Drowning in Data: How to Make It Relevant
Data is created and hosted online faster than any of us could ever keep up with. The enormous volume, coupled with the number of platforms customers can reach out through and cloud hosting, causes the data to spread out in many directions. If not collected properly, data could be lost or misused.
In order to keep up with consumer demands and exceed expectations, data should be used to create a personalized brand experience. Data can provide insight and make changes to any level of an organization. Data findings can affect consumer intelligence, market segmentation, communication with customers, and even product packaging. It can also be a competitive differentiator for Marketing. Knowing as much as possible about potential leads and consolidating that data in a clean, compact environment, will arm teams with the knowledge they need to stand out from the crowd.
One department in particular where data plays a crucial role is in Operations. Using the right data to alter such things as day-to-day procedures, schedules, etc. will impact the customer experience and directly impact revenue.
Identifying and Understanding Data Sources
The first step in understanding the use of Big Data is to identify the channels involved and ways data comes in through those channels. With all of the technological advancements and change in consumer preference in recent years, brands need an omnichannel approach in order to provide the highest level of service. They also need to ensure that all these channels seamlessly integrate with each other, and that analyzing data and reports is critically important to a successful omnichannel strategy.
For example, a customer shopping online for a mobile phone may ask an agent a question using live chat, before placing their order through the e-commerce site. They then may have a poor experience with the phone and make a comment about it on the brand’s Facebook page. The customer then may try to call in to inquire about how to return the device. All of this information needs to be tracked, so that every Customer Service Representative, no matter the channel, can be brought up to speed on the customer and the history the brand has with them.
An omnichannel approach is great, but requires dedication to complete data consolidation. Data from structured sources such as call surveys, e-mail transcripts, cases, escalations, etc. must all be collected and stored in an organized, connected system. In addition, unstructured data, which is much more difficult to collect and interpret, should also be captured.
Unstructured data includes all of the information left behind on Facebook pages, blogs, Twitter feeds, etc. Brands are embracing the transparency associated with social sites, but also need to realize this encourages customer participation. Harvest social data, ensure the data is tracked in a database, in a master account, and take advantage of advanced search/CRM tools to assist with the process. Comment sentiment will have to be determined before an action is decided. In addition, response guidelines should be provided to ensure healthy brand pages are maintained, spam or abusive content removed, and timely responses given.
Once the data source is known the next step is to take the time to understand it. Not all data will be important and useful; it will shift according to each brand and their associated needs. Determine what the most important metrics are to track by creating a solid profile that identifies gaps or possible areas for expansion.
At first glance, Big Data may be overwhelming, but with proper management and strategic action, can be both manageable and worthwhile.