Every industry boasts of a plethora of brands battling for a higher market share! But how do these brands manage to keep their game up? How do they even determine their next objective and what their strategy should be in this game? All these answers lie in what their customers believe and feel about them. In other words, they need to monitor their customer’s sentiments closely to deliver a fabulous consumer experience.
Why is improving consumer experience necessary for businesses?
It’s no surprise why brands are paying increasing attention to customer experience day by day. The biggest struggle businesses face is delivering a memorable customer experience via their product/service and keep them coming back to the business again and again. As a result, customer experience is becoming one of the key differentiators for any brand.
“Customer experience is today’s business benchmark.” – Forbes
Brands realize that it’s never been more essential to put your customers first. This is now the new norm.
Another research by Deloitte and Touche discovered that customer-centric companies were 60% more profitable than companies that did not focus on customer experience.
Numerous such studies and real-life examples suggest that a positive customer experience is vital for your business’s success because satisfied customers convert to be loyal ones who help boost revenue. Improving customer experience is important due to the following reasons:
1. Boost sales conversions
A satisfying brand experience leads to a higher customer lifetime value (CLTV) and, thus, higher sales conversions. An HBR study found out that customers who had previous best experience spent 140% more than those who had a bad experience.
2.Increased customer loyalty
Maintaining existing customer loyalty benefits the brand more than gaining new customers. A good experience delights your customers and ensures that they will keep availing your services in the future.
3.Higher client retention
Delivering prompt service boosts customer satisfaction and encourages them to retain with your business. With an increase in customer experience, customer support issues reduce significantly. Happy customers choose to be associated with a brand for a lifetime.
Brands have become intelligent in how they place their consumers on a high pedestal and listen to their opinions. Your customer is a huge and valuable source of data that you should pay utmost attention to. It helps you monitor your customers’ sentiment, among other things. Let us see how brands monitor customer sentiment to enhance customer experience.
What data can your customer give you?
Your customer often knows what they need or want. They can help you understand their needs if you pay enough attention. Customers generate data about their demands and purchases and latent information about their preferences, decisions, and journey through brands, products, and industries.
A customer can be your source of big data spreading over various horizontals. You can use this data to monitor your sales data, design your marketing strategy, customize your product and service offerings or even get insights on your supply chain and operational processes. This data hence generated, gives you a 360-degree view of your customer. Some of the basic datasets that you can gather from your customers are as follows:
1. Sales and purchase data
Irrespective of the industry you operate in, if you have products or services to sell, your customers will make several purchase decisions. When monitored and recorded, these decisions will give you different trends for different demographics, geographies, periods, and even products.
You can use this data in its granular format i.e., at the transaction level or even aggregated/rolled-up format. You can aggregate this data at any level like store, customer, product, geography, or even for varying time frames. This data can be used to solve various problems like product portfolio optimization, sales forecasting, customer segmentation, among many others.
2. Customer sentiment data
Most online retail sites have a section for customers to type in their opinion and feedback on the product. They even record their experiences with the services in these sections. This is a direct source of your customers’ opinions and sentiments.
However, for many industries and domains, you need alternative datasets to gauge your customers’ mindset. For instance, many manufacturing companies use data from public sites and forums, including social media sites, to monitor consumer sentiments towards their products and even grievances and complaints to find areas of improvement.
A lot of service-based companies also rely on social media data. You can also monitor a customer’s journey through various service aggregators depending on the industry you belong to. For instance, if you are in the hotel and hospitality industry, you can gauge how a customer feels about your organization from his browsing and decision-making process on aggregators like MakeMyTrip or Goibibo. You can use this data to improve your products and service offerings.
3. Customer lifetime journey
You can obtain your customers’ demographic details, their loyalty, and affinity towards your brand from various sources. The most common source of this data would be your customer database coupled with sales trends data from the market/industry and, if possible, your customers. You can evaluate your market share using this data.
You can also use it to segment your customers based on their journey with you and their loyalty towards your brand. This can also help you identify the set of customers you want to target for your next campaign or product launch.
4. Customer technical footprint
A lot of brands across industries are monitoring their customers’ technical footprint. This gives them an idea about the demographics of the users, their choices, and even gives you an insight into their behavior. If you have an online presence and interact with your customers through an online portal, it would be important to monitor all these forums’ activity. You should be able to compare the performance of your website and your app if possible.
A lot of key trends like the usage across the day, metrics like click-through-rate, conversions, drop-out rates, etc., are very vital to your digital strategy. It can help you develop online content to intrigue your customer even further. It can also help you design strategies like when to roll your next campaign out, what offers to provide to your customers, or what products to cover under promotions. It can also help you design personalized recommendations for your customers based on their respective preferences.
While the above are just examples of the many data points you can obtain from your customer and the many things you can do with all of it, the actual possibilities are endless. If used creatively, you can use your customer data for your online strategies and your offline presence.
How do brands use this customer data to improve consumer experience?
Setting up the data system
The first step in the process of using customer data is to establish a data-driven system. Your organization should instill a data-driven behavior in all your operations. This will need a well-integrated information system and IT (information technology) infrastructure. You need to identify the different kinds of data elements you want to capture and their respective sources.
You then need to categorize the data elements and identify which horizontal in your organization needs which data point immediately. This will help you create the required compartments and integrations in your data systems as well. You should also ensure you are not exploiting your customers’ privacy or violating their safety while you do this. While you have access to all their data, it may be unethical to use this data for your strategies if you use this against them for your own benefit.
Once you have identified these data elements and sources, you need to set the required infrastructure up. For instance, you need to set up the proper gateways, servers, and information systems required to capture and store your customers’ digital footprint. You then need to integrate the various systems into a central system with the necessary authorization protocols. In this process, perhaps you will also realize that you should isolate some data streams instead of integrating them. This will be one of the most crucial steps. You should note that these data systems’ maintenance and security should be constantly updated and taken care of.
Use data as a service- not just an entity!
Data can help you optimize and improve your existing processes and invent radically innovative operations, as discussed above. You thus need to use data as a service. By this, we mean you can probably share your data elements with companies that create and provide analytical solutions. This will help you learn about your own performance and compare the market trends and competitor performance. It will help you gauge the customer sentiment better and design strategies to improve your customers’ average lifetime value.
You need to collaborate with partners and identify the data sources you can share with them. In exchange, you even might want to get access to some secondary data sources that you may need for your analysis. For instance, if you are in the retail business, you may want to collaborate with companies that scrape macro-economic data on fuel prices or even GDP. This will help you improve the supply chain processes or decide your budget for the next fiscal year.
Use data to drive action!
As discussed above, you can use customer data for a wide array of purposes. While you can use structured datasets (i.e., sales numbers or customers’ digital footprint) as is, you might need to preprocess and treat your secondary unstructured datasets (for instance, social media data) before you can analyze the same.
You can use your data to learn what your customer wants next. You can use these insights to design content or products accordingly if you are in the relevant industry. For instance, if you are in the publication, media, and content development industry, your customers’ profiles and opinions will tailor your content for maximum subscriptions or retention.
You can use your customers’ data for descriptive, inquisitive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics. You can design recommendation engines tailored for each customer individually. This will not only elevate the customer sentiment but also draw new customers in. This exercise will help you improve your customer engagement practices and place you at the top of your industry. Now, investing in data is not a bad option if it gives you that competitive edge, isn’t it?
While you develop your data-driven practices, it is also important to note the best practices, security protocols, ethical practices, and maintenance operations. Breach of the customers’ trust is an unforgivable mistake. It can cost you your brand value and your customer base.
We at Datahut can help you procure the necessary data.
Datahut has served many companies across industries to procure the necessary data to help them build strategies to transform their consumer experience. We can help you set up the required system to stream the required data and store it for further use. We follow a very transparent process and help you solve problems.
Wish to avail web scraping services for your data needs? Contact Datahut to know more.