Companies Collecting Consumer Data
Customer service has gone beyond the days of a warm smile and a kind word. E-commerce has changed things radically and social media platforms are giving consumers ready access to competitors. It all comes down to the incredible amount of leverage the customer now has. Companies need to be able to not just respond to customer needs, but also in some cases try to predict what those demands will be. This is where big data assists customer service efforts.
Numbers are a Crystal Ball
Companies are now starting to gather huge amounts of data on customers. Any number of sites have analytics to help determine what customer desires and needs are. These statistics are used to more accurately predict trends and where the products should be best promoted. Part of customer service is to recommend items that the customer may want to consider. Amazon does that all the time. Whenever person makes a purchase on Amazon they get an indication of what other people are buying in the same category.
Big Data Helps Ease the Pain
Past experience can help deliver the right solutions. If a company records customer complaints properly and surveys the audience carefully, they can come up with enormous amounts of information about possible problems. Identifying the problems with the help of big data allows the opportunity to create solutions. Delta Airlines has been able to develop ways of finding lost baggage because of the data they mined.
Big data also helps identify the favourite communication channel of customers. In the case of a repair call for example, a company can alert the customer by telephone, email, or text message, letting that person know when the technician is going to arrive. It is also possible to let the customer know where he or she is in the line waiting for service. This means that the customer does not have to do follow-up calls to find out if and when service is going to be available. It helps make the entire experience a delight and that is the core principle of quality customer service.
Making It All a Delight
This may sound a bit cheesy but needs to be taken seriously. Customers do not want hassles and companies like Comcast have suffered because of very poor interaction with customers. The consumer does not want to hear customer service representatives repeat identical information or show confusion over the use of the product. Big data helps emphasize customer convenience. The knowledge about customer preferences allows for the crafting of solutions that are quick and effective. Consumers can be very pleasantly surprised when a number of options are provided. Expecting long waits and confused responses the consumer is pleasantly caught off guard. It helps not just by developing repeat business and also cultivating favorable word-of-mouth. Good customer service is party conversation for a lot of people. That can do wonders for brand awareness and appreciation.
Building relationships is important and the numbers crunching gives some ideas. Banks have used information supplied by customers to determine the use of mobile or online banking; whether these are better than ATMs. What is happening is that as banks look to the big data they are thinking less of the product they want to provide and what the customer truly needs. Given the major problems banks and financial institutions have had the last few years, effective use of big data is helping restore confidence with the public by means of better customer service.
The use of all the statistics is taking the guesswork out of customer service. Companies can have a better understanding of the customer base and what the public wants. It is important that data be shared between departments; marketing and customer service need to understand what each other is doing. The use of big data will be driving a lot of customer service initiatives in the coming years. Business is moving towards the concept of enhancing customer experience and big data is helping ease the way.
By Sameer Bhatia
Sameer is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ProProfs.com. He founded the company based on the vision that knowledge should be freely available to people from all walks of life.
Sameer is an ed-tech veteran and has been a serial internet entrepreneur. His past startups have been in e-learning and online retail along with a niche search engine to compete with Google. His academic background is in technology with a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Southern California (USC).