Using Data Analytics to Improve the Customer Experience
By: Robert Morris
The customer experience (or CX for short) is a hot topic these days and companies are spending a lot of time studying and mapping their customer journey using data analytics. To step back, there are many definitions of what defines the customer experience. One definition that I particularly like is Forrester Research’s – “How customers perceive their interactions with your company.” Companies are always looking at ways to improve their customer’s perception of themselves as this allows them to attract and retain customers. If that doesn’t help to explain what makes the customer experience important, research performed by Forbes indicates that more than half of customers today indicate that they have switched companies or service providers due to a bad user experience. Companies need to find ways to limit these bad experiences; CX analytics tools are one way that they can do this.
According to an IBM whitepaper, Five Best Practices for Understanding Customer Journeys, 81% of consumer brands say they have holistic views of their customers but only 37% of customers believe that their favorite retailer understands them. This is a big difference. Companies need to take the time to better understand their customers and analytics tools allow them to do this. With CX analytics tools, companies are able to collect and analyze data that helps them to understand their customers better. They are able to gain knowledge and form insights about what their customers are looking for. One way that they are able to do this is by looking at and analyzing data that has previously been left untouched.
Many sources, including IBM, estimate that approximately 80% of data can be classified as Dark Data, which refers to data that is not being used. Companies are beginning to take a look at this Dark Data to determine how it might be able to help them improve their customer experience. Some examples of Dark Data that companies are now beginning to look at include data from social media network, web analytics, email messages, etc. Companies are beginning to leverage CRMs and other applications that can pull data from all of these sources together and help them to form insights on how to attract new customers and retain the ones that they currently have. Companies are beginning to realize the value of this data that is sitting unused in various applications and they are starting to take a look at what they can do with this data.
In a Garner Study, it is indicated that by the year 2020, customer experience projects will make up at least 40% of all data analytics projects. Because of this, many software companies are racing to refine and develop new applications that companies can use as a tool for these projects. The field is becoming very crowded with different types of software that can help companies to collect and use their data in ways that will help them to attract and retain customers. The types of solutions that help businesses to achieve these results include CRMs such as Oracle and Salesforce, web analytics tools such as Google Analytics and IBM Tealeaf, and ticketing systems such as Zendesk and FreshDesk. Companies that have discovered the benefits of CX analytics are finding ways to combine data from multiple applications and sources and using this information to create a holistic view of their entire customer journey.
Personalization is also a large piece of the customer experience and customers are beginning to expect a personalized experienced from companies that they are working with. Creating portals, dashboards, email marketing strategies, etc. that are personalized to each customer help companies to retain their customers and gain more revenue from their current customers. According to a study by Marketing Land, personalized emails to customers deliver six times higher transaction rates! Companies need to take advantage of the data that they have and tools that are available to them to create a personalized marketing plan for each of their customers. In the past, it may have been difficult and time-consuming to do this, but with the powerful tools available today, there is no reason not to.
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