But imagine if you could resolve the same issue online and the company could actually predict why you were contacting them. “Hello PV, I see there’s a problem with your cable set top box. Please choose one of these available times for a visit from a technician.” That’s a completely different experience. While that’s hard to imagine today, it’s perfectly doable with today’s technology.

Businesses already have a tremendous amount of data about their customers – what they’ve bought, previous customer service issues and how they like to communicate – yet most businesses leave that information untapped. They allow their customers to languish in phone trees, make them repeat information, don't connect channels, and fail to personalize interactions. They leave money on the table, and through neglect, they allow their customers to turn to competitors. What was acceptable a few years ago, is not acceptable anymore. Not in the Age of Intent.

Data analytics has proven to be an important way for businesses to glean insight into the patterns, preferences and behaviors of customers. But while many businesses use this data to inform product roadmaps, promotional campaigns, website design and more, very few are putting this data to use in a way that actually improves the customer experience. 

Consumers are Willing to Share Data – but They Need Something in Return

Netflix is a prime example of customer data being put to good use – every time a consumer watches a show or leaves a rating, they are essentially sharing their data. But the benefit is easy to see: better, more relevant recommendations. Amazon is another example of a company that uses data to create a better experience – when you go to make a purchase, you can see products that might appeal to you based on your history, or what others with similar interests have also purchased. But the benefits of data-sharing aren’t always quite so clear for consumers. In fact, in a recent survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers we found that a significant number of consumers expect promotions and discounts (43 percent) and expedited customer service (39 percent) in return for sharing personal data.

The challenge for businesses is to ensure they are making the best use of data by using it to not simply understand consumer behaviors, but to enhance the overall customer experience. The best way to approach creating a great customer experience is to start with the data you already have, and use it to understand consumer intent. For example, if a customer calls with an issue after unsuccessfully trying to self-serve for a resolution online, they should not be greeted by another self-service menu on the IVR, but rather, a live agent who can see and understand their previous actions. That agent should have easy access to that customer’s purchase history or the customer’s key identifying information – to ensure speedy and accurate resolution. The agent should never have to ask the customer to repeat information that the company already has.

Personalization Forges Trust and Loyalty

Today's technology allows companies to access to vast amounts of data about customers, but not all companies are putting this to use in a way that drives customer loyalty. With big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence becoming more commonplace, retailers can now drill down on consumer personas, engagement behaviors and preferences, all of which help ensure messages resonate with consumers.

Companies have the opportunity to be more proactive about the customer experience as well. Rather than analyzing data to simply understand how a consumer has behaved in the past, companies can now focus on prediction to better determine customer intent – in other words, what is this customer trying to accomplish? To be truly successful, this needs to happen in real-time, and across any channel. Some leading retail brands are already using data to accurately predict consumer behavior and to improve customer experience. The most successful companies will be those that tap into the power of AI and machine learning to enhance their customer acquisition and customer engagement efforts across all touchpoints.

Delivering a Personalized, Predictive and Effortless Customer Experience

If your customers buy into your value proposition, then you can predict what a customer is trying to do. Forward-thinking businesses are bringing together vast amounts of data, using data science, artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop predictive models. These businesses can understand, anticipate and act on consumer intent across all channels to create a personalized customer experience that drives improved satisfaction and increased revenues.

Here are a few simple tips for businesses that want to provide a better experience:

  • Use their phone number - If you ask a customer whether you can remember his/her phone number to enable a better experience, the vast majority of the time, they say yes. Companies can easily associate phone numbers with previous customer journeys to personalize an experience and better predict consumer intent in real-time. For example, when I call Avis about a car rental, they can say “Hi PV, it’s nice to have you back. Would you like to change your reservation or make a new one?” If I’ve returned the car and call them back within a couple of hours, the odds are that I left something in the car. They know that. When I tell the story, it’s fairly obvious, but that’s not how most companies think about service.

  • Stay one step ahead – If you look at free services like Facebook or LinkedIn or Google, you’ll see a lot of what I’m talking about is already built into the experience. Those companies are always one step ahead of the consumer. Over a period of time, the systems becomes smarter. These companies often say “hey –do you know this guy who went to school with you?”

  • Think about how to solve the customer’s issue in the fewest steps possible – If a customer starts a journey on the web, chances are they want to stay on the web, not pick up the phone. Keep customers in the channel they prefer. This not only reduces costs, but it reduces frustration as well. Furthermore, it allows businesses to mine all interactions to continuously improve the customer experience. This can be done across both structured and unstructured data. Transcripts can be analyzed, and predictions verified to create a feedback loop for training your machine learning models.

I hope that someday, in the not-to-distant future, I’ll be able to write about the fantastic experience that I’ve just had with my cable company.

Leave your comments

Post comment as a guest

0
terms and condition.
  • Luis Rosales

    Some great points made thanks

  • Darren Fitzgerald

    Never give your costumer a reason to check for the alternatives.

  • Mark R

    You're a real inspiration, your post is a gold mine for those who wanna improve customer satisfaction & retention regardless of the field of interest.

  • Mason Joseph

    These are priceless advices, hope that you will continue to have a wonderful experience with your cable company

  • Jay

    Wow thanks. I am frustrated with agents and supervisors whenever I am calling them to fix a technical issue, they don't even bother to use data to collect information and track the problem. We keep spending hours waiting for nothing, what a waste of time and energy! If only more companies had the same mindset as yours.

  • Asri Malik

    Trust and loyalty are very rare nowadays. Customers keep switching brands because they continue to have the same terrible experience.

  • Trucy Wright

    it's one of the unfortunate thing a lot of people don't understand. They get too caught up arguing trying to establish what's better or worse and ranking every different organisation in their head, as if everything has an absolute position when in reality "better" is a completely meaningless term by itself. There is only "better for" something or someone unless your have superior customer service.

  • Grey Chip

    Awesome post, very true about how companies work.

  • Carly Gomez

    Pretty much sums up my dealings with AT&T :(

Trending now

View all

DOWNLOAD OUR mobile APP

Be the first to discover our latest articles

7 months
11 206

In a previous article, we introduced Big Data, defined what is, its market presence, and its role in creating social good. Continuing along the same lines, we will talk about another field...

7 months
26 221

Andrew Ng, one of the most prominent Data Scientists in the world who has previously led teams at Google Brain and Baidu, is a Co-Founder of Coursera recently gave a talk at EmTech. As the TMS Lead in Singapore I wanted to distill his words of wisdom on...

8 months
18 291

With all the hype around “AI” and Machine Learning, I thought that I’d dabble in unpacking some of the key concepts. I find that most of my reading time now is spent in this area.

8 months
7 332

Bitcoin is the flavour of the year, polarising many investors, and even laymen, who do not know its real benefits. Despite fears and concerns, the cryptocurrency is considered a great asset to invest in. The blockchain technology is central to bitcoin’s...

6 months
20 303

When technologies are shaking hands with one another, why can’t organizations from various verticals, especially when the question of survival looms over their heads? In these exciting times of automation outburst many old players are feeling the generous...

6 months
12 144

To stay ahead in today’s marketing domain, one needs to be an expert in exploring and adopting marketing tools for business. For businesses that have a social media presence and are willing to flourish their business online, the best way is to utilize the...

6 months
16 192

With the blockchain technology gaining popularity and its applications finding widespread acceptance, the masses are gradually realizing the importance of blockchain in daily lives.

9 months
8 221

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has moved beyond merely capturing our imaginations - it is now replacing jobs, it is augmenting our skill sets, it is driving new discoveries on a daily basis - AI is already here, but why? How did this happen? A nexus of forces...

Science

7 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight

14 hours ago

If Telomeres Could Talk

2 days ago

The Drama of a C-section: It Takes a Team

3 days ago

Can Pharma ever be True Innovators in Digital Health?

4 days ago

Barriers to Digital Health Physician Entrepreneurship

4 days ago

Saving the Decaying Smiles of Poverty

6 days ago

Technology

5 Inspiring Workplace Cultures to Adopt

3 days ago

Harnessing the Power of the Internet of Things

5 days ago

The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

6 days ago

Tips for Getting 5 Star Reviews from Customers

6 days ago

Can Workplace Drones Help To Combat Japan's Overtime Culture?

7 days ago

How Does it Feel to Get a 5 Star Review?

10 days ago

Companies

How to Write a Successful Blog Post

2 days ago

4 Powerful Leadership Lessons From a CEO Who Helped Transform a Major Bank

3 days ago

The Impact of Digital Technologies on Marketing Strategies

3 days ago

The Day Elon Musk Took A Wrecking Ball To His Own Personal Brand

3 days ago

How to Increase your Website's Google Ranking

4 days ago

Who Will Win The Space Tourism Race: Bezos, Musk or Branson?

5 days ago

Society

Etiquette Courses for Asia’s Wealthy and Elites

3 days ago

8 Ways To Recruit Residents Using Smart Apartment Technology

4 days ago

Here's How You Can Be on the Favorite List of Your Customers

4 days ago

Learning Metacognition as Higher Order Thinking

5 days ago

E3: The Greatest Gaming Event in the World

7 days ago

Why You Need to Reinvent Yourself as a Leader

8 days ago

Latest Articles

View all
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Companies
  • Environment
  • Global Economy
  • Finance
  • Politics
  • Society