Big Data, Business Intelligence and the Customer Journey
In the most basic sense, using Big Data provides context and correlations. By adding a layer of Business Intelligence, companies can blend multiple data sources (which were previously unconnected) and present it visually in easily digestible reports and dashboards in order to gain deeper insights into customer actions and likely desires. And they can develop new correlations between actions such as purchases, service inquiries, and likely future behaviours.
Armed with business intelligence tools, firms can then adjust their strategies accordingly to best guide customers on an engaging brand journey. Used properly, Big Data should alter the tactics and processes and every department, including marketing, sales, customer service, even finance.
Here are several ways Big Data is guiding the customer experience through business intelligence and best practices for getting the most ROI out of Big Data investments.
Improving Omnichannel Shopping Experience
Consider a customer that opts-in for text message offers from a retailer. The customer is driving across town, and GPS integrated into their shopping application alerts the retailer the customer is nearing a retail store. Based on this combination of data points (location, app download, opt-in), an application can fire off a flash-sale type offer to the customer that is personalized again to their likely interests. The retailer benefits by attracting a customer, and the shopper receives relevant communications and a discounted price.
Business intelligence is essential for managing the omnichannel experience, where customers might browse on their computer, stop in a store for an in-person look, and then make a purchase through the store’s mobile app. All of these interactions need to record data which can be correlated and analyzed so the retailer can spot trends and adjust their tactics for a more enjoyable customer experience.
Flawless Service with Big Data
The best shopping environment and discount prices are not enough if a brand’s customer service experience is lacking. Big Data is important because it provides continuity among different customer service channels. Chat transcripts between agents and customers are accessible to sales staff in the field. Email logs between service agents and customers are also viewable by tech support. The free flow of information between the customer and the brand aids in making service seamless and less time-consuming. It eliminates the dreaded interaction of “I went over all of this with Ted in support an hour ago, I don’t want to repeat it.”
Access to reports, dashboards and communication tools also enables real-time service. Consider a cable provider that can relay through GPS tracking an instant update on a service truck scheduled for a customer’s home. Business intelligence relates the GPS information with customer details, including their preferred method of communication. This is a prime example of “managing expectations” which is vital for a smooth and frustration-free customer journey.
Leveraging Behind the Scenes Data
Much of the influence of Big Data occurs in systems and processes that are not visible at all to the consumer. Through business intelligence tools data might be pulled from various sources that finds correlations for a specific customer. There might be links between a customer’s location, type of device they use, and their past actions on the website, that all correspond to a recommended product. The customer sees a price alert for the product on their phone, but they don’t need to see all of the underlying “magic” that came together to build the recommendation behind the scenes.
An example can be found with mobile providers who can create alerts for customers when they are exceeding data consumption amounts. By providing real-time alerts, the customer can then take actions, whether it’s reducing their usage by sticking to Wi-Fi, raising their plan limits, or simply accepting a month of higher charges. This approach removes the shock of unexpected charges, and gently places some responsibility onto the customer. Even though the customer might not be pleased with their usage, they’ll appreciate an early alert and the opportunity to save money.
Business intelligence is more than a tool to guide marketing and sales strategy, it’s a framework for rich and efficient customer journeys.