BUSINESS INSIGHTS

Jan 17, 2018

Digital Transformation: Engaging Your Customers

Eric Wozniak Posted by Eric Wozniak

Every day at BlueGranite we see how Digital Transformation revolutionizes the businesses we collaborate with. Leveraging technology to reimagine customer service enriches and enhances organizations. That’s why we’re committed to exploring how companies can reap technology’s rewards. In the first post of this series, we outlined the Digital Transformation concept and introduced its four pillars:

  • Engaging Customers;
  • Empowering Employees;
  • Optimizing Operations; and
  • Transforming Products.
Today we’re fully exploring how your organization can identify and shape opportunities through customer engagement.

Engage Employees.png

Where to Begin?

Whether you’re looking to hold on to the clients you have, or want to bring new ones into the fold, a comprehensive understanding of your current customers is crucial to success. What are their defining characteristics? What are their needs? Why do they prefer your organization over your competition?

There are many ways to capture and analyze this information. A customer survey is one of them. Conducted online or by mail (by an internal group, such as the marketing department, or a third party) surveys can be sent to a broad audience on a regular schedule – quarterly or annually – or tailored to a limited audience for a specific reason.

Once gathered, this data can confirm or update key demographic attributes, or be shaped into a structure to ease reporting and ad-hoc analysis.

But there are drawbacks. Surveys can be labor-intensive and hindered by challenges, including limited data access mechanisms and the structuring and organizing of raw data. And the dataset often only gives a simple “point-in-time” perspective. Without historical context, how do we know if we’re improving or declining in the eyes of our customers?

Tackling Survey Challenges

A BlueGranite client recently faced similar issues with its quarterly customer survey. A third party administers the survey, then provides the company with a “data dump” of the results in a flat file (CSV). This put the burden of organizing and structuring the data, then manually creating the needed reports, on our client. Due to limited technology, those reports were static in nature, allowed no interaction, and lacked historical trends of past quarters.

Fast-forward to today: We partnered to implement a new solution that leverages Microsoft Power BI. It includes an automated integration of new data into a comprehensive dataset that powers interactive dashboards and reports. This greatly reduces the administrative overhead formerly needed to massage data and produce reports, yielding more time for analysis and action. With deeper insight and flexible reporting tools, this organization can better address customer needs to create stronger relationships and improve business results.

Study Communication Channels

Behavior analysis is another way to better understand your customers. There are many ways to do this – from monitoring social media activity and assessing marketing campaign effectiveness, to analyzing customer care and customer service activities.

Many modern organizations use multiple customer care channels to give customers flexibility. These include traditional call centers and email, and more recently, instant messaging or chat options. Companies can study this feedback to enhance their understanding of customers. Who is using the call center versus email versus chat, and why? What communication channels best address which issues? Do certain methods have better outcomes?

Uncover Issues, Retain Customers

One of our clients is engaged in an initiative to improve insight into its customer care function. This project is broad and deep, requiring complex methods to integrate large volumes of data from multiple systems, and artificial intelligence to parse the data to find patterns and uncover new insights.

The solution automatically identifies common customer care topics, and establishes a baseline to facilitate trending of these topics over time. Leveraging this information will help resolve issues more efficiently, leading to higher customer satisfaction rates, and will ultimately improve business outcomes.

Our clients’ examples show the value of data and analytics in improving relationships with existing customers, but what if we could use technology to proactively identify customers who might be on the verge of leaving for a competitor? The topic of customer churn has been around for decades – the cell phone carrier wars, as referenced in this Forbes piece, is an often-cited example – but with today’s technology, addressing this problem is much easier and no longer requires a massive upfront investment.

Tested Methods Tackle Challenges

By understanding common business objectives, like reducing customer churn, we can use proven reference solution templates to discover opportunities and quickly address associated challenges.

Microsoft provides partners such as BlueGranite with a variety of these templates. We then use them to help our clients discover the best way to harness data to solve problems and get results, while also providing a stable, proven foundation for building a production-ready solution.

A consumer-packaged goods leader recently expressed concerns about potential market share erosion, something on the minds of many major businesses in a tough business climate. We helped this client confront these concerns using a verified customer churn template to find, in stack-ranked order, customers most likely to not reorder. This solution allows their team to proactively communicate with those customers to discover ways to improve relationships – not just maintaining, but growing market share.

Work With Us

Contact us to learn how our proven methods deepen your understanding of your customer base. Whether you need assistance with Power BI, advanced analytics, or anything in between, we’re always ready to help you uncover new insights.

Stay tuned for future posts in the series! Next time, we will explore the benefits of Empowering Employees.

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Eric Wozniak

About The Author

Eric Wozniak

Eric is an IT consulting professional with a passion for data and analytics. He helps clients envision solutions that improve the management, production, and delivery of information and insights to improve business outcomes. With a background in software development and project delivery, Eric brings a practitioner's eye to his role in sales and management at BlueGranite. Eric’s specialties include business analysis, data analysis, user experience design, business intelligence solutions, solution selling, and more.

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