Customer Intelligence: What is it? Why does it matter? How does it work?

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. – Jeff Bezos

Wise words from the richest man in the world whose entire business has transformed the online commerce experience. But you already know the customer comes first, didn’t you? Nothing new here. Optimizing the customer experience has been a competitive advantage for many brands nowadays and others strive to make it one. But it such a vague goal. How does one go about optimizing the customer experience? What are the factors that will allow you to truly connect with your customers and drive sales?

What is Customer Intelligence?

Enter Customer Intelligence. Customer intelligence (CI) is the process of gathering and analyzing information regarding customers, and their details and activities, to build deeper and more effective customer relationships and improve decision-making by vendors. In other words, it lets you know thy customer like you know thy self.

Every contact points you have with a customer is an opportunity to learn. An opportunity to extract insight into the decision-making process or the pain points facing your customer. This is the data that will help a brand improve their customer experience 10x and drive growth. Unfortunately, most of this data is not analyzed. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this Harvard Business Review study that asked participants, “How much of the customer data that your organization collects are you able to act upon?”. 71% of respondents said “very little of it” or “some of it”. Not an inspiring amount

Why does it matter?

Okay, so at this point in the article, you may be thinking to yourself, “this sounds nice and all, but how is Customer Intelligence going to drive sales?”. The truth is, it’s not. Customer Intelligence is just a word. It’s the process behind the idea that creates value for organizations.

As we saw in the HBR study above, data that companies gather is not being utilized properly. Very little of it gets transformed into actionable insights. This is because the majority of the data is unstructured meaning it is extremely difficult for a computer to interpret and near impossible for a human too.

So back to the question at hand, why does customer intelligence matter? Times have changed. With recent advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, we are now able to process copious amounts of data instantaneously, giving you a full perspective of your customer. This, in turn, leads to more targeted messaging, a better understanding of needs and wants of individual customers, knowing when a user is ready to buy, etc… Technology has given us the ability to create actionable insights from data that was previously neglected helping drive sales and growth.

How does it work?

Customer Intelligence is the process of stringing together multiple points of data and placing it in context with wider information about competitors, conditions in the industry, and general trends in order to understand customers’ existing and future needs, how they reach decisions, and predictions about their future behavior.

The data sourced can either be internal or external. Internal data would be sales notes, CRM databases, surveys, while external data would be social media, blogs, etc… It begins with reference data – basic key facts about the customer, such as their geographic location. It is then supplemented with this external and internal data. This, in turn, is able to provide a very clear understanding of the customer and can be achieved instantaneously.

If you would like to know more about how Customer Intelligence can play a role in your organization, please do not hesitate to contact us over at Semeon.

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