As it appeared in the Daily Nation on Dec 1st 2015
It is 10 years since Google launched Google analytics the most widely used website statistics service. Every click of the mouse is an opportunity for Google to harvest data from millions of internet users. Just imagine how massive such data is and more importantly how useful it can be to a business. The more I take a keen interest in data, the more I realize just how important customer data is to the customer experience. It is just amazing how many smart organizations are using data both small and big to attract and retain their customers as well as make important business decisions.
Why are some businesses not using data to improve their customer experiences? Why would a bank not be aware of its peak hours and plan accordingly? Why does a supermarket not stock enough milk on the day it is expected to sell the highest volume? Why does a call centre not give a snapshot of the voice of the customer? Why does an airline not know if a frequent flier prefers a window or isle seat? Why does a drycleaner not know the customer details and choice of service? Why doesn’t a hairdresser or barber keep a record of their clients’ visits and alert when next visit is due? Why would a fruit vendor not be aware of the most popular fruit? Every customer interaction is an opportunity to collect data that would help answer such questions. I suspect that for example the customized adverts I often see on my screen from Amazon.com are as a result of some data analysis.
Data analysis has been in use for decades. Marketers have used data to segment and to reach out to particular target audiences. Those in customer experience are today using big data to steer organizations into the right direction. This data comes from both internal and external sources. Customer surveys, call transcripts, social media interactions, purchase behaviour etc are being analyzed systematically to collect very crucial data. This data is helping organizations to be more proactive in their customer experiences and deliver more value to their customers.
Gartner an information technology research and advisory company states that advanced data analytics are key to the customer experience though adoption is at below 10%. Steven Ramirez whose firm combines data science and customer experience strategy goes on to say that data collection should begin only after the objective of the data collection is well defined. Such objectives may include identification of strategies that would increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, improving specific key contact points, increasing cross-selling, offering personalized services, collecting detailed customer information including their preferences etc. It is possible to determine which objective needs to be a priority if an organization has a single view of the entire customer’s journey. Once the objective is identified, the data must be captured and analysed accordingly.
Today’s Smart executive must appreciate the meeting between data and the customer experience. They must appreciate that it will become difficult in the future to make decisions on the customer experience without data. Only those businesses that dig deeper into their customer data will be able to offer the best customer experience in coming years.
Lucy Kiruthu is a Management Consultant and Trainer and can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org/old or via twitter @kiruthulucy