Digitization has kept its word about changing the world; it has made it a smaller place. In fact, we live in a global village now, which was the change that helped the new take root. It led to the moment when the new digitally connected world began to change our perceptions about many things, including business.
No longer limited geographically, businesses entered new areas. Suddenly it was not only about vertical growth or increasing the customer base and revenue. There was also the capacity for horizontal growth or making acquirements in new fields and markets. With a vertical and horizontal perspective, people began to perceive growth in 2D.
The advent of the smart phone added another dimension by opening up a relative space where business can represent itself even without an on-the-ground presence. It doubles as a relationship space for people to connect and relate, a social dimension. Most brands use this space to learn more about their customers, so they can appeal to their needs or leverage demand. However, progressive companies use it to understand the role that their products and services play in people’s lives. This relational perspective or social dimension helps us perceive growth in 3D.
One thing is evident: businesses must innovate to meet the challenges posed by a well-informed customer base. When customers know better, they demand a better experience while doing business with you. We know this because digitization has generated extensive data about the customer experience and continues to do so. Probably why there is a new field of business centered around it, and it is no surprise it’s called big data or that marketers everywhere are discussing it.
Every business, regardless of size, is talking about data and there is no doubt that data is vital to creating viable strategies for business. However, data needs to be parsed before it can be shared as information or understood as intelligence. This in-depth analyses of data is what equips businesses with the information and intelligence to create better customer experiences. As a result, data analytics is being linked to every business vertical to maximize its advantage and this integration has created opportunities for innovation.
Metrics or data is a perennial and multi-directional flow of information inward. There are a host of touchpoints along a customer’s purchase journey indicative of what drives people to buy. These customer touchpoints are ranged before, during, and after the purchase journey. This makes for gargantuan volumes of data, and a level of variance that is only to be expected in this age when customers pride themselves on being unique.
There are three dimensions to data. The first two, volume and variance, are inevitable and not difficult to manage. All they need is for you to employ robust ways to collect and store data. The third dimension, velocity, refers to the speed at which data is effectively parsed from the time it comes in. This is an important dimension because higher velocity means better information and timely intelligence, both vital to creating viable strategies.
When it comes to information and intelligence, time is of the essence. This is where customer service can make a difference. Efficient throughput times do not depend on any one act or individual, but every single one. Like any habit we want to acquire, good customer service must be cultivated. Just remember that like all habits, your customer service culture reflects your attitude because it is the mindset that guides and decides the plans, products, teams, and processes your business adopts.
First get into the right head space. Are you driven by the need to discover what customers think, feel, and know about their needs, your product, and/or the market? If your answer is no, then customer service or business is not the best fit for you. Good customer service can only be built around a business that is focussed on knowing their customers. This is the very heart of customer service, because it is only when we need to know that we listen mindfully.
Next, find the right tools and people to parse the deluge of data that digitization provides. The right tools are not hard to find with the rampant advances and innovations in IT. Choosing the right meld of people, however, needs more vetting. You will need a handpicked combination of professionals from marketing, sales, support, and advertising to curate the relevant data, and people with a numerical bent of mind to grasp what the numbers are saying to add value to the data. It is this combination of people and technology that efficiently analyzes information so it can be actionable intelligence.
To survive and succeed in these changing times, robust businesses recalibrate to enrich the customer experience.