When was the last time you walked into a store where anyone actually knew who you were, knew what you wanted, and how to meet your needs? Today it seems most businesses have no idea who you are, nor do they seem to care, content on competing for your business in the one area that everyone (mistakenly) thinks matters the most: price.
The thing about competing on price is that it robs businesses of the ability to help foster customer loyalty, that is, it hinders the relationship building process, for the second your competitor down the street offers a new promotional deal, your customers are out the door. What people really want is to not feel like customers at all, but to feel like valued individuals, and that, surprisingly enough, is one place where Big Data analysis, done properly, may help radically redefine the business landscape.
So although many decry data collection and analysis for its privacy implications among other things, consider that if done correctly it will help usher in a revolutionary new age of customer satisfaction; one where businesses, regardless of size, will be able to generate and maintain unique, individual relationships with each of their customers.
David Trice of CRM Buyer has developed an insightful list of the most common customer service do’s and don’ts, and offers a unique glimpse into how data collection, analysis, and deployment may actually help customers feel more valued, instead of feeling intruded upon by companies looking to gobble up their personal data.
First, it’s important to treat every customer as an individual. Obvious as it sounds, if companies are going to every truly bridge the gap between being a faceless corporation and creating valuable customer relationships, knowing that each customer is an individual, with a unique set of needs and wants, will be absolutely essential. As Trice explains, “Technology such as beacons, on-location Wi-Fi, social logins, and cookies and tags can help identify customers, so companies can begin the process of getting to know them.” So while we’ve preached this point ad nauseam, consider that customer insights now can actually make it a reality.
Second, once such technology is deployed, make sure customer information is shared across all divisions of the company. There’s nothing worse than customer service staff having information that isn’t shared with technical staff, or management knowing things about customers that retail staff aren’t privy to. By breaking down the internal barriers within your company all divisions will be able to work in harmony to serve the customer.
Third, while it may sound creepy to some, it’s important to make sure customer insights are available to your employees when it matters most, at the moment of customer engagement. Just imagine how you’d feel if a business not only remembered your name, but what you might be interested in buying that day, but did it in the way that felt more like an interested neighbour, and less like a faceless corporation.
Fourth, don’t depend on automated systems to create customer relationships. As Trice notes, automated machines are ‘transactional’ in nature, thus they often ignore the individual customers (don’t worry, we’re working on that). While it can be a good way to deliver timely information to the customer, overuse or dependence will yield diminishing returns.
Finally, the culmination of this entire segment is that for businesses to truly master the customer service experience, they’ll have to find ways to deliver the right deal at the right time. While this has been promised by targeted advertising for a few years now, it’s important to know that it’s still a work in progress, but the more companies know about their customers, the more they’ll be able to meet the unique needs of those customers, without anyone feeling intruded upon or watched.
The fact of the matter is that customers interact with most business across multiple channels and touch points, and the key for companies will be to find ways to combine these disparate interactions into one comprehensive picture; using Big Data not to exploit customers, but to find ways for companies to recognize the individuality of their diverse customer base, finally allowing businesses to create individual relationships with individual people. And here’s the plug … Digitcom sells contact center software, in particular, the Avaya IPOCC and Avaya APCC software, which, provides an integrated channel for contact center deployment connecting many of the touch points: web, phone, fax, email, and IM, and produces reports integrating these channels. Let us know if you’re interested in investigating this further.