Last week I was interviewed by The Economist on the role of IT in the connection between companies and customer expectations. While I believe it can give businesses the best flexibility to respond to ever-changing customer expectations, I also think a more holistic view on big data is needed to shape their experience and make it more personal.
Taking advantage of the data generated in our companies is a priority. High-quality data management enhances our knowledge and adds value to decision-making. It even allows us to anticipate future challenges. However, we’re only just peeling the first layer of the onion in terms of the data that we currently hold. The coming years will get challenging in data management given that, worldwide, big data market revenues for software and services are estimated to increase from $42bn in 2018 to $103bn in 2027. Data will be ever more relevant, shedding light on customers, their experience with a company and, if we look closely, we can adjust our company’s own processes, service and technology accordingly.
Reshape the organization around experience
According to Gartner’s ‘Customer Experience in Marketing’ Survey, 81% of companies will mostly or completely compete on the basis of Customer Experience in two years’ time. Yet only 22% say their Customer Experience efforts have exceeded customer expectations.
Whenever a consumer interacts with a company, he or she is providing us with valuable information about what (s)he thinks and feels in relation to the company. It’s our goal to capture these tendencies in order of preference and develop a specific experience for each individual consumer. Setting up a system with a single source of truth for all data can thus enable fine profiling.
It’s only through profiling and segmentation that we are able to design the ultimate customer experience. Big data presents a unique opportunity for the detection of segments. Based on the collected data, we reorganize our companies around customer segments and adapt technology to 1) appropriately capture data and 2) enhance what we know about our segments. Big data enables deeper and more granular customer segmentation than ever before.
AI tuned to the consumer
As the urge for personalization grows because of the desire for more control in the face of information overload, big data makes it possible to predict what a person is most interested in by combining the loads of data we collect on a person and the use of artificial intelligence.
Analytics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can discover hidden correlations or help companies create pinpoint service offers expressly tailored to the individual. This is, of course, a huge benefit to any company trying to sell online.
Big data and AI also play a big role in improving the products companies produce. Callaway Golf is collecting data on how their golf clubs are used and is coupling that with AI capabilities to design the product in a way that suits the player better. Another fine example is our partnership with Gustave Roussy. Through a holistic IT transformation, this comprehensive cancer center is able to decrease the time required to add value to clinical and academic data, provide access to these insights anytime, anywhere, through secure applications, and push the boundaries of scientific research by applying AI.
We live in a new era of human-machine partnerships. With the advent of new technologies such as AI, Machine Learning, Blockchain and the Internet of Things, this relationship has become much more complex.
We need to tailor this partnership to our company so that we can provide a more personal service. To achieve the maximum effect from AI’s potential, organizations need to understand that authenticity and transparency are key if companies want to maintain their customers’ trust.
It comes down to making the distinction: a number of interactions can perfectly be handled by machines but, for some interactions, only a real human representative can perform the necessary work. As great as technology can be, it doesn’t replace our basic need for human intimacy.
This partnership also gives companies the opportunity to reflect on what makes our customers choose our services and tailor our machines to personalize that choice.