The phenomenon of big data is changing the way companies operate in gaining engagement with the goals of higher ROI and greater customer retention in mind.
Complete engagement is key to customer retention.
Big data services collecting context data creates a huge potential for engagement. Knowing the user’s location, spending tendencies, size of immediate family and even which social media platform he or she frequents can allow businesses to create customized experiences for the user.
E-commerce companies like Amazon have successfully managed big data enabling them to reach high revenues and high customer retention rates. Amazon exceeded $70 million in revenue with expectations to exceed $90 million by the end of 2014.
Tyler Roye, CEO and co-founder of e-gift retailer eGifter, noted that customer data gives businesses, especially smaller ones, a great opportunity to reward customers with loyalty programs that pay attention to their specific purchase preferences. Drilling down in those specific areas allows businesses to offer the most enticing deals and programs for customers, not only making them more likely to spend with the business, but also making them feel valued as individuals.
CEOs like Roye understand the importance of having a solid Big Data platform, such as those compared to Amazon Elastic MapReduce, to put to work for their organizations engaging potential and current customers.
Using Big Data for stronger customer service
Sean Madden, executive managing director at Ziba, says there are three steps Amazon is taking to use Big Data to build a stronger relationship with its customers.
First on the list for Madden is giving your employees the right tools. Amazon provides their employees with the right platform enabling them to retrieve information efficiently to give their customers a seamless experience. Amazon’s customer service transfers data that’s been collected automatically or through form-filling into the personal realm creating real conversations between the customer service agent and the customer.
Madden noted the rise of portable platforms makes it possible for designers and store employees and not just the headset-wearing call-center folks to create a human conversation and quality service.
The second step on Madden’s list is to let the customer know you know, then listen. Train your customer service staff to quickly develop rapport but not list out every bit of information that the customer feels uncomfortable.
Madden’s third step to developing customer loyalty is giving the customer a sense of control.
“In the future, smart retailers will be more transparent about their data-gathering efforts and use the results more appropriately,” Madden said of gaining the trust of clients.
As an executive managing director at Ziba, Madden understands the need for enterprises to give customers more options for controlling how much information is shared and how it’s applied. Customers still feel they own their data and need to feel like owners.
Avoiding two blind spots in using Big Data
Jeff Cotrupe, industry director of Big Data and analytics for global growth consulting company Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan said businesses suffer from two big blind sports in using Big Data to develop customer retention programs: social network analysis and cross-IT integration.
Companies often struggle with “looking at the social networks of both your individual customers and the community of users as a whole can provide greater insights into behaviors and preferences.” Companies also struggle with using existing IT infrastructure to retain customers.
Successfully analyzing social networks of customers and integrating current IT will provide deeper customer insights from the analysis of Big Data. Although there will be upfront costs in launching a digital campaign, it will save you money in the long run compared to traditional advertising and marketing methods.