Big data has been getting a lot of attention recently as retail, technology and manufacturing companies begin to realise the opportunity and potential ROI that lies in previously unused and overlooked data sets.
However the topics dominating the discussion in this field are consumer trends, marketing guidance and product planning but there is someone that seems to have been forgotten in all this -the customer.
With brand relationships and two way conversations between companies and customers becoming common place, the consumer has grown to expect personalisation in their communication with their favoured brands, in place of passive marketing messages. In order for these interactions to feel individualised and â€˜human', they must be well informed. With the use and collection of big data on the rise, you would think this would be easy? However for many companies customer service is still seen as an unnecessary expense to be minimised and not an opportunity to be developed.
Ziba's Sean Madden recently highlighted the fantastic customer service he received from Amazon, due to their use of data to build relationships and has gone on to share his top 3 tips on how to use personal data successfully –
1) Give your employees the right tools
Information tools are vital. It is vital that the customer's relationship with the brand is seamless. So all information collected, from all mediums must be available in one place, to remove the need for that routine, awkward, impersonal conversation and make way for a human one.
2) Let the customer know you know. Then listen.
Madden uses the analogy of meeting an old acquaintance at a dinner party. He says â€˜she remembers my name and asks one or two questions about things we discussed last time we spoke. The fact that she remembers establishes a rapport; the fact that she doesn't list out every bit of information she possesses makes me feel comfortable'. And this is exactly what companies must do in their approach to customers.
3) Give the customer a sense of control
Have you heard the story of how popular US retailer Target informed a teenage girl that she was pregnant before she did? From carefully collected data sets, Target identified about 25 products, that when analysed together, assigned the girl a â€˜pregnancy prediction'. More disturbingly they could also estimate her due date within a small window. In order to avoid upsetting customers,companies must be careful to use these data sets carefully and appropriately. They need to give customers more options for controlling how much they share and how that information gets applied. Customers see data as theirs, ad they need to be treated like the owners.