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Customers Are Talking. Are You Listening?

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Customers Are Talking. Are You Listening?
Customers Are Talking. Are You Listening?

It may be a common theme, but it's one marketers must contend with: Consumers expect personalized customer experiences across channels, yet organizations operate with functional silos, so aren't aligned with customer expectations, Elan Moriah noted during his keynote at Verint Driving Innovation conference this morning. “If customers don't get that consistent experience across channels they will take their business somewhere else,” said Moriah, president of enterprise intelligence solutions at Verint.

So, how can you increase customer satisfaction by meeting those expectations, as well as build incremental revenue while containing costs? Big Data, Moriah said. “The lines are blurring between marketing and service because of Big Data. Customer service in the past was viewed as a cost center and a silo, but today because of Big Data, the view is changing.” The contact center is a key source of customer data; information that can help to improve marketing and sales efforts. That's a big opportunity, and a motivator to break down silos across the enterprise, he said. 

“Customers don't think in channels,” Verint SVP of global marketing Ryan Hollenbeck said when we talked trends during a break between sessions. “It's one customer, one company. That's where we're going.” Yes, companies need to optimize individual channels, Hollenbeck said; but businesses also need to optimize customer experience across channels. For most companies today this is more of a vision than a reality, he noted.

Hollenbeck echoed Moriah's sentiment that contact center data is a potential treasure trove for marketers. This includes what Verint calls Dark Data, or valuable data housed in one area of the company (often the contact center), but mostly undiscovered by other areas. “Dark Data is hidden gems of data in the organization like voice calls, email, and SMS messages that are often overlooked,” said Daniel Ziv, VP, voice of the customer analytics.  For example, contact center call recording data contains customers' opinions, concerns, recommendations, and more that marketers can use to uncover trends, customer preferences, customer views on competitors, churn drivers, and the like—and then take actions like improving products, pricing, or promotions. The opportunity is to use speech and text analytics to mine and understand that data.

But there's more…

Voice of the customer data from across channels can help marketers and customer service leaders learn what they didn't know they needed to ask, Oren Stern, VP, voice of the customer analytics at Verint, said when we spoke.  Additionally, he said, “it's not just hypotheticals; you can quantify the size of issues and use that information to rationalize investments.”

A huge challenge to marketers and customer service leaders alike is acting on the data they have. “If you don't act, you won't gain ROI from that data,” Ziv said, during a presentation. “You need to mine and share data across the enterprise.” Even if there are data silos, he said, there are processes and technology available to share pertinent, actionable information. What's more, when you connect complaints and issues from across channels you can see and confirm trends, he said. It creates a unified view of concerns and opportunities.

Once you learn what customers expect or what issues or opportunities are present, how can you affect change in your organization?  Stern recommended tracking discoveries and actions through to completion and then closing the loop by sharing with customers the steps that were taken based on their input.

In terms of marketing, companies can use all this data and analysis to personalize messaging and make the right offers at the right time, Dave Capuano added. Capuano, VP of marketing at Verint, also echoed the important of omnichannel in terms of blending marketing and service: having the ability to track customer interactions across channels and using a single company voice when interacting with customers whether via marketing or service interactions. Multichannel data is integral to doing so.

“There's new breed of customer,” Brian Koma, Verint's VP of research, said during his presentation. “Every interaction is an opportunity to succeed or fail with the customer.  Today we need to engage customers across multiple channels.”

And engagement takes understanding—and data. “We need to create a connected listening enterprise, “Koma said. “All things being equal, the organization that listens to its customers is the one more likely to build loyalty.”

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