By: Helena Schwenk, Principal Analyst, MWD Advisors
Published: 24th October 2013
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License
Are you meeting your customers’ expectations? It’s a question that many of us should take time to ponder, especially since today’s customers are much more empowered, demanding and informed than ever. It’s just how it is these days. Your customers have very clear expectations when they contact you. They want each touch or interaction to be relevant, convenient and personalised. They want their request or issue to be resolved first time around, competently and pro-actively, and in as short a time as possible. What’s more your customers want to be able to communicate with you whenever and however they choose.
What’s important here is that in the vast majority of these cases there is a ‘window of opportunity’ in which you have a chance to make a difference for that customer. More to the point, it involves focusing your efforts at the point of impact for the customer—the interaction or touchpoint. It’s a powerful place to be, as this is where you are mostly likely to have the customer’s attention; it’s a time when you’ve got an opportunity to build a deeper relationship with your customer, to offer more value and understand more about their needs and wants. But equally it’s also a time at which you have an opportunity to drive value for the business by identifying opportunities to potentially increase revenue for example. The pressure to get this balancing act right is high.
But we know all of this, right? The success of brands such as Starbucks, Amazon and Apple has demonstrated and underlined the importance of delivering great customer experiences underpinned by targeted interactions, and more importantly, how this is impacting the bottom and top line.
Our research suggests that one way in which customer-facing organisations are meeting this challenge is by accelerating the degree to which they use data and analytics. They are using both to get a richer understanding of the customer and, even better, to understand why they are likely to be contacting or interacting with your organisation in the first place. This insight can then be applied within the right context to help serve them better and, all being well, increase their loyalty and value to the business.
When organisations typically think of customer analytics, though, the ability to apply analytic techniques to build propensity models and segmentation lists typically springs to mind. But analytics can help in other equally valuable ways. It should also been seen as a tool to help you measure, benchmark and improve your customer experience efforts.
What I mean by this is that analytics has a dual role to play: firstly by helping organisations shape and inform customer interactions by, for example, acquiring the right customer, or by helping identify a customer likely to churn; equally analytics can help you continually improve these efforts too, by measuring and highlighting what activities are working and what are not. Examples might be, are you meeting your targets for lower attrition, or are you seeing higher conversion rates on your website? And if not, what is the likely cause of this?
Even better, if these two uses of analytics are used in tandem they can form what can be described as a closed feedback loop, one where insights are used to fuel improvements and help optimise customer interactions or touchpoints. For example, you can use metrics about online conversion performance organisations to adjust marketing campaigns and refine marketing messages, thereby helping create a continually optimising closed loop system.
The bottom line is that as you look to maximise the opportunities that come from the interactions you have with your customers, analytics can help—but the trick comes from using them in more than one way, in a double act. One where analytics can help you not only serve the customer by informing interactions, but also doing this at the right cost for your business by telling you how successful you are in terms of performing against your business targets.
If you’re responsible for using customer insights to help improve the customer experience then I invite you to download this free report. My aim in this report is to provide you with a guide and starting point to your customer experience excellence journey by helping you to understand the role analytics can play and hone your focus on the areas that will provide the most value for your business and your customers.
We’re also running a free live webinar on this topic called “7 steps to customer experience excellence with analytics” on Wednesday 6th November at 11am EDT/4pm GMT. For more information and for details on how to register click here. I’ll be doing a live Q&A, so I do hope you can join me and take part.
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