How Big Data can Drive Better Customer Service

No matter what size your company is, big data can make a significant impact on your customer service. And better customer service leads to happier customers and increased sales. In fact, increasing your customer retention by just 5% can result in a 25% increase1 in profits. But the problem is that even many of the largest businesses around aren’t using their data effectively.

If you’re collecting data only to use it for the occasional discount or coupon, you’re throwing away opportunities to great remarkable customer experiences. Thankfully, there are a number of efficient ways you can start using your big data to dramatically improve your customer service. In this post, I’m going to show you six methods for putting big data to use. But first, it’s important to understand what big data is.

Big Data Defined

Big data can refer to both a type of data and a form of data processing.

When referencing a type of data, big data means data that is very large, unstructured and potentially time sensitive. It’s data that has been collected from all the digital devices and platforms used by your customers, such as:

– Your website
– Social media
– Your customer service call center

This data cannot be processed by traditional database processes and methods. Instead, it requires a different processing approach, which is also commonly called big data. This big data process is used when traditional data mining and handling techniques fail to uncover the meaning and insights of the data. The processing approach is a relatively new method of information analysis. It enables companies to research client behavior and gain useful insights.

Big data can also be used to create extremely precise models which can then be used to run simulations of real-world scenarios. For example, you can use big data modeling and analysis to determine the volume of sales expected for different product prices.

The Value of Big Data

The creation of data is growing at a phenomenal rate. In fact, many data analysts are suggesting the digital universe will be 40x bigger by 20202Combine the sheer volume with the rapid growth, and it’s clear that old methods of data processing and analysis just won’t cut it anymore.

The majority of data collected today is unstructured and requires different storage and processing than what traditional relational databases can handle. Quantitative insights revealed through big data analysis paint a much more accurate picture of what customers want and need. 

The statistics show that big data is becoming critical for customer service success:

– 58% of enterprises experience a significant increase in customer retention and loyalty as a result of using refined customer analytics.

– 44% of enterprises gain new customers and increase revenue as a result of adopting and integrating customer analytics into their operations.

– Real-time customer analytics delivering the greatest business value in the following areas:
1. Improving customer experiences (85%)
2. Improving customer retention and loyalty (58%)

Unfortunately, many companies are still struggling to harness this value. Only 16% of companies feel their efforts to harness big data for real-time customer experiences are very effective.  While this number is predicted to nearly double over the next two years, it’s still not a very rosy picture.

The bottom line is that companies understand the potential value of big data but continue to struggle with the right implementation of it. Thankfully, you can use the six methods below to drive better customer service through big data.

#1 Stop Missing Customer Communications

Considering the sheer volume of social media posts every day, it can be challenging for your social media team to quickly identify and address each and every issue. After all, on Twitter alone there are 500 million Tweets3 sent each day…that’s 6,000 Tweets every second!

The challenge is that 75% of people4 who contact a company for customer support via social media expect a response within an hour. Plus, prompt response to a complaint on social media can actually increase customer advocacy5 by as much as 25%.

In other words, responding quickly is critical for reducing negative customer experiences as well as promoting more positive ones. And the only way to do this efficiently with the volume of interactions occurring is by harnessing big data.

With big data, companies can easily track negative remarks and respond to customer problems. Plus, big data from social media activity can provide huge insights into customer concerns and enable your company to identify and fix customer service issues quickly.

Analytics can also show which channels are frequently used by your customers. This information can then be used to select where to best focus your marketing and advertising efforts.

#2 Improve Your Personalized Offersbig data

Businesses can experience growth in revenue simply by improving the alignment between customer behaviors and their marketing messaging. This requires the ability to provide personalization on a grand scale, which is only possible through harnessing big data.

Big data analytics allow you to sift through customers’ transactional data and purchase history fast and efficiently. This data can reveal how much a customer has spent, how often, and on which products or services. The value of this is that it allows you to automate marketing offers and recommendations based on known customer preferences.

Nordstrom is a prime example of how even brick and mortar businesses can harness big data to personalize shopping experiences. In April 2018, the company opened its new store located at West 57th Street in Manhattan.

Unlike traditional retail stores, this one is designed to be a “sophisticated shopping-tech laboratory.” Two of the personalized services it offers include:

1. Customers can see how jackets look on life-size avatars of themselves that are projected onto screens.

2. Customers can “reserve” products online to try on before buying. When they arrive at the store, the products will be in a fitting room waiting for them with their name on the door.

#3 Enhance Your Team Services

Over 90% of global buyers6 say that customer service is crucial in their choice of brand. And often the success of your customer service is determined by your employees. They are the frontline who interact with your customers.

This is why it’s so important to have reliable and consistent customer service agents. Fortunately, big data can help you identify their weaknesses and help them reach their full potential.

For example, your company likely has a tracking or recording system that monitors customer interactions and gathers data across your main service platforms. Customer feedback surveys, call transcripts, and any text messages (SMS, social media posts, chats) are valuable sources of big data. You can analyze this big data using relevant customer service metrics to pinpoint which areas different employees need to work on. Metrics may include:

– Average customer response time.
– Call or chat abandonment rate.
– Hold time.
– Number of customer escalations.
– Customer feedback scores.

Identifying weaknesses across your team will also allow you to identify if there is a larger issue, such as insufficient training or a lack of resources. It can also highlight areas of opportunity for improved customer support.

For example, big data may highlight that Twitter is becoming more popular with your customers. Therefore, you may opt to create a dedicated customer service account on the platform and train your staff on providing service through that channel.   

Your customer service team faces many questions, inquiries, and complaints every day. Big data can help detect and analyze all the variations of user questions and the corresponding answers. This information can then be used to create the best explanations and to compile call scripts or guidelines your service team can use for troubleshooting. ,

H&R Block uses real-time customer analytics to ensure every customer touchpoint is a successful one. In fact, the company’s real-time customer service offerings have doubled in complexity and customization7 each year and are expected to quadruple over the next two years.

#4 Create Real-time Customization

The ability to collect data about customers in real time and respond to it in real time is increasingly what separates successful brands from the rest of the pack. Achieving this success requires collecting, assessing, and acting on real-time customer data. It requires integration across the different functions and departments of your company. The true value comes from assessing real-time customer data in the context of other real-time business data.

While many companies still struggle with this, Dickeys Barbecue Pit has been doing it remarkably well for years8. For example, real-time data can show that one of the company’s locations is experiencing lower-than-expected sales. And because they anticipated more sales, they’ve made too many ribs. Thanks to real-time customization, Dickeys can now automatically text out a rib special to customers near that location. Suddenly, instead of a drop in sales and a loss of ribs, the store is able to sell the product at a discount and customers are thrilled because they received a great deal. Everyone benefits.

#5 Identify New Product Opportunities

Market research can be considered “small data.” While it provides valuable insights into product design, it focuses primarily on qualitative data. In other words, it helps illustrate the emotions and beliefs that impact customers decisions.

Big data, on the other hand, focuses on quantitative data. Rather than answering why people buy things, it simply highlights buying trends and patterns. Due to the volume and accessibility of this big data, it tends to offer a high likelihood of accuracy, which is a goldmine for product developers. You can access past data sets to analyze how people will react to different price points, features, and other aspects of a product or service.

You can also identify their evolving requirements. Big data can pinpoint changes in the marketplace faster than market research. For example, it could highlight that more coupons are being used than ever before. This, in turn, could signal an increase in customer price sensitivity or a growing interest in discount products.

By gathering insight from both market research and big data, product and marketing teams can better identify, understand and overcome both rational and emotional objectives.

#6 Offer Omnichannel Support

The modern customer journey can be overwhelmingly complex. In today’s digital environment, the path to purchase involves more touch points and channels than ever before. Plus, in order to understand the entire journey, you may need to trace interactions back over weeks, months, or even years.

While this may seem daunting, 67% of marketing leaders9 agree that creating a connected customer journey is critical to the success of their overall marketing strategy. So how do you connect the data across all touchpoints and channels? The only solution is big data.

Big data can not only capture the entire journey, but it can also highlight which parts of it are most in need of your attention. Big data processing and analysis can identify which channels are not integrated and where customers are most frequently abandoning their journey. It can also pinpoint which channels are the most popular and which areas of your customer service are the weakest. It can even be used to identify different price expectations across channels.

All of these insights allow you to craft a fully integrated and well-aligned omnichannel customer service offering.

Driving Customer Service with Big Data

Big data holds a wealth of customer insights that your business can use to wow your audience. Harnessing the data you’ve gathered and using it wisely can drive better customer service across the organization. No matter the size of your company.

Using big data, you can respond to customers faster and offer personalized support at scale. You can enhance your customer service teams ability to wow and support real-time customization. You can also quickly identify new and profitable product offerings. And ensure your business is providing smooth omnichannel support.

Big data may seem daunting for smaller organizations, but harnessing big data to drive better customer service allows you to improve customer loyalty and retention. Which results in more sales and better business.

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