Four Resolutions Needed to Create a Better Customer Engagement Experience in 2009
1. Leverage Your Lost Information (Analyze Unstructured Data)
Companies in 2009 are facing a large obstacle –they don’t analyze or capitalize on 80 percent of their internal data, which isn’t even counting the social media data that most companies ignore. Think about that for a second. Using only 20 percent of resources in a business – think personnel, machinery, etc.—would be completely useless. Can you imagine telling the president of your company that you’re only successfully using two out of the ten employees in your division? So why, as a company, would you ignore data that can help your company make intelligent decisions?
What if this data told you that your entire customer base was displeased with your new product or service? Would you be able to then justify ad spending for your product to an already dissatisfied customer base? By analyzing this unstructured data, you will be able to tap into the hidden unknowns that could save your company considerable amounts of time, money and other resources.
2. Make Sure Your Customer Insight is Actionable
It seems like it should go without saying – make sure your customer insight is actionable. But it can be a common occurrence for companies to dig around and drum up data that is accurate but not actionable. Achieving actionable customer intelligence requires cutting out all of the background noise to get to the heart of what your customer wants and needs.
You can’t treat every comment and rant from every Tom, Harry and Sally the same. Consider this – every day, 20,000 new WordPress (blogging software) accounts are opened and BlogPulse estimates 70,000 blog accounts are opened globally per day. The reality is the Internet generates more information then a company can filter through by hand. The answer doesn’t lie in ignoring it all together but rather employing tools that can dig through to identify the signal from the noise. Creating actionable insight requires analyzing the majority of your data to find the discernible patterns and topics throughout all of your data – offline and online.
Creating actionable data is further hindered by the time involved with set-up with traditional analytics tools, ultimately taking away time from analysis and understanding. Furthermore, to truly create actionable data, you need clear insight on who is saying what. Actionable data requires knowing how the 18-to-35 year olds feel about your product versus how the 36-to-45-year olds feel. This requires the ability to analyze your data, comparing known variables to gain specific understandings about specific portions of the population.
3. Use Social Media for Marketing Research and Reduce the Time of Your Marketing Research Cycle
This is an area we’ve hammered on before – companies should no longer solely rely on traditional marketing research, which can take a year before finding the answers to a year-old question. Customers that complain on the internet pose a challenge to traditional market research methods. Take for instance companies like Get Satisfaction, which is built around serving as an unofficial customer service center. In addition to serving as a hub of customer dissent, it’s ripe with customer insight that can help companies nail down exactly what isn’t working or what needs to change with their latest product version. This is more preferable than waiting for the focus groups and phone surveys to take place where the results will often take months before trickling in. As the saying goes, “too little, too late.”
4. Increase the Metrics of Your Marketing Program
The next year will continue to see a heavy focus on social media as a marketing medium. With tightened budgets, the C-suite, more now than ever, is going to be focused on measurable results and ROI. This will involve more than just adding up page views, the number of links clicked and incoming links, which can be the standard means of measuring social media. Instead think of social media content analytics. This involves analyzing the comments being made or general buzz, whether on your site or the top blogs for your company. If you’re the Hyatt, this would mean analyzing the posts and comments on sites like Hotels.com, Trip Advisor, Expedia, Travelocity and Hotel Chatter. What is the general sentiment on those sites? What are the primary topics that occupy the attention of reviewers? How does it compare quarter after quarter? Delving into social media content analytics will help companies truly understand the kind of buzz they are generating online. Truly moving the needle to change customer sentiment requires knowing how the sentiment is changing.