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Melting the Data Glaciers

Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

The sheer thought of the data we create and consume today is mind boggling. IBM research shows we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and begs for a response to the question–what are we doing with all this data? A recent global survey by Jaspersoft answered this, revealing that the number one use case for big data is customer experience analytics. Of the companies surveyed, 48% indicated that their big data projects revolve around customer experience–determining buying habits, understanding online buying personas, uncovering customer sentiment and improving overall customer satisfaction.

Jaspersoft’s findings aren’t hard to believe as Forrester’s State Of Customer Experience for 2012 reveals that 93% of respondents said that customer experience is among their companies’ top strategic priorities. Add to this the 2012 BRITE-NYAMA Marketing in Transition Study that shows 91% of senior corporate marketers believe that successful brands use customer data.”

Still, data is like water–it’s everywhere, yet scarce, as only 3% of water is fresh water and two-thirds of our fresh water goes untouched in glaciers. Jaspersoft’s study confirms that companies are realizing that the answer to much of their customer challenges lies in the untapped glaciers and icecaps of their big data mountains.

In our experience, most of the “data glacier” challenges companies face revolve around lack of empowerment for customer-facing employees. For instance, representatives responding to customer inquiries often squander precious time creating new responses because they’re unable to access and leverage past work. Not to mention that each customer receives a slightly different answer; some more correct than others. Call center agents scour through 10-15 different applications hunting for answers–and still often come up with the wrong answer, leading to long support calls, and interminable hold music. We’ve witnessed this at a large manufacturer of mining equipment where their antiquated systems created silos and their agents struggled to find the relevant product information required for individualized customer service. Their customers’ experiences suffered.

“Data glaciers” lead to revenue dips as companies are unable to personalize customer experiences with targeted messages for the ideal cross-sell and up-sell offers. Brand stickiness falters too, because customers slide to competitors after hunting and missing essential information and answers to their questions. In fact, a large medical equipment client recorded a conservative revenue increase of $319,600 yearly, just from exploiting knowledge share and customer insight to create cross-sell and up-sell advantages.

By employing the right tools to discover and navigate through their data glaciers scattered across various repositories, companies can gain a comprehensive 360-degree view of their customers, revealing insights. Research shows that 39% of marketers admit that they cannot turn their data into actionable insight. When an organization, however, can optimize its big data and connect customer data from Support, Accounting, ERP, CRM, Social Intelligence and external data sources through a single view, it can make considerable inroads in creating actionable sight. Customer experience analytics drives tangible change in business processes, powers collaboration through knowledge share, and elevates the overall customer experiences. Organizations benefit from:

  • Increased cross-selling, up-selling and average revenue per customer
  • Increased customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy
  • Improved staff retention in sales and customer service organizations
  • Reduced support costs for partners, distributors and suppliers
  • Reduced training and operating costs

Many customer experience professionals are overwhelmed by the vast amount of data they have available and don’t know how to leverage it to their advantage. Jaspersoft’s survey gives us all a nudge in the right direction.

How are you using customer data and customer analytics to improve your customer experience? Share with us here in the comments or join our customer experience optimization (#cxo) tweetchats every Monday at noon Eastern as we learn from each other.