Consumers are becoming increasingly hyper-aware and capable of ingesting and disseminating information and opinions at incredible speeds. In this Age of the Customer, as Forrester Research has called it, product and price differentiation is becoming less important compared to delivering quality, personalized service and a rapid response to your client’s expectations. It sounds like a tough task and certainly smashes the idea of the slow and careful approach to customer insight. The kind that uses bi-annual customer surveys, followed by a laborious reporting and decision-making process based on the responses. Constant insight into your customer’ satisfaction levels is available now and the tools are only getting better. They are the secret to getting ahead of your competitors, so long as they are used effectively.

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Here are six things your firm should be focusing on right now to ensure you’re making the most of your data.

1. Get the right data for your needs

The facts: There is a phenomenal wealth of data available for every one of your customers, yet only 0.5% of it is ever used (1). This means there is huge potential out there. However companies must be clever about what they are looking for to avoid getting overloaded.

What to do: Target the information that can make a difference. For example, if you want to reduce churn, find the commonalities between customer profiles and their reasons for leaving. Use this data to spot which customers may be at risk of jumping ship in the future. Pre-emptively approach them to address their concerns and keep them on board.

2. Quicken your responses

The facts: We are living in a time of instant informational gratification. If we want to know something, buy something or communicate with someone we know it can happen right now, wherever we are. It’s not surprising then that 75% of online customers expect help within five minutes (2). Is your company reacting quick enough?

What to do: Work out a timeline from receipt of information to final decision. Where are the bottlenecks? Is information getting siloed for too long before entering the stream? Using an effective and continuous customer satisfaction API, like Netigate’s, allows you to get real-time insights into customer performance. With up-to-the-minute information, you will be able to watch developments and take decisions the moment they need to be made.

3. Go beyond insight and start using foresight

The facts: Analysing the data that you are receiving gives you insight. It tells you how your customers are acting and what decisions they have made in the past. However, smart companies are using this to predict what customers are going to do in the future. Amazon, through predictive analytics, are working on “anticipatory shipping” (3) to tell them what a customer is going to buy before they buy it. Armed with this knowledge they can send products to nearby warehouses in preparation for purchase and to ensure their next-day delivery promises can be fulfilled.

What to do: Use the data you are gathering to enhance your customer profiles. Choose the metrics that mark out future behaviour such as special offers or seasonality and use these to individualize your approaches. With real-time information, you can automate your responses to constantly stay ahead of the game.

4. Unify action through spreading information

The facts: Maintaining consistency of standards throughout your organization requires unified action. Achieving this requires a high level of co-ordination and easy-to-digest instruction about the direction you are heading. For customers, 89% became frustrated by having to repeat their issue to multiple representatives (4). Avoid confusion and delays by ensuring all of your departments are working with the same data and towards the same goals.

What to do: Have all relevant data routed directly to the department that needs it. Rather than sending a weekly report to Sales about why they are losing leads, keep them in the loop as the information comes in. The data you hold is only as good as the decisions you can make with it, so make sure it gets to the right parts of your organization quickly.

5. Tailor your experiences

The facts: People spend more money and tell more people when they receive a service that shows they are valued (5). However, in a study by Accenture, only 36% of hotel customers felt like they had received a tailored experience, and this dropped to 18% in the case of utilities customers (6).

What to do: You have the data and you know what your customers want, the question is: Why aren’t they getting it? Personalizing your customers experience and showing them how much you care leads to less churn and more sales. It is also anywhere between 4 and 10 times cheaper to keep an existing customer than to acquire a new one (7). Use your customer service data to tailor your customers’ experiences and keep them loyal.

6. Enable flexible reactions

The facts: The old saying goes, “people plan and the gods laugh”, and it’s as true now for business as it was for whoever first came up with it. Any number of events can occur to cause your company to have to shift course or react quickly. This is a normal part of business, but how prepared are you for the unforeseen and how flexible are your decision-making mechanisms?

What to do: When you receive data that disproves a theory, e.g. a sales promotion is turning into a disaster or an advertising spot is going viral for all the wrong reasons. Therefore you need to be able to make a good decision rapidly. To do this you should have emergency contingencies in place but data also plays a big role. By getting instant reactions and constant NPS updates you can keep your finger on the pulse of consumer sentiment. Thus, you will be informed the moment things start turning bad, buying you extra time to react. Also allowing you to focus precisely on the areas that are most urgent.

At Netigate we are the experts when it comes to gaining customer insight and forging stronger bonds between you and your clients. We know how this data can empower your decision-making and speed up your processes. Why not talk to our team about setting up a free demo and see how Netigate can help you use your customer data better.

1 Forbes
2 McKinsey
3 The Atlantic
4 Accenture
5 American Express
6 Accenture
7 LinkedIn

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