Deep customer analytics can still be a force for good

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Gaining deep insights into public perceptions, views and behaviour dramatically hit the headlines recently, for all the wrong reasons, making people more aware just how much information businesses keep about them. But should analysing behaviours via data always get a bad rap? I think not, and here’s why.

Businesses whose data strategies put the customer first can benefit from useful insights that, if used properly, can help improve customer experiences, business processes, sales offerings and marketing efforts. They achieve this by linking up siloed databases with CRMsystems across the business – sales, marketing, contact centre and so on. This reduces the amount of stored data and complexity (because it eliminates duplication), and provides a single, 360 degree view of the customer, streamlining the workflows and processes that underpin customer engagement and experience.

But data itself doesn’t equal intelligence. Businesses need a way to be able to interpret and understand data, helping them to uncover new information or communication trends hidden within the data that may not already be apparent or known. As our organisations continue to evolve and multi-channel communication becomes the norm, there are insights here too that we should be tapping into. For example, a customisable reporting tool that, when running a query about types of customer enquiry could also, for example, unexpectedly reveal that customers generally have a more positive experience when they engage via web based chat. This new intelligence could prompt a business to put more emphasis on web based communication, or investigate why other forms of engagement aren’t performing as well, overall making improvements to customer experiences.

Flexible reporting and analytics tools that are “UCaware” need to let users tag and filter almost any information about customer engagements, for example call counts, ring time, duration, how the call was made (e.g. via phone or web), and which agent took the call – and be able to track an engagement as it moves between channels. This data can be sliced and diced in any number of ways, providing new intelligence about how customers are engaging and their preferences.

Conscious approaches to customer data is about to get even more serious with the introduction of enforcement of GDPR regulations from next month. This, combined with recent high profile cases of customer data abuse, are putting increasing pressure on businesses to take responsibility. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater; businesses taking a customer-first approach will not only support regulatory changes but improve processes and, indeed, the services that businesses can offer customers.