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Secrets of using Data to improve Customer Service

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Secrets of using Data to improve Customer Service
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Do you have call centre employees or service ninjas? Do your customers feel frustrated or validated? The answers might be found in whether your organization practices the “Purposeful use of data”.

Aaron DauphineeShawna Newbery and I set out to learn answers to these questions in the course of facilitating three kitchen-table style workshops at C2-MTL. During the course of the workshops we validated assumptions in line with our expectations for the day but were also surprised at some of the brands which got thumbs up and thumbs down from workshop participants.

Setting out to learn the secrets of using data to improve customer service and improve brand brand loyalty, the groups established several themes that defined our conversations. Purposeful use of data refers to organizations that consciously set out to reflect the value of collected data in marketing communications rather than just collect data as a form of compulsive behavior to feed an ever more obese data machine.

The groups expressed agreement that big companies seem to be paralyzed by data. The more they have, the less they seem to put it to use in a meaningful way to change customer behavior. Customers are demanding more transparency in all practices related to data collection, storage, and use. It seems the world has moved to Missouri, known as the “Show Me” state.  

Demonstrate that you are using data in a purposeful manner and deliver proof through presentation of relevant offers and you will generate trust. Fail in this area and you create legions of frustrated customers.

Workshop participants articulated a series of common customer frustrations:

  • You have my info, why do I have to give it to you again and again when I call?
  • My experience is not personalized, yet they have all my data
  • No one listens to me and they don’t try to keep me as a customers
  • It’s a mistake not to use my data to help me
  • There is seemingly no common sense applied
  • It’s all about them, not about my context or needs

Customer experiences with airlines, banks and telcos led the way in frustrating customers. To our surprise, several mentioned that Apple was at risk of falling into this group. The perception was that, as the company is maturing, it is taking liberty with its most loyalty fans, using new product introductions to drive the need to buy additional accessories. Some also believed the marginal benefits from recent product “upgrades” just reminded customers of ever shrinking product lifecycles, eroding Apple’s edge as a product innovator.

The question remains, how can brands use data to operate with “frictionless ease” and improve customer satisfaction? Workshop participants offered these expressions of the validated customer:

  • They paid attention to what I bought and sent me relevant offers
  • They fight to keep me as a customer
  • They anticipate my needs
  • They invite my feedback
  • They managed my expectations
  • They always have the right product

Amazon, Costco, ING Direct, Metro, Nike, Metro, Starbucks, Uber and Zappos were oft-mentioned examples of brands inspiring these expressions of satisfaction.

So, how do we get just 10% of customers to love our brands? The group concluded that data has to be used to enable the purchase experience to transcend the price point and to create a customer experience that extends past the point of purchase.

Practicing Purposeful use of Data leads to operating with Frictionless Ease”. Sounds inspiring and idyllic, doesn’t it? Could it also be possible in practice?

To make sure we could take away more than marketing hyperbole from the workshops, we shifted the discussion to reshaping the offer business. Want to know how the offer space can be transformed as brands capitalize on the both the Big and Little data they have on file? We’ll talk about that in our next post.

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