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GUEST COMMENT Are you making the most out of your customer data?

Digital channels are handling an ever-growing number of customers, with each digital interaction holding a vast amount of customer intelligence for organisations to exploit.

When customers interact with a digital channel, they leave a valuable digital trail behind them. This grants organisations the ability to trace respective customer journeys and a particular customer’s experience every step of the way. Interactions such as browsing, clicking and sharing all leave a digital footprint. With customer consent, companies can cultivate the data left within the digital footprint, using each imprint to maximise their platform’s relevancy. By tailoring their offering to suit the individual, companies can drive completive value as the most compatible and appealing service.

The footprint left by a consumer is invaluable, but companies need to be mindful in not only how they use that data, but how they communicate their intentions to use it to individuals who have visited their platform. The sensitivity of personal data cannot be treated lightly. Providing comprehensive cookie notices to educate users on how they plan to use their personal data, on an opt-in basis, is a necessity.

Companies need to ensure that they are equally focused on extracting data for customer experience customisation as well as upholding transparent data guidelines. By doing so, they can satisfy customer demand as well as ensuring they are respecting their customers’ data privacy.

The Five Obstacles Holding You Back

With all that said, despite the investments made in digital analytics to date, there’s still a vast opportunity being missed that could be unlocked by a more advanced analytics approach. The barriers to unlocking the true value of digital data can be summarised in five recurring challenges:

Tagging Data

Capturing data is still mainly achieved by digital analytics tools using a method known as ‘tagging’. The development of tags requires time and money, but they also need to be optimised via continual updates, responding to new interest areas or website changes. This produces a time-consuming trickle-down effect: tag development doesn’t keep up with new campaigns resulting in lost data and missed opportunities.

Failing to work on an individual level

Most digital analytics investments focus on traffic-based reports, exploring visits, page views, clicks and campaign triggers and struggle when it comes to capturing granular individual customer level data. , This prevents organisations from getting a deeper understanding of customers and joining up digital data up with offline data from CRM or single customer view systems, where the focus is on individual customer data.

A Misdirected Focus

Whilst capturing what pages customers view and what content they click on is important, ‘experiential’ data, as in what a customer sees on their journey, is often overlooked. Experiential data provides huge value in terms of understanding customer behaviour, causation and purchase decisions, yet is difficult to capture with a traditional tagging approach. Failing to capture the prices, sizes, delivery and returns options and availability of products that were presented at the time of the customer visit, provides an incomplete picture of cause and effect and risks inaccurate decision making.

Keeping it Together

The various digital channels, technologies and techniques measuring customer experience have drastically increased. By using lots of different digital analytics and optimisation tools, it’s difficult to get to a single version of the truth and a joined-up view of the customer experience and where the opportunity lies to improve it.

Missing their Chance

Organisations are too slow to action digital data in real time, therefore failing to impact the customer experience at the right time. If insights are not surfaced from digital data until after the customer has completed their journey, the opportunity to impact the customer experience in the moment has been missed.

The leading organisations using digital intelligence are opting for a real-time view of individual customer-level behavioural and experiential data across digital channels. This can then be easily joined up to offline data and actioned in real-time to gain a much deeper insight into the customer journey, and directly impact engagement, conversions and repeat purchases.

The Importance of Asking ‘Who’ and ‘Why’

Traditional digital analytics asks “what” and “how”. Those with deeper insight can supersede that level of analysis, instead of answering the more valuable “who” and “why” questions. Companies can then work out who are the most and least valuable customers and work out their digital behaviours, allowing them to further streamline their efforts in meeting individual customers’ needs and wants.

By following the customer data thread every step of the way, companies build a comprehensive image of everything a consumer did or didn’t do, could or couldn’t see and so forth. A comprehensive customer understanding provides the structure required to build perfect customer experience, enabling companies to take leaps forward against rival competitors.

Find out more about how SAS is enabling organisations to move beyond traditional digital analytics to power great customer experiences.

Author: Tiffany Carpenter, head of  customer intelligence, SAS UK & Ireland

Image credit: Fotolia

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