Easing Big Data Analysis Paralysis in Customer Service


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 “The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.” – Customers 2020 Report

Read the prediction above and you’ll know why big data is a huge concern right now for every mid-market to enterprise brand and organization. Personalization and predictive analytics are the future of customer service (as well as sales and marketing) – and the future is now.

Yet most brands and service organizations find themselves behind the times on several fronts, both technological and personnel related when it comes to big data. The big data boom has come to the forefront at a time when many organizations are still struggling to ensure their service-level applications have data-level integrations, much less that the data is connected and flows across channels and departments.

This challenge will need to be addressed quickly as data streams turn into data lakes that can either become a rich resource for well-informed sales, marketing and customer service teams or a landfill teeming with useless bits and pieces of information. 

“If service organizations take the same approach to big data that they initially took to social media – looking for that silver bullet – they’ll be even worse off than when they mishandled social efforts,” says Brent Leary, Partner at CRM Essentials. “They’re not going to have nearly the amount of time to get it right as they did with social.”

So what are brands to do in being able to meet the personalized and predictive service expectations of today’s customers, yet alone the greater expectations of the customers of 2020?

Easing Data Analysis Paralysis

The first step is coordinating with the customer on data collection, and luckily that’s getting a little easier because more and more customers are desiring a more personalized customer experience. In a recent Cisco Customer Experience Report which surveyed more than 1500 consumers across 10 countries, 49% said they would allow retailers to collect personal shopping data in exchange for a more personalized customer service experience, and 54% are comfortable with retailers storing their purchase history in exchange for increased personalized value.

The next step is collecting data the right way, so that you have a unified, 360-degree view of the customer. This is where the greatest challenge will lie. Collecting feedback or information from just one or two channels just isn’t going to cut it anymore, and if you don’t have social in the mix, where customers are most likely to share their honest views and ideas for improvement, you’re really missing out. In addition, if channels are still siloed, the redundancy of information will make life miserable for all involved.

There’s no way around it – collecting, managing and analyzing data for multiple uses  that is beneficial for both brand and customer will require greater investments in both technologies and people, and for that, you’ll need buy-in from executives and employees across the enterprise.

Overcoming the Overwhelming

So how does a brand or organization begin to overcome a challenge that seems so overwhelming? What’s causing the paralysis is the idea that big data is just so BIG. But just like with every new mountain customer service teams have had to scale during the past decade including social and mobile, you have to start somewhere, with a first step and then a solid path that leads and motivates the entire organization.

Organizations overwhelmed by big data need to remember that while its terminology may describe what they’re facing, it’s still just data, says Michael Fauscette, VP, IDC Software Systems Solutions Group. Find a starting point, pick a piece of little data that can be collected, managed and used to benefit both the brand and the customer. Show that first success, and then put one foot in front of the other from there.

Parature’s latest whitepaper, Customer Service: 6 Take-Note Trends for 2014, explores big data for customer service and provides expert advice for brands and organizations on what it’s going to take to get started and succeed in tackling this sometimes overwhelming trend. CRM analysts including Brian Vellmure and Brent Leary weigh in along with other noted experts.

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Republished with author's permission from original post.

Tricia Morris
Tricia Morris is a product marketing director at 8x8 with more than 20 years of experience at technology companies including Microsoft and MicroStrategy. Her focus is on customer experience, customer service, employee experience and digital transformation. Tricia has been recognized as an ICMI Top 50 Thought Leader, among the 20 Best Customer Experience Blogs You Must Follow, and among the 20 Customer Service Influencers You Must Follow.


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