Big Data

5 Ways Customer Data Can Up Your Customer-Experience Game

5 Ways Customer Data Can Up Your Customer-Experience Game
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It’s getting to the point where a girl can’t turn around without bumping into some kind of data these days. From the much buzzed-about big data to the underutilized, but still important, unstructured data, the information businesses are able to glean from customers is staggering. By now, most companies understand the value of this information for improving marketing campaigns, but the real game-changer is applying the insights from this data to improve the customer experience.

Most marketers will tell you content is king. But without data, content would be irrelevant and ineffective. It’s data that informs marketing campaigns, the channels used to execute them and the budgets required to fund them. Beyond that, data, when used to understand the mind of the customer and speak to her individual needs, can drastically improve the overall customer experience.

As a data scientist, my job is to analyze data and identify patterns, trends and other insights companies can use to better understand their target personas and customers. To me, all the data floating around is a wonderland, but it can be overwhelming for others who just need to know what to do with it once they have it.

With these five tips, companies can quickly turn data into actionable insights that directly improve the customer experience:

1. Get personal.

Customers today expect a personalized experience from the companies they buy from. To ensure customers enjoy their experience with your company, your marketing and customer care campaigns must create a sense of camaraderie and understanding. Personalized emails using first names and a conversational tone are more likely to get opened. Similarly, new customers who receive personalized offers specific to their individual experiences are more likely to continue using your product and recommend your business to others.

2. Don’t be creepy.

Personalized content is good, but there is a fine line between relevant and creepy. With so much data available, it’s often difficult to determine what’s truly valuable and what’s better left alone. Generally, name, age, location and data from prior purchases or browsing history are fair game. If you’re considering using anything more personal, seek the help of a good data scientist or engineer who can help identify the data points that are safe and effective and avoid crossing into “big brother” territory.

3. Acquire tunnel vision.

Customer experience marketing works best when businesses develop “tunnel vision” to gain the most knowledge possible about their customers. By learning why customers chose a specific product, how they’re using it and if they’ve had any problems or added any upgrades, businesses can not only engage in personalized conversations with those customers to strengthen their bonds, they can also discover valuable information that can help convert prospective customers.

4. Don’t overlook unstructured data.

Eighty percent of a company’s data is unstructured, in the form of emails, social media and phone calls that can't reside in a traditional row-column database -- and it’s a treasure trove of valuable customer insights. Studying unstructured information can be daunting, but it is a valuable exercise for learning what your customers think and care about, as well as finding patterns and trends that can lead to new opportunities to delight your customers.

5. Dig deep for small data.

The industry buzz is all about big data, but there is gold to be mined at the small-data level, too. Small data refers to the individualized, personal tidbits buried in unstructured data and direct personal feedback from customers. Data collected from customer surveys and interviews can reveal deep knowledge about how and why customers use your product, what could be improved and how it benefits them. This information, when applied properly, can enhance the one-to-one customer experience like nothing else.

The more data a business has about its customers, the better. But, data comes in many flavors and sizes, from raw quantitative analysis to nuanced, personal insights. Combining these insights provides a more complete picture of a business’ customers and can drastically enhance customer experience.