How Big Data Can Boost Your Customer Service Efforts

September 9, 2013
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ImageEach day, consumers are voluntarily posting vital information about their likes and dislikes on social media sites. If this data can be captured and adequately organized, businesses can have at their disposal the exact information they need to improve their internal customer service processes.

ImageEach day, consumers are voluntarily posting vital information about their likes and dislikes on social media sites. If this data can be captured and adequately organized, businesses can have at their disposal the exact information they need to improve their internal customer service processes.

Big Data has improved business access to this information, which means if your company isn’t using this data, you may be left behind. Chances are, your competitors are all-too-aware of the power of Big Data and to stay competitive, you’ll have to be aware of it, as well.

As you work to vamp up your customer service efforts, here are a few ways Big Data can help.

Predictive Analytics

In business today, it’s important to be proactive rather than reactive. If you can anticipate your customers’ needs, you can provide a level of customer service better than any they’ve experienced. Predictive analytics involve studying behavioral patterns of large numbers of people in order to gain insight into what those types of consumers need. This allows a business to avoid complaints.

Improve Customer Service Offerings

To be truly successful, a customer service department should fully understand customer service patterns for their specific company. What hours are customers most likely to contact customer service on your website? Are those customers most likely to call, instant message, or e-mail? By asking these questions, your customer service team can re-channel its efforts to better meet the needs of your unique customer base.

Justify Additional Resources

Whether you’re short-handed on staff or the CEO cut your budget for the year, Big Data can be harnessed to demonstrate the activity levels of your customer service department. This could make the difference between losing half your staff or being allowed to hire additional personnel.

Product/Service Adjustments

Customer service data can provide valuable insight into the habits of a business’s customer base. For instance, a company that sells clothing online might notice cardigan sweaters sell better in Michigan, while pullovers sell better in Minnesota. Noting these differences, a site can adjust inventory levels accordingly, which will eventually result in more sales.

Improve Customer Service Calls

Imagine calling a business and, within forty seconds, hearing the customer service representative say, “I see you bought diamond earrings last week. What did you think of them?” You’d be surprised a business of that size could possibly know that much about you. Big Data allows businesses to personalize service by providing information on individual customer histories. This technology helps companies build relationships with their customers that show loyalty and appreciation for their business.

Provide Targeted Coupons

Instead of dropping a stack of coupons for baby food in an elderly customer’s mailbox, imagine being able to gather data on that customer’s shopping history to send targeted offers. Your customers will appreciate receiving offers customized to them and you’ll reduce the risk of printing and mailing bundles of coupons that will go straight to someone’s recycle bin.

Drive Personnel Decisions

Big Data can help businesses learn more about their own staff. Is a certain employee slacking when it comes to taking service calls, leaving others to do all the work? Are customer complaints on a customer service worker’s rude behavior to be believed? Big Data can pull trends and facts that can serve as supporting documentation in any personnel decisions you make.

Meet Customer Expectations

The more businesses utilize this technology, the more customers are growing to expect it. In fact, consumers are already beginning to grow impatient with businesses that don’t meet their needs, whether they’ve directly expressed them or not. A customer may wonder why they aren’t allowed to pay a bill online instead of mailing in a check, for example. But instead of expressing this dissatisfaction, the customer searches the site for a way to pay, then abandons it in frustration. Big Data allows businesses to see those searches and come to the realization that customers are demanding a service that is not yet being offered.

Big Data has a role in every facet of an organization. By learning as much as possible about your customer base, you can better serve their needs while saving time on research. The key is filtering out the right data and organizing it in a way that fits your own business’s needs.

image: customer service/shutterstock