Customer Analytics

Introducing Customer Analytics Solution Patterns to Drive Five Common Business Goals

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As online traffic and sales continue to increase, accelerated by the explosion of mobile devices, omni-channel interactions have become the norm. As always, businesses want to acquire the right customers, deliver outstanding customer experiences, understand their customers’ journeys, serve and delight customers and minimize fraud. To do this effectively in 2015 requires a keen understanding of customers across time, channels and interaction points.

In today’s rapidly changing technological environment, understanding your customers is increasingly difficult. 91% of companies do not know why people leave their sites without converting and 58% of companies do not know which usability issues affect conversion. In fact only 26% of companies have a well-developed strategy for improving online customer experiences. Organizational and data silos make it difficult to gain a holistic view of the customer, which is critical to engaging customers, and maximizing revenue.

A holistic understanding of your customers can help you achieve these common business objectives:

Acquire the right customers

Businesses need the ability to more effectively acquire new customers with insight into which marketing tactics are most effective at drawing in new customers, and in particular new high value customers. The rapid increase in marketing channels and touch points has added a new challenge to customer acquisition. Marketers are constantly juggling with the complexities of digital world while ensuring consistency in marketing messages across all channels and devices. Marketers are left with many unanswered analytics questions due to departmental silos. Where are my high value customers coming from? What marketing programs are most effective in acquiring customers? What type of content works best to attract customers?

IBM's Ken Bisconti, VP of IBM's Customer Analytics, introduces and explains customer analytics solution patterns that can help drive your business goals. 

An effective customer analytics solution should include powerful marketing attribution and measurement capabilities that enables you to make the best use of your marketing spend. It should allow you to gain insight into which marketing campaigns and tactics are drawing in new customers, especially high value customers, which are progressing customers through the funnel, and which are promoting conversion. It should also allow you to segment prospects and drill down to get exact details about visitor behavior to improve customer targeting and increase campaign return on investment. With insight into all these dimensions, you can ensure that your marketing spend is delivering against all your business goals.

Deliver a superior experience in digital and mobile channels

A superior customer experience is a key way of differentiating from the competition. With visibility into each and every customer’s digital and mobile experiences you can gain the insight you need to enrich engagement, reduce struggle and prevent churn, deliver a greater experience and keep customers coming back for more.

Today’s online and mobile applications are more intricate and complex than ever before. They are constantly evolving with complicated user interfaces and application logic required to generate IBM's Ken Bisconti, VP of IBM's Customer Analytics, introduces and explains customer analytics solution patterns that can help drive your business goals.dynamic personalized experiences. As such, it’s common for many customer issues to go undetected or unknown for a surprisingly long time. Yet online and mobile customers expect your site to work flawlessly. And any technical error will erode their faith in both your online and offline channels. When problems surface, how do you know if it is affecting one customer or a million of them? Which issues have the greatest cost? And which issues are impacting my most important customers? To be successful, your ecommerce site must be able to size and scope customer issues to determine their ultimate business impact.

Each day businesses face tremendous pressure to increase revenue and reduce costs. It’s no longer profitable for your company to focus solely on customer attraction. You must take it a step further and seek ways to improve conversion rates including how to gain clear visibility into why customers abandon key business processes, such as checkout, site registration, bill pay, and mortgage applications. And, you need to understand the true cause of abandonment. Was it application or system issues, poor site usability, or just a mediocre offer?

Improving site usability is essential to optimizing the online customer experience. But it’s hard for ecommerce teams to know the right balance between true usability advancements and over-the-top bells and whistles. You need tools that will enable you to map your hypotheses and qualitative customer feedback to a clear quantitative understanding of the business impact of potential enhancements.

Being alerted to struggle events and being able to see what customers experienced through their eyes by replaying their complete sessions, gives you insight into what the customer experienced and gives you details you need to quickly fix problems that are sources of struggle. This will reduce abandonment, increase conversion, and improve the usability of your web site, mobile site and mobile app. You will also be equipped to maximize engagement and sales by offering products and content specifically tailored to what you know about each customer in terms of demographics, past buying behavior and current context.

Learn more about deliver a superior customer experience in digital and mobile channels.

Optimize the customer journey

Customer’s engage with you over time, through multiple interactions and across channels and devices. And increasingly, they may interact with you through multiple channels and touch points for a single transaction. By moving beyond single-session metrics to pinpoint key interactions and influences that prompt progression through conversion cycles, you can gain the insights needed to engage and delight each customer with personalized communications at the right time over the right channel.

Journey analytics can help shorten digital sales cycles for buyers and bring cart abandoners back to buying process by understanding customer progression IBM's Ken Bisconti, VP of IBM's Customer Analytics, introduces and explains customer analytics solution patterns that can help drive your business goals.through conversion cycles and targeting abandoned customers with relevant messages. It can give you insight on customer pathways across multiple channels by analyzing multiple sessions across multiple devices, and understand the impact of marketing campaigns on single and repeat buying cycles. No matter which channels customers prefer for touch points on the journey, journey analytics help you understand customer behavior across time and devices, giving you the insights you need to build increasing loyalty by optimizing engagement and offers.

Serve and delight customers

Across every industry and geography, online self-service allows organizations to provide more convenient service to customers and employees while lowering the cost of each interaction. However, there is often one big hurdle to overcome — adoption. To accelerate its adoption, self-service must be part of a multi-channel strategy that brings together the entire organization. With the right tools and visibility, together, you will be able to analyze customer motivations and movements for every site visit and quickly address customer issues, while moving towards the full potential of self-service.

IBM's Ken Bisconti, VP of IBM's Customer Analytics, introduces and explains customer analytics solution patterns that can help drive your business goals.It is inevitable that customers will encounter problems and will want to speak with a contact center agent to address that challenge. You can equip your contact center with visibility into actual customer interactions and session behavior across their digital channels with the right tools. Such tools can help agents determine why something happened, and can even enable them to go back to previous interactions for a complete picture. By empowering agents with this valuable information, not only are you sure to delight customers, but you’ll also improve agent efficiency by reducing average handle time and improve first call resolution.

And you can be alerted of customer struggle in real-time for high value or at risk customers, enabling you to proactively engage these customers through outbound direct call, web chat or mobile messaging. This type of proactive service drives business growth as well as cost savings by delivering engaging and personalized digital services and information. Contact centers also benefit in the form of reduced call volume from the fact that businesses are enabled to eliminate problems and reduce customer struggle in web and mobile channels.

Learn more about serving and delighting your customers.

Reduce customer fraud and disputes

As more people do business through your digital channels, it’s critical to deploy solutions and processes for documenting key transactions with your web and mobile sites. No longer is it adequate to rely on inaccessible or poorly documented “proof” when customer issues grow into formal disputes. You need to provide the entire picture — a complete and permanent record of important customer interactions and transactions on your digital channels — even if they took place months or years ago. The same ideas that help you improve customer experience can be used to effectively resolve customer disputes, efficiently investigate fraud, and streamline audit and compliance efforts.

You need a customer analytics solution that gives you insight to resolve customer disputes quickly and easily by having a permanent, archived, and instantly replayable record of all critical online transactions, retain a complete record of every single interaction made by an online customer for ongoing audit and record-keeping purposes, and provide comprehensive, long-term data for ongoing analysis of potential fraud and online security violations.

Fraudsters are riding the ecommerce boom with increasing levels of sophistication, and you need IBM's Ken Bisconti, VP of IBM's Customer Analytics, introduces and explains customer analytics solution patterns that can help drive your business goals.greater visibility to detect and prevent malicious activity on your web site. Capturing and preserving digital customer interactions enables detection of fraudulent activity either in real time or after the fact. Once detected, suspected fraudsters can be automatically blocked from site access, and goods can be prevented from leaving the warehouse until further investigation. Forensic investigations can explore the whole stream of data traffic, look for unusual behavior or patterns in account numbers, IP addresses and e-mail addresses, credit cards numbers and items purchased. Ideally, security researchers will be able to replay fraudulent site visits through the eyes of the “enemy.”

Once a breach is discovered, it’s vital for you to quickly understand and be able to report on the potential full impact and notify truly affected parties to minimize the impact on your reputation and expense for remediation.

Learn more about reducing fraud and customer disputes.

Conclusion

As our economy becomes increasingly digital, it is critical to understand customers holistically across channels, devices and interactions paths. Major business objectives like acquiring customers, delivering superior experiences and providing delightful service have not changed but the tools and methods used to achieve them continue to evolve. Simple to sophisticated approaches can be exercised as companies mature in their ability to use customer analytics solutions for holistic customer understanding. Those who invest in knowing their customers and acting on these insights in the best interests of their customers will reap the benefits of superior client acquisition and loyalty.

In the next six months, we will share a series of articles diving into each area and showcasing how Business Partners and clients are achieving these major business goals, which allows them to address their most pressing customer engagement needs while adapting to continually changing market dynamics.

Vice President, IBM Customer Analytics

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