Naughty or Nice Customer Care? The Data Will Differentiate This Holiday Season

Posted by: on Dec 4, 2012 | No Comments

Corporate investment in big data solutions will show companies where their strengths and weaknesses lie in customer care across every customer touch-point.

Berkeley Heights, NJ (PRWEB) December 04, 2012

Much has been written this past year about the next generation of customer care and service being driven by insights garnered through big data provided by the likes of Oracle and SAP. Big data is helping companies anticipate consumer preferences and trends, as well as help determine the underlying factors driving those decisions. Such information is garnered across customer touch-points, and leverages technology solutions to normalize the data in order to provide actionable insights to leadership. Large retailers and luxury providers have invested heavily in processes designed to improve customer satisfaction (understanding what customers want and need), bolster customer referrals, and minimize operational costs. Investors hope that by carefully defining the customer experience, the upcoming holiday shopping season will defy economic pressures and provide welcome profits and ensure brand preference this year and in years to come.

In the spirit of the season, one could say that companies ignoring the insights of their customer data are naughty, and that companies embracing the insights of data are ultimately nicely enhancing their customers’ experiences and shareholders’ value.

More than simply an indicator of sales profitability, today’s emphasis on big data is dedicated to demonstrating where a company’s customer service is working and where it is not. This can be discerned through technographics, market research, focus groups, surveys, social media, and other tools that afford insight into the mind of the customer. Companies can aggregate data on complaints specific to products and services and track variations in perceptions through different media channels, as well as the speed and effectiveness of problem resolutions. Whether the challenges are gaps in supply chain, lack of inventory to meet demand, poor policies, poor training, or surplus where there is no demand, new data-centric solutions can help companies see problems and take proactive measures.

Not too late to start collecting data

The 2012 holiday season still presents an opportunity to establish parameters designed to measure and document customer satisfaction during this holiday season. The benchmarks established now can serve as a barometer for adjustments in customer engagement going forward. If adding extra data fields to existing systems is prohibitive, consider creating an adjunct database with a unique identifier tied to customer data records in order to establish a baseline.

Although the extra seconds spent may meet with controversy where productivity matters, customer insights gathered can mean the difference between a company that can be considered a brand to recommend vs. one that will be forgotten in time.

Capture the spirit of the season

Rally the customer service team by establishing guidelines of concierge service and care that go the extra mile across every customer touch-point. Phone, chat, e-commerce, personnel, and social media customer engagement should consistently represent the quality of the brand. Variations in customer engagement experience implicit in each medium require a matrix that accounts for all possible “if/then” scenarios. Review interactions where possible to align service with brand values. Customer service workers should be able to convey empathy and dedication without compromising the company. Most important, empower service teams with authority and autonomy to make decisions that add value for the customer.

The decision to use the data collected regarding customer satisfaction and preferences create a customer-centric culture that differentiates the company and its brand and enables a better chance of anticipating future customer needs. All told, a very nice way to serve the customer this holiday season.