Ever wonder how big a factor customer experience plays into happy clients and a positive brand reputation? This number should give you a pretty good idea: A Harris Interactive survey notes that 86 percent of consumers quit doing business with a company if they have a bad experience.
Unsurprisingly, technology’s influence looms large in this landscape. Customers expect not only unique, real-time interactions but also seamless multichannel experiences. Whether it’s phone, chat, instant messaging, social media, or video interaction, every interaction presents a moment of truth for the buying journey.
Technology has made customization the norm, leading many companies to utilize technology and the data it produces to improve client relations. An Econsultancy survey asked more than 300 marketing executives about the virtues of first-party data, and at least 67 percent say it bettered their customer understanding and performance. Similarly, Curata found that 83 percent of marketers curate content from a third party such as a blog, internet interactions, or an industry publication.
Sales contact centers can apply these findings to their own practices. Effectively using first- and third-party customer data can enhance a user’s brand experience and develop a purchasing process that meets or exceeds expectations.
You’ve Got Numbers. Now What?
All that empirical data won’t mean much if it gets misused. When it comes to customer experience, any available resource should be used to make a connection. These four ways of using data can improve contact center effectiveness, foster brand reputation, build revenue, attract new customers, and help keep existing ones:
1. Use it to show gratitude. First-party information is indispensable for companies that must differentiate between regular and first-time callers. Once that contact—be it from a phone or chat—comes in from a particular IP or source, sales center associates can home in, identify how new the customer is, and react appropriately.
Rather than funneling repeat callers into the new customer queue, an associate can engage them in a way that’s relevant and appreciative for their continued patronage. That way, the customer gets the desired personalized experience without having to be transferred.
2. Engage with customers and prospects. Use historical data when researching your customers’ interactions and channel preferences. A knowledge bank filled with past data better equips your contact center to serve future customers.
Knowing your customer also help you know your prospects. As traffic flows in, you can use their initial queries to guide visitors to a destination better suited to answer a specific question. My company handles calls for a wireless carrier, and when each new call comes in, we use customer journey information and third-party database to predict what information might be most relevant to that prospect.
We use that data, along with some relevant, existing first-party data history to help us have a more meaningful conversation with the customer. For example, we can find out if the incoming caller is from a competing carrier and use that information to give a more nuanced description of our services.
3. Drive more efficient sales. Understanding a customer’s perspective on a website is valuable, again, because it can spark a more meaningful dialogue with a client. Using website analytics to identify customers’ initial search patterns helps associates steer an interaction toward a more relevant and satisfying customer conversation.
A car manufacturer we work with used a customer’s vehicle history and lease information to determine a good time to proactively engage that customer about getting a new vehicle. The effort, and the data that supported it, paid off as it helped customers get into suitable new vehicles and netted the client an incremental $10 million profit.
4. Fill in the gaps. The uses for first-party data know no bounds, but it can only get you so far. Gathering additional information from third-party sources to fill in first-party holes yields more meaningful data and accurately forecasts what people are most likely to purchase.
For a B2B logistics client, we ingested more than 10 million pieces of data on existing customers. Then, third-party data was added to the existing customer information to analyze what particular times of year certain companies did most of their shipping.
The analysis showed us that some groups of customers shipped at very specific times of the year. We categorized these groups and engaged customers in targeted conversations, which led to a 540 percent spending increase among those customers.
One key method for improving effectiveness in a sales center is anticipating what your customers want. Layering first-party analytics with third-party data creates realistic, informed customer segments for lead qualification and the ability to have relevant conversations about what is important to them.
Sales center associates with informed customer data build trust and have more relevant, satisfying, and efficient conversations with customers. Inevitably, this will drive sales.
Jonathan Grayis the senior vice president of marketing and leader of business development and marketing services for Revana. His team oversees marketing analytics and integrated marketing services programs that automate electronic marketing strategies on behalf of industry-leading clients. Gray has been involved in developing new digital marketing and sales solutions, such as Revana Analytic Multichannel Platform (RAMP) and Revana AQ360SM, which won a Gold Stevie as the 2016 Best New Marketing Solution.