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October 23, 2012

Improving Customer Experience with Analytics

By Matt Sarrel

This year’s survey finds an increased importance being placed on driving customer engagement with big data analytics. Find out what analytics leaders are doing to spearhead this effort within their organizations.

One of the most powerful aspects of a big data analytics program is its fluidity and how the analysis varies to meet business goals. Every year, IBM conducts a survey about this very topic. This year, “Analytics: The real-world use of big data” found that nearly half of the respondents identified customer-centric objectives as their organization’s top priority.

This desire to improve the customer experience is consistent with other surveys fielded by IBM within the past year such as From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the IBM Chief Marketing Officer Study” and “Leading Through Connections: Insights from the IBM Chief Executive Officer Study.”

Companies are starting to see big data as providing the ability to better understand and predict customer wants, needs, and behaviors, and by doing so, improve the customer experience. According to the survey, “transactions, multi-channel interactions, social media, syndicated data through sources like loyalty cards, are other customer-related information have increased the ability of organization to create a complete picture of customers’ preferences and demands – a goal of marketing, sales and customer service for decades.”

The insight that can be gleaned from this data helps organizations find new ways to engage with existing and potential customers. The leading fields where a customer centric approach is being applied include retail, telecommunications, healthcare, government, banking, and finance. It’s important to understand that the insights obtained from big data should flow both ways – customers should benefit from the collection of their data also.

For example, the Ford Focus Electric car produces vast amounts of data while being driven and when it is parked. While in motion, the driver is constantly updated with information about the vehicle’s acceleration, braking, battery charge and location. This is useful for the driver, but the data is also streamed back to Ford engineers who learn about customers’ driving habits including how, when and where they charge their cars. And while the vehicle is at rest, it continues to stream data about the car’s tire pressure and battery system to the nearest smart phone.

Drivers benefit from this “arrangement” as they receive useful up-to-the-second information while engineers at Ford aggregate the information in order to gain insights into driving behaviors and plan product improvements. They’ve even taken the project to the next step and utility companies are analyzing the driving data to decide where to locate new charging stations. The ecosystem of data collection and sharing has the potential to benefit all involved.

For more insight on how companies are using analytics to shape their futures, join IBM on November 7, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. ET for a webinar: Analytics: The real-world use of big data / How innovative enterprises extract value from uncertain data.

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