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How To: Big Data and Customer Service

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Remember those items you left in your online shopping cart and were eerily reminded via email? You have cookies to thank. Banner ads for those shoes you searched? Thanks, cookies!

With each swipe, post, like and share, we add another unique loop, whirl or arch to our digital fingerprint. The result is an infinite amount of data available for collection, analysis and use by advertisers and businesses to better understand consumers.

Regarding customer service, I have always been impressed with American Airlines acknowledgement of my name and upcoming trip itinerary as soon as my call is answered by the automated system. It’s based on phone number recognition as listed on my frequent flyer account and is exceptionally convenient when driving.

When fully utilized, big data can be immensely beneficial to a company’s customer service function. Here are a few potential ways:

  1. Analyzing Behaviors. Many users create profiles and include contact information, preferences and shopping history. With this information, companies can analyze their behaviors and begin to predict future actions, especially as they pertain to new product launches or creating direct marketing campaigns. Ultimately, they can use this information to make a personalized appeal to the consumer.

  2. Engagement Metrics. Using website traffic data, companies can evaluate which pages of their site are most popular and how much time people are spending on any given page. With that data, they can focus or re-focus their product offerings based on historical interest. Additionally, companies can predict what paths visitors may take and capitalize on untapped opportunities to be a step ahead. Understanding your customer is key in creating a plan to better serve them.

  3. Quality Assurance. When dealing with customer complaints or inquiries, big data can be the difference between being proactive and reactive to a customer grievance or issue with a product. Oftentimes, people express their frustrations and/or delights with products and services via social media, calling out companies and representatives in an effort to elevate the issue in the public space. If a company actively monitors their social media, they should have a plan to monitor and address a few things, including dissatisfied customers and what followers are saying and sharing. After all, this is customer feedback at no cost.

While big data is here to stay, the challenge lies with companies as to how they can best capitalize on the wealth of information the data provides. Ultimately, without a plan, companies and industries who can stand to benefit from big data may never realize its full power.

Do you think big data can help your industry? What about your role within your company? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

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