Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Get Personal with Your Customers through Data

Today, companies of all shapes and sizes are struggling to keep up with the fast-changing customer experience landscape. In fact, a Harris Interactive survey found that in the United States, 68 percent of consumers say brands need to find ways to offer more customized interactions. Within the context of persistent economic uncertainty, competition for consumers has never been stronger.  CEO of cloud contact center provider inContact Paul Jarman recently told Wired that organizations who ignore this demand for a personalized experience will be at a disadvantage.

“There’s a huge amount of value in those bottomless wells of information that most companies are under-utilizing or outright ignoring. Mining that gold can unearth a wealth of insights and advancements that can ultimately lead to a more forward-thinking customer experience,” he said.

Here are some key steps from Jarman that will help you give your customers a more personalized experience:

Listen to Your Customers
The importance of listening to the Voice of the Customer means collecting customer feedback, using speech analytics, and listening on-demand to customer conversations, and all of these sources of feedback to improve outcomes. This concept is evolving to include all of the interactions that customers have with your organization, including written communications through chat, text/SMS, and emails that are becoming increasingly popular. So, this data needs to be easily accessible to those interacting with customers directly.

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Get Social
With over one million Twitter accounts created in 2012, social media presents new challenges and new opportunities as a key source of customer data. In fact, a new Aberdeen Group study on using data to deliver superior customer care finds that 60 percent of contact centers are using social media as part of their efforts. The report shows that businesses received about 200,000 customer requests over the past 12 months that originated in Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Personalize It
All of the data in the world is useless if you aren’t applying it in a way that truly impacts your customers. At the most basic level, this can happen when technology automatically provides data about a customer in real time, allowing the call to be routed and handled accordingly. Using a data-driven approach, a customer whose data identifies him or her as high profile can be instantly moved to the front of the queue or routed to a more appropriately skilled agent.

“Ultimately, data is the currency of business and the foundation of the customer-driven economy,” said Jarman. If you really listen to your customers and to your data, you’ll finally achieve a more holistic view of your customer that allows you to anticipate their needs before they even have to ask.

Amanda Ciccatelli, Social Media Strategist at IIR USA, has a background in digital and print journalism, covering a variety of topics in business strategy, marketing, and technology. She previously worked at Technology Marketing Corporation as a Web Editor where she covered breaking news and feature stories in the tech industry.  She can be reached at Follow her at @AmanadCicc. 
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