The Need to Know Your Customer

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The field of customer experience monitoring is a booming business, just google the term and you will be overloaded with suppliers, vendors and definitions. Terms such as a 360-degree customer view, conversion attribution and omnichannel occur from every corner. While a broad field in its entirety, customer experience monitoring can be cut down into smaller parts, and it pays off to look at it in this way.

In essence, customer experience monitoring is all about keeping track of every touchpoint that you as a business have with your customers. This happens on a personal level, meaning you keep track of every individual customer separately, while still being able to learn from groups or segments of them.

While the fields co-exist, big data science and customer experience monitoring go side-by-side like a prosperous marriage. One of the biggest promises of big data science is that of personalization – being able to provide tailored service or products on a personal level. We could just do this by generic domain knowledge or by learning some superficial characteristics about majorities of our customers, but the true value of personalization lies within knowing our customer on a personal level, by means of customer experience monitoring.

The Pillars of Customer Experience Monitoring

While terms like omnichannel and 360-degree customer view sound sexy and appealing, they are as vague as the term customer experience monitoring itself. We could just start monitoring all our channels and hope for the best of it, in a big-bang sort of approach, but we can also cut the field into manageable chunks and explore those one by one. The latter is often a far more viable approach and tends to yield a return on investment vastly quicker. It is hence the preferred approach by many.

Knowing that an iterative approach is favored over a big-bang approach, it is key to define the pillars that together comprise customer experience monitoring. While this can be as granular as we like it to be, I am going to stick to four major fields of interest that together provide an elaborate fundament for customer experience monitoring as a whole.

1.      Web Analytics

The field of web analytics a mature one, where vendors such as Google, Adobe and IBM have dominated for years. Within web analytics, we keep track of one of the most important touchpoints of communicating with our customer: the website. We track page impressions, specific actions performed by the visitor, conversion and much more. This can be done on known webpage visitors (our customers, logged in) or on unknown webpage visitors (via cookies or social logins).

While the term may get us to think that web analytics is only about a public website, it is in fact more than that. Advertising for example, is a mechanism often used to attract new visitors to our webpage. Tagging advertising campaigns allows us to keep track of their efficiency and based on that, we can optimize ad spend. Similarly, e-mail marketing is another mechanism used to attract more people to our website and is tracked exactly like with advertising as it is just a specific way of advertising. Note that this holds for social campaigning too.

2.      Text Analytics

As I have written before, text analytics is a crucial and highly important pillar for customer experience monitoring as humans communicate via natural language, via text. Analyzing an unstructured data-type such as text is more difficult than just analyzing numbers, such as we do with web analytics, yet we can learn far more from it due to the rich information human language holds.

Analyzing content of e-mails, transcribed call center calls and social content reveals a lot about our customer and his wishes or annoyances. Sadly though, text analytics is a field that is far underlit in customer experience monitoring due to its difficulty. This is especially true for non-English companies or multinationals since text analytics becomes even harder for non-English nationalities. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a stopper, since we can do just about as much in those other languages too.

3.      Mobile Analytics

While effectively it could be regarded as just another channel regarded within web analytics, smartphones are such a commodity nowadays that a field is arising on its own. Mobile analytics is maturing and the reactive nature of apps demands us to capture behavior and interaction with our customer in a different way than we would in traditional web analytics.

4.      Backend Analytics

The last pillar might just be the most important one of all; backend analytics. Not so much due its nature, but mainly because it often turns out to trigger many company-cultural or -political debates that seem everlasting.

While the other three pillars focus on more recent developments and are more easily seen as part of big data science due to the novelty required in analyzing them, backend analytics is probably the biggest pillar of all four.

Every company keeps track of customers in one way or another, usually having CRM systems as the main point of interest. CRM systems enriched with product information, financial data and business rules give a clear insight into who our customer is, as he is known to us.

Combining Pillars – Building a Roof

The crucial part of customer experience monitoring is to combine all pillars in a customer-centric way. On an individual level, we must tie together our backend information of the customer with behavior found on our website, together with all textual or spoken communication we have had so far enriched with mobile interaction, if applicable.

How often does it still occur that when you call a company with a question or complaint, you are put on hold for a while and then end up explaining your situation in threefold because no one seems to keep track of earlier interactions.

Imagine calling customer care and before even explaining your situation, they already know your previous complaints in brief, they have seen what you were looking for on their website and know you are impatient because no one answered your question on Twitter yet. You wouldn’t even have to explain your situation anymore, because it’s already known.

Now go one step further and imagine the same situation, but now you don’t even have to call. You are pro-actively approached on the channel of your choice – be it social, mobile or e-mail – with a kind suggestion to help you in your situation or best ways on proceeding if there is no fit.

This is the roof we can build on the pillars of customer experience monitoring, if done right. At UnderstandLing, we focus these four pillars and, most importantly, how to bring them together. Our easy-to-use web analytics solutions required just a single line of code to be added, nothing more. The mobile SDK is just as easy to use. Our advanced text analytics solutions bring the answer to any text analytics questions, in any given language. Finally, our vast experience and solutions with traditional analytics will make any opportunity with your current backend systems possible.

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