Why You Need to Start Using Customer Intelligence to Improve Customer Experience

Digital has empowered both the businesses and customers to interact with each other at multiple touch points, and get the queries resolved with ease and efficacy. With the ever growing importance of the customer, s/he has been placed at the crux of business strategies.

In fact, according to Forrester, 72% of businesses said that improving customer experience is their top priority, and many have transformed digitally adopting multiple channels of interaction, to serve their customers better.
With the increasing number of channels and touchpoints via which the businesses interact with the customers, it has become apparent that the customers and their customer journeys are becoming even more complex than ever before. Apart from that, social media and online review platforms have empowered the customers to share their views, opinions and experiences with the company or product. 
This has made it more difficult to understand the customer behavior or preferences and insights from a single channel to serve the customer is a clear no. Delivering great customer experience doesn’t stop at adopting digital channels. Businesses need to understand the customer in depth and listen to their views and complaints across the platforms.

“90 percent of people who read online reviews said that their purchasing decisions had been influenced by positive reviews, while 86 percent said they were swayed by negative reviews”
– Dimensional Research, 2013

It has become imperative to understand the customer not only to retain customers, but also to generate brand advocacy. To understand customers, businesses need to track and analyze their behavior, intent and motivations across internal and external channels. This data provides priceless insight into the customer’s needs & wants, and has the potential to deliver infinite value.
Customer Intelligence does exactly that!!
What is Customer Intelligence?
Customer intelligence is the process of gathering and analyzing information from internal and external sources to understand customer intent, behaviour and motivations to deliver better customer experience. With customer intelligence analytics, businesses can get deep insight into customers’ thoughts and expectations and make strategic business decisions to drive growth. This results in a 360 degree understanding of the customer needs, resulting in deeper and more effective customer relationships. 

At the core of customer intelligence lies gathering of customer data in the form of customer feedback, customer reactions on the social channels, social presence etc. This data is spread across silos and businesses aren’t taking full advantage of these inputs. On the other side lies advanced machine learning capabilities like text and speech analytics which analyses the customer data and provides usable metrics to understand the customer. The following are few of the customer intelligence metrics which help businesses to get a more indepth understanding of the customer.
1. Voice of the Customer (VoC): 
Voice of Customer, as the name suggests is the collective opinion of the customers about your product or service. Businesses can understand if a product or service is working by looking at whether the people are buying it or not. But that doesn’t give a complete picture apart from the fact that people are buying it like, If any improvements can be done to the current product, people are buying from you grudging, only hoping for a competitor to emerge etc. Bringing VoC into the mixture and understanding their experiences and behaviour, both qualitatively and quantitatively will give more.
Traditionally, VoC is heard using interviews, focus groups, ethnographic studies etc. However, due to the onset of digital channels, VoC can be conducted on a larger scale with no need to random sampling of customers.
Customer feedback can be collected using solicited means like email, web intercept, SMS and unsolicited like social. This enables business to get a deep and complete insight into their product/service acceptance. This insight helps businesses prioritize what will make the greatest impact on their bottom line along with delivering of great customer experience. 
2. Customer Sentiment Analysis:
During an interaction with the customer, it is quite pertinent to understand the emotional state and behaviour of the customer.

For example, if a customer writes either via mail or chat to an online clothing store saying “In spite of multiple follow ups I am yet to receive my order. I am really pissed. Never ordering from you again”. This message reflects an aggravated and frustrated state of the customer. Imagine he gets a reply saying – “Thanks for writing to us. We will get back to you in 24 – 48 hrs” or “You are 6th in queue. Our customer experience executive will be with you in a short while”. There is very high chance that this customer will never visit your customer in the near future.
Customer sentiment analysis is a method of analysing the information, usually in a text format and providing insight into customer opinions, wants and emotional state. The source of the information can be from internal systems or from the social channels.
Analysing the data allows the organizations to assess the customer’s reaction and provide immediate assistance, if needed. In case of the earlier example, sentiment analysis shows the mood of the customer and provides triggers to take immediate action in some scenarios. Rules can also be engineered so that the customers who are angry reach the customer service executive immediately bypassing the IVR and the queue. This ensures businesses to convert the negatives to positives and deliver great customer experience. 
3. Public Shoutout Index:
With rapid increase in platforms where customers can share their views and opinions, it is also imperative to track social and online review channels to identify such customers who can have great impact on the business. 
A review or opinion from an food enthusiast about a restaurant, on his or her social channel with a considerable number of followers would push the probable customers towards the restaurant or their competitor based on whether it is good or bad. Many review platforms like Yelp, Zomato were built on this business model but the actual problem they are addressing is that of customer experience. 
Social media channels and the users have grown exponentially in the past few years and it has become more easier to interact with each other or share your experience with a particular brand or product. 
4. Overall Satisfaction Rating:
It is also important to understand the acceptance level of customers on a longterm level to have base level understanding of customer’s expectations.
For a product or service, the quality can be assessed easily based on the previous ratings of the customer. In case of a customer who often rates the product/service 4 or 5 out of 5, suddenly rates 1 or 2 is a trigger on that something went wrong and the business needs to heed to the review and interact with the customer to understand what actually went wrong. 
Digital has provided the businesses with multiple channels to interact and brought them closer to eachother than ever before. With large amount of data flowing in from these multiple channels customer intelligence provides a solution to understand and keep track of the customer behaviour and his/her preference. With the help of customer intelligence, these immense data can be turned into actionable insights to serve the customer better than ever before and deliver unparalleled customer experience.  

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