For firms looking to maintain their competitive edge in the modern, ultra-competitive business world - in which customer loyalty is rare, and sometimes even actively discouraged by governments - a firm’s ability to measure their customer’s experience as a buyer of the product or service they provide is vital.
While Big Data is a tremendous tool in this fight, it must be used correctly. It is all very well having access to a wealth of information about your clients, but if you don’t have the tools to deal with it, to interpret it and convert it into an actionable resource at the level it has the potential to be used at, then you’re missing a massive opportunity.
Customer analytics is being touted as the answer, helping firms mine and adjust customer information to suit their purposes. But it is not without problems. The insights garnered often simply reinforce existing ideas, or they are potentially entirely wrong.
When used correctly, however, you are afforded the knowledge of your win/loss rates, can track your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and gauge your sales team's performance and make sales predictions. All vital elements to turning a profit that come through a thorough knowledge of customer experience.
The key to measuring customer experience is finding the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) analytics that can be best applied to your company. This will vary from industry to industry, with KPIs clearly different between, say, clothing brands and pet shops. When deciding what CRM tools to use, you should ask yourself if they are the ones most likely to help your business, and constantly evaluate whether they are still the best to use.
There are, however, a number of CRM analytics that are clearly beneficial for any organization. Direct customer feedback has always been the best means of gauging what a customer thinks about your company, and social media and other such channels - forums and communities, for example - have opened up indirect customer feedback to firms so they can gather a wider range, and an often more truthful range, than before, less prone to the narrow fields and occasionally dubious motivations of survey responses, for example.
Understanding who your customer is and how they interact with your product is another necessary insight in evaluating the kind of experience you are providing. CRM analytics that generate demographic and behavioral insights so that you can segment consumers and see who is looking at offers and deals, when they are looking, and how this manifests into referrals and social 'shares', is central to full optimization of data. This can then be judged in terms of conversion rate into purchases and repeat business, allowing for easier targeting, rather than wasting time and money on superfluous marketing materials that bare no fruit.
After a purchase has been made, it is also important to monitor how well the complaints process works, which CRM analytics can also give you a more thorough picture of should something go wrong. CRM analytics can see how many people attempted to have their issue addressed on the website, and how many then attempt to ring the call centre to judge how effective your web based troubleshooting is. They can also show how many calls it takes to get a problem resolved and how long complainants are on hold. Ensuring a smooth ride is vital for getting people to come back once a complaint has been made, or to mitigate the risk of them sharing their bad experience on social media.