Take a voyage into deep customer insights with analytics

Social Business Manager, IBM

The opening sequence of Star Trek episodes is one of the most iconic in the world of entertainment:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Captain Kirk may have been speaking in the context of space exploration, but his words are easily applicable to the business world and customer retention. What do space exploration and business have in common? Innovation.

To innovate, businesses need to explore new ideas, seek out solutions, and go forward with competitive ideas that can set them apart in the marketplace. As Steve Sponseller wrote in the Entrepreneur article "When It Comes to Innovation, Here Are 7 Mistakes People Make," “Businesses in any industry can apply innovative ideas to grow their revenue and develop a strong position in their market.”

With these objectives in mind, take a voyage through ways to optimize, improve and grow as an insurance company by staying customer-centric, all detailed in the white paper Insurance Customer Retention and Growth. However, keep in mind that the insights in each section can be applied to almost any industry or company working toward business optimization and revenue growth. Start with the five key strategies for growth:

  • Increase revenues from existing customers
  • Attract new policyholders
  • Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Serve mass-market customers cost-effectively
  • Know customer needs so the institution can offer the right product at the right time

What do all five strategies have in common? They are all dependent on the customer. Many organizations are realizing that they need to get to know their customers if they want to succeed in the marketplace. Furthermore, business leaders are realizing that customer-centricity has quantifiable, tangible benefits.

The recent article "10 Customer Service Stats and What They Mean for Your Contact Center" offers a few interesting statistics that highlight the importance of the customer experience. For example, poor customer service comes at a steep price in the U.S. considering that 41 billion dollars are lost annually because of bad customer service. In contrast, 69 percent of Americans would recommend a company to others as a result of a positive customer experience.

If you can turn first-time customers into regular customers, you are on a path to increased revenue. If you can turn your regular customers into brand advocates, then you are in a prime position for business growth. Take a look at the four benefits of improving customer retention to discover four more reasons to put your customers first:

  • Customer retention is far more cost-effective than customer acquisition
  • A loyal customer is a strong competitive advantage because of the recurring revenue potential
  • A satisfied customer can become part of the team, helping to sell your value proposition by word-of-mouth referrals
  • Customers also provide market intelligence feedback on competitive offerings, so you can keep abreast of the market

After exploring all this information about the critical role the customer plays in business optimization and growth, the next step is to seek out solutions to this key business problem. How can a company get to know its customers so that it can derive business insights that will allow it to retain valuable customers, cross-sell and up-sell to existing customers, and continually refine business processes for optimal customer experiences? Take a journey into the world of predictive analytics. Three key business questions can be answered with predictive analytics from IBM:

  • Is this customer likely to leave? If so, why?
  • And what offer is most likely to persuade him or her to stay?
  • And given the customer’s predicted profitability and risk profile, what retention effort is justified?

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise interacted with many different alien species during their travels. Unlike the space explorers, you could have the benefit of knowing your customers’ behaviors, preferences and needs by leveraging analytics. For example, discover two ways to continuously improve retention with IBM Predictive Analytics:

  • Refine predictive models with the latest real-world evidence
  • Update customer information for each contacted person to continuously improve insights, retention strategies and customer interactions

Now that we have reached the end of our voyage into customer insights, it is only logical that I leave you with one portfolio of solutions to retain and grow customers for enhanced bottom-line results: IBM Business Analytics. Start your own mission of innovation, and discover the analytics solution that can take your organization to new heights.