create unbreakable bonds with your customers. Through a powerful set of tools and solutions for marketing, eCommerce and customer analytics, you can understand your customers, identify the moments that matter most and respond immediately with experiences that surprise and delight. Become a customer-oriented business, unleash the power of cognitive commerce and tap into an endless universe of information and possibilities.