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How to stop annoying your customers

Customer relationships are like personal relationships – what you put in is what you get out. You both have a role to play, and in the case of a company, it’s important to make extra efforts to show you care about and value your customers.

But many companies stick to routines … create monotony … and continuously confuse and annoy their customers. By failing to plan and operate in sync, individual departments vie for a customer’s attention and reveal the company’s lack of understanding of that customer.

Suppose you’ve told a friend a huge amount of information about yourself – but they never remember any of it. This happens all the time with businesses and their customers – but it doesn’t have to. Follow these six steps from Retha Keyser.

Fortunately, customer analytics enable a new and better approach. At the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in San Francisco. Retha Keyser, Business Development Manager for the SAS Customer Intelligence Global Practice, talked about the steps you need to take to avoid irritating and annoying your customers. Follow these six key steps to become a learning organization:

  1. Collect as much of the right data as possible. “Start with the transactions and the channel systems, and collect as much information as you possibly can,” said Keyser. Make sure you are collecting the right information at the right level of detail. For example, you cannot predict the sale of ice cream very accurately if you don’t collect the daily temperature, and you can’t do meaningful analysis at the individual customer level if all you have from Web and mobile channels is summary-level reports.
  2. Create a 360-degree customer view that includes data from every relevant source possible – from back-office systems to online and offline customer contact channels for every business unit, product or brand.“You need to include that channel behavior, because that is a very important source of behavioral data that gives you great levels of accuracy that you wouldn’t have with just pure demographic data,” said Keyser. Good data management tools and common metadata make it possible to incorporate data from disparate and incompatible source systems.
  3. Build customer intelligence on top of the data warehouse, said Keyser. “Without analytics, it is impossible to build rules with the necessary level of specificity, such as ‘This campaign should go out to people who have brown eyes or blue eyes and came to the website from Google and then did this and then did not do this and so on.’”
  4. Automate inbound and outbound communications. “When we move to real time, and the customer has opted out, your only chance is to catch them while they’re coming to you,” said Keyser. “You need to know the right offer to make while they talking to your call center agents, while they’re walking into your store, or while they are navigating your website.” That responsiveness requires automation with real-time decision management.
  5. Add scope and analytic sophistication as you go. Continuously keep on building, because as we’ve seen over the past five or 10 years, new channels are constantly emerging,” said Keyser.Add predictive analytics to segment customers on a much more dynamic basis, to automatically detect what drives different groups of behaviors and outcomes. Use text mining to understand unstructured data. Add constraint-based optimization to make the best choices within known limits set by contact policies and internal resources.
  6. Make analytic insights available at customer touch points across marketing, sales and service. “We’re seeing disconnects happening where the service side is not aware of what’s happening on the sales side, and vice versa,” said Keyser. “You have to optimize all those interactions, inbound and outbound, with all your brands, products and across all the different channels. This is not simple to do, but the technology is there to enable it.”

For more, read the full white paper, How to stop annoying your customers

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