One of the main focuses of innovations and digital transformation plans in corporations is Customer Intelligence. Companies need to understand their customer segments, behaviors, and journeys to be able to cope with the increased expectations of nowadays consumers in regards to service and experience.
Customer Intelligence is the result of transforming Customer Data into Customer Insights on a regular and structured basis. As many more businesses are putting the customer at the center, nowadays, Customer Intelligence is not an exclusive reign for Marketing and Customer Experience departments. Now, companies need to have the proper data to respond to customer needs at the right time, at any touch-point. So, data needs to be transformed into insights timely and spread inside the company to provide all teams with the information required to serve the customer properly at any interaction.
One of the relevant outcomes from Customer Intelligence is that it helps us to understand not just who, what, when, and where, but also WHY. In other words, what drives our customers, what motivates them to purchase. To that end, we need to analyze customer data throughout the entire customer journey.
Customer Data, Customer Insight, and Customer Intelligence
There are three levels of customer “knowledge” inside a company, and all of them are connected.
The data we collect about our customers is the raw material we need for creating insights and intelligence. It can be demographical data, purchase data, behavioral data, or even a response to a survey.
One of the challenges to cope with all the customer data and enjoy a holistic view of our customers lies in the fact that now, customer data is spread around almost every system in a company. That results in incomplete, inaccurate, and non-integrated customer data that directly affects the reliability of the ensuing insights. To address this challenge, many companies are now expanding their data horizons and exploring new data sources such as streaming data in network transactions or distributed location data, to leverage dark data and uncover hidden customer insights.
So, customer data is the first stage of the customer intelligence journey, but on its own, it is useless. We need to bring context so these data can inform us about how our customers are behaving or what are their aspirations, for instance. We need the background to give meaning to our customer data.
Once we place customer data into context, we start generating Customer Intelligence. To do so, we integrate data from different sources and apply analytics. The goal is to leverage customer data to tell decision-makers who, what, when, where, how, and WHY.
So, Customer Intelligence is the holistic understanding of customers that results from gathering, contextualizing, and analyzing data. And the outcome is a meaningful understanding of customers and customer behavior.
The continuous evolution of analytics and BI helps to sophisticate the transformation process from customer data into customer intelligence and to bring more in-depth knowledge about the customer. Apart from the fact that companies now need to have the customer data transformed into intelligence almost in real-time.
Customer Intelligence Platforms are now present in the vast majority of big corporations, gathering data from different Customer Data sources, and analyzing it. Thanks to these systems, companies are boosting customer engagement, customer communication, customer relations, loyalty, etc.
As customer intelligence is a broad concept, the piece that we need to make an informed decision is Customer Insight. Insight is the result of gathering and analyzing customer data and synthesizing the resulting customer intelligence. The insight is what lately guides decisions.
So, in the end, customer insights are the enablers of customer-centric businesses. Customer Insight needs to be actionable and accurate so that we can drive action from it.
What are the benefits of good Customer Intelligence?
Having rich and integrated Customer Data, including data from unexplored sources, and analyzing it with the proper systems and technologies will provide us with a top-notch Customer Intelligence that, in the end, will lead us as a company to several improvements:
- We will be able to offer a personalized experience and offer, boosting customer satisfaction and, in consequence, increasing our Net Promoter Score.
- The increased level of customer satisfaction helps to increase retention and reduce churn.
- Good Customer Intelligence is critical for optimizing Marketing strategies, as a good understanding of our customer segments and behavior will help marketers to carry out more successful campaigns.
In summary, Customer Intelligence is a strong competitive advantage for companies. With markets operating in constant and rapid change and evolution, Customer Intelligence is vital to enable efficient marketing decisions and design growth strategies.
Understanding these three stages and putting the focus on the challenges that we can find at each step is vital for a successful customer-oriented strategy. If we fail in the first stage, so if we don’t have useful, complete and accurate Customer Data, our Customer Intelligence will be short, and the Customer Insight that we will have to make informed decisions will be weak and non-reliable.