This week we are happy to introduce and welcome our guest blogger Alastair Kane. Alastair is a freelance writer and has provided this article on behalf of Acxiom a company providing big data analytics services. In this post he talks about how Big Data can enhance Customer Experience.
What is Big Data, and why is it different from other data
As the world becomes increasingly digitised, access to reams of information about customers, including data detailing buying behaviours, preferences and dislikes is advancing. These useful, but separate bits of information arrive in a variety of formats, from an equally varied number of sources, as in addition to traditional CRM information, data is now being exponentially captured from social posts, blogs, via smartphones and other diverse digital sources. Formed of small pockets of brand-useful information, plus an explosion of other data ‘noise’, this voluminous and varied information is what’s known as ‘big data’.
What Makes ‘Big Data’ Different?
‘Big Data’ is different from traditional data as it is unstructured and scattered, making it impossible for traditional SQL databases to make sense of. And of course, there’s just so much more of it! That’s why new ways of analysing big data (big data analytics) are required – to assess and monetise huge pools of information collected from customers – from the web, call centres, in fact from just about anywhere you can think of.
How can Big Data enhance the customer experience?
1. Big data analytics allows organisations to get to know their customers
Used responsibly, big data can effectively facilitate and transform customer/company relationships. Using it to examine the world from the customer’s point of view, organisations get to ‘know’ their customers a lot better, so can minimise the gaps and disconnects in their marketing strategies, leading to better engagement through more personalised campaigns and communication.
The better the big data connection, the better the results. Once brands are effectively using their data – to feed back customer satisfaction levels, willingness to recommend, and if, when and why customers intend to re-purchase – they can adapt and improve. Big data knowledge has a correlating effect on positively enhancing the customer experience: for example, fewer calls may be made to customer services, marketing can be more accurately targeted (also reducing overheads), and so customer satisfaction can be increased.
2. Big data lets organisations know how to build loyalty and track trends
Data analytics tools allow firms to actively build loyalty rather than just respond to customer complaints. Providing a quantitative and qualitative view of business, big data analytics helps pull out meaningful trends which can be translated into better products, services or operational activities.
Creating a more rounded picture, the information can then be used to build a personal level of communication between companies and customers: enhancing loyalty through addressing problems before they arise, and reducing costs by minimising irrelevant or poorly targeted advertising and motivational campaigns.
3. Big data allows organisations to get personal
When a customer contacts an organisation, even if they call to complain, they are initiating a conversation – a precious point of interaction which defines a brand. It is also a moment which should be used to maximize the use of personal information (gathered through big data, about that customer) in order to engage them in a meaningful and productive conversation.
This detailed level of customer personalisation in brand communications, largely as a result of social media, is now expected. But if organisations utilise the wealth of offline and online media to integrate data in the most relevant and engaging ways, customer relationships, loyalty, and brand reputations can be enhanced and will flourish – across all communications channels.
4. Big data helps organisations understand and track customer behaviour and motivation
Big data analytics can even be used to find out what’s behind customers’ behaviour when they’ve not been explicit. Back office service reports can be utilised in conjunction with behavioural analysis to find out why people are interacting, and what the implications are. For example a customer may call to cancel a subscription, without giving a reason. But by using associated data, organisations may be able to review the kind of experience this particular customer has had – for example, have systems been slow, or have they received poor service? – allowing them to make informed deductions about their behaviour – and act accordingly.
Ultimately holding the potential to transform relations, driven, connected big data strategies are the key to productive customer/company communications and experiences – brands and organisations need to better connect for better results.
Author: Alastair Kane
Interested in a career in Big Data or Data Science? Check out Jigsaw Academy’s courses and find out how you can get started: