I like to shop at small businesses because I like the customer experience. I get treated like a local and I like the way that feels. That feeling doesn’t come from the fact that small business owners know me personally. The feeling comes from the fact that small businesses have control. My entire customer experience usually happens in the same place at the same time with the same person.
It’s a lot harder for large businesses to control the customer experience. In fact, our modern digital lives tend to steer the customer experience to the degree that large companies are forced to be reactive rather than proactive.
The good news is that the big data revolution gives large companies the potential to regain control and drive more meaningful and personal customer experiences. This can only happen, however, if large companies can learn to leverage big contact data across departments to create context and insights for their employees. (Big contact data is person-centric data that provides a 360-degree unified view of all relevant personal, public, organizational, and contextual contact information.)
The smartest data-driven companies are making massive investments in big data-related software and services such as CRM and MDM platforms, but the most important thing to remember is that the success of every big data software solution depends on the quality and availability of big contact data to tie the data back to customers and prospects.
Here are three interesting ways your business can use big contact data to control more of the customer experience and make a difference in the eyes of your customers.
Unifying and resolving contact data with other data
Big companies use big data systems to record contact data as well as other data such as behavioral and transactional data. Your company is probably already good at gathering, saving, and analyzing information about your customers such as:
- Contact information such as email address or phone number
- Past purchase history
- The last time they called customer service and what they discussed
- The websites they visited and the products they viewed
- How much time they spent interacting with different types of content
- How they interacted with a particular brand on social media
The challenge for big organizations is that the data collected for each type of interaction isn’t tied to the same database record if that person interacts with the company across different parts of the organization or uses multiple email addresses, phone numbers, or user names.
The success of every big data software solution depends on the quality and availability of big contact data.
To enable excellent customer service, make sure any data that relates back to a person is synced and resolved to a single unified shared contact record. That way, every team can access a 360-degree view of each customer across all functions, departments, and teams. By unifying these data points, each of your business functions has the context needed to create a more meaningful customer experience for every interaction.
Enriching contacts with publicly shared information
Your CRM or company datastore probably contains plenty of contact information that customers share with you online, but you should also consider matching the shared contact information you have to other forms of shared information to assist with designing better customer experiences. Consumers share lots of information with the public through social media, which can provide insights into the ideal customer experience when this information is matched and unified to contact records in a database. For example, enriching your contacts with public social profiles allows you to add a list of interests to each contact record that matches a social profile.
It’s important to ensure that the customer becomes the main benefactor of any public information used to improve the experience. Companies should also publicly disclose how the information is used and follow all privacy laws and regulations related to the collection and usage of data.
Bringing unified context to customer service quality
Companies are arming their customer service teams with tools that allow them to interact with customers on nearly any platform, including phone, email, social media, chat windows, support blogs, help forums, and even service counters in brick and mortar stores. The problem is that many of these points of contact with the customer become organizational silos or create incomplete duplicate contact databases in different departments that face the same customers.
Consumers share lots of information with the public through social media, which can provide insights into the ideal customer experience.
For example, what happens when someone calls customer support and then a few days later makes a negative comment about the company in a social media post? There’s often a disconnect between the phone call and the social comment because the identity of the person making the comment isn’t tied to the identity of the caller who made a call to the call center. The call center doesn’t have the same database record as the social media team, so the customer experience feels disjointed and the customer is likely to have another thing to complain about.
To solve this challenge, use APIs to connect the contact data from different platforms and service interactions so you have unified records in your company’s data warehouse. This enables front-line customer service representatives to access the unified information and fully connect with customers. Case studies are beginning to show positive results from this kind of contact data integration, and it is skyrocketing customer satisfaction levels.
Are your customers benefiting from big contact data?
Big contact data platforms and service providers such as FullContact are revolutionizing the quality of interactions between consumers and businesses, helping customers see more value in their interactions with brands. If your company has not started to incorporate big contact data to design your customer experiences, it is time to consider the endless possibilities.