A strong customer experience (CX) strategy is fundamental to any business’s ongoing success. And to ensure strong CX today, smart data insights — and the data analytics and IT infrastructure necessary to support them — are prerequisites.
More than 80 percent of organizations regard CX as a major factor in their ability to compete in a crowded marketplace. Those companies that classify themselves as adopting a “very advanced” approach to CX are three times as likely to outperform their competitors in achieving their objectives.
But prioritizing a quality CX is one thing. Actually strategizing and delivering it is another.
Fortunately, big data can empower companies on all scales with the tools to meet and exceed customer expectations — if that data is analyzed intelligently for insights. When it is, it becomes smart data insights.
Below, we explore 5 ways smart data insights can affect the future of the customer experience.
1. Gain a deeper understanding of customer buying habits
Personalization is all about catering to each customer’s individual purchase goals and interests. While more brands are leveraging smart data insights to deliver a more personalized experience, too many are still failing: only around 20 percent of consumers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive from businesses.
Buyers are willing to help companies personalize their CX too, with 57 percent happy to exchange personal data for bespoke discounts and offers.
Analyzing customers’ buying habits is crucial to meet and exceed their personalization expectations. Their purchase history is a mine of helpful data, revealing key aspects of their personality, lifestyle and budget.
It’s not just about seeing what they like to buy. It’s about grasping essentials like:
- Frequency of purchases (once per week, three times a month, etc.)
- Repetition of orders (does the customer stick with the same products or do they experiment?)
- Does the customer spend more when there’s a discount (even a slight one) or do they adhere to strict habits?
Addressing these elements allows businesses to build a comprehensive portfolio of data, driving deeper personalization for all customers. If they can see a certain buyer orders the same few products during the same week of every month, they can send exclusive offers to them a few days before.
This would increase the likelihood of them following their established pattern and potentially encourage them to stick with the brand in question, and invest more in certain needs especially if data reveals they tend to indulge when prices are reduced.
In short: creating a more personalized CX increases businesses’ opportunities to secure trust, inspire loyalty and ensure buyers feel valued.
2. Eliminate mistakes and align with customer expectations
Quality assurance programs take great advantage of big data to give brands a clearer look at the type of CX they offer. Specifically, with regards to customer service departments.
A comprehensive QA process involves analyzing such data as:
- Average call handling time
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Scores
- Net Promoter Scores (NPS)
- Number of active waiting calls
- Call resolution rates
Smart data insights compiled through QA programs equip businesses with the knowledge they need to improve various aspects of their customer experience. Just as with data relating to consumers’ buying habits aids personalization, data gathered via QA allows for a stronger standard of service overall.
This is increasingly important for businesses of all sizes when consumers have so much choice today. Nearly half of consumers agree they would switch brands if they experience multiple incidences of poor service.
And it’s no hassle for them to do so. In the past, buyers may have been limited to companies in their local area, but today they have a world of options at their fingertips.
The proliferation of communication channels open to businesses — live chat, social media, instant messaging, phone calls, video chat, email — offers access to a wealth of data. Companies who use advanced analytics to derive smart data insights from this information will have less reason to misunderstand customers and deliver anything other than satisfactory service in the future.
3. Deliver a more focused service by identifying waste
Utilizing smart data insights will help businesses focus their operations and eliminate unnecessary processes.
Let’s look at this in relation to the customer service team: Customer service agents interact with consumers via a wide set of communications channels as noted above. Analyzing data on these communications might reveal, for example, that the number of live chat and email interactions far outweigh those occurring via phone and video calls.
In this scenario, a comapny could assign more agents to live chat and email, narrowing its focus and investments on the most important channels. Customer experience would improve because requests would be responded to sooner.
Over time, they may be able to phase video calls out altogether and eliminate the associated work which comes with them. This could provide extra time to train staff in other channels — for example, enabling them to delve deeper into key live chat techniques such as the importance of being concise and inferring meaning from unclear messages. And the focus of such training invesments could, of course, also be informed by additional smart data insights derived from feedback on existing process successes and weaknesses.
This applies to other aspects of CX, too. Smart data insights might show that customers supply higher satisfaction rates and more positive feedback after agents ask a specific question, or use certain phrases during interactions.
Businesses can use this information in training to maximize agents’ skills and cultivate a better customer experience in every interaction.
4. Streamline customer interactions and save precious time
More than half of consumers have higher service expectations than they did a year earlier, but 67 percent believe CX is improving overall.
That’s good news for buyers. And it suggests businesses are taking advantage of data insights to boost satisfaction. But there’s still some way to go.
One way smart data insights will continue to help companies deliver a stronger CX is in streamlining their service and boosting productivity by retaining information on previous interactions.
For example, analytics can be run on data drawn from a buyer’s previous conversations and preferred methods of communication, purchase history, shipping preferences and address, and more. Deploying these insights can help customer service agents prevent a customer wasting time by repeating unnecessary details. It can enable agents to uderstand and solve for each customer’s needs more quickly, making each call more satisfactory.
In turn, shorter calls mean agents can handle more interactions in less time. Increased productivity offers nothing but benefits, as many thought leaders know. More customers are served. Problems will be resolved sooner and more smoothly. Impressed customers may tell others and generate valuable new leads.
Agents can use data to take the initiative too. They may spot an opportunity to offer a customer appropriate complementary products based on the caller’s purchase habits, or check up on issues raised during past interactions, helping the individual feel valued rather than just another faceless consumer.
5. Analyze engagements, mentions and complaints on social media for ongoing improvements
Social media is another well-established and essential tool in the battle to provide an unbeatable customer experience. Every business worth its proverbial salt invests actively in efforts on the major social networks to offer existing and prospective customers relevant information and a convenient communication channel.
But businesses should be using social media for more than simply promoting the brand and interacting with consumers. Smart data insights from across social media campaigns give companies an invaluable insight into:
- The way in which the brand is perceived
- Common pain points buyers experience
- How the business compares to competing businesses
- How products and/or services can be improved in the future
Tracking and analyzing mentions of the brand, topics discussed, the sentiment related to the brand and to individual products and topics, can all enable a company to learn more about its customers needs, attitudes, likes, dislikes and actions even without direct communication with buyers. Users may be having conversations about the company’s quality of service, how its products differ to other brands’, and what product flaws they’ve discovered.
Running analytics to derive smart data insights from this information will help businesses deliver a stronger customer experience by keeping them updated without waiting for buyers to raise the alarm. Watching out for even minor patterns and trends can lead to small changes that improve CX in a subtle yet measurable way.
Smart data insights make the customer experience better
The future of customer experience is bright. Smart data insights are a powerful aid for businesses to drive new kinds of success, ongoing improvements and growth by identifying where strengths and weaknesses lie.
The five points explored above demonstrate just how beneficial data is in building a better CX, opening doors for teams willing to analyze information from a plethora of sources. It’s all right there: every business leader needs to look in the right places, deploy the necessary tools to analyze the data to derive insights, learn from mistakes, and embrace change to align with customer needs and expectations.