Understanding the customer in the world before Web 2.0 was a relatively straightforward task – but the emergence of Web 2.0 has brought an explosion of social channels including blogs, wikis, forums, social networks and an array of social media. Today, customers have a loud and clear voice where they openly share ideas, perceptions, and problems about products and companies. They create trusted communities and powerful, influential constituencies. The voice of the customer (VOC) is therefore expressed in different forms through different channels. These channels are insight rich, with a wealth of untapped customer intelligence. Traditional technologies are unable to access or decipher the unstructured content upon which today’s customer conversations and insights are built.
In a recent Blog Post titled Where is Business Analytics Going? I describe the compelling reasons for the growing use of advanced analytics – and the challenges that organizations face in realizing value from their efforts. The Retail Industry may be the poster child for business analytics, as they face some very compelling reasons to expand their analytic footprint. Ventana Research believes that the retail industry is going through a transformation, as volumes and sources of data continue to expand. They state that “Retailers are just starting to realize that understanding and influencing customer conversations on the Internet in social media channels is a necessity and that it requires a new type of analytics that can process text and phrases that reveal consumer sentiment and opinions of their brands”.
Business Analytics will continue to gain traction in every industry, and several key factors make this a foregone conclusion:
- The expanding universe of data and the opportunity and risk that it represents
- The growth of social channels
- The growth in mobile interaction and resulting need for analytics
- The critical need for customer intimacy
- The growing need for differentiation through innovation
- The rapid escalation of complexity that surrounds business today
- An increasing focus on value creation, growth and revenue generation
- The critical need for smarter decision making
- A continued increase in computing power that makes real time analytics viable
- The continued delivery of new and improved advanced analytic capabilities
- The movement to make advanced analytics software business user friendly
Are you listening? All of the communication occurring in social channels can challenge our listening skills. How are we sure that we are listening in the right places? What should we be listening for? How can listening translate to tangible benefits for my business or organization? Those are only some of the pressing questions that companies are attempting to answer. As companies move down the inevitable path of co-creating products and services with customers, social channels will become an increasing source of ideas and innovation. The business imperative for customer intimacy will drive many company strategies over the next decade.
I highly recommend this article by Mark Suster titled The Power of Twitter in Information Discovery. This same author has written a piece on Twitter’s use cases, which is also a good read. For those that still think Twitter is about telling people what you had for breakfast, these are must reads. I agree completely with his perspective and use Twitter in a very similar manner.
As 2010 winds down, it is time to look ahead to 2011. I have high expectations as the calendar turns, and I believe 2011 will be the year of adoption. I believe we’ve reached a point where cash will come off the sidelines and I expect to see technology investments focused on revenue generation and value creation. With that as a backdrop, I’ll Label 2011 as the year of collaboration and intelligence – the two areas that I believe align very well with pressing business priorities. So here are my thoughts on 2011.
This Press Release from Verint continues the Social Media and customer service drum beat. The recurring themes are:
- A growing challenge to identify, collect and act upon data delivered through an expanding number of customer communications channels
- The need for an aggregated and unified view of customer data across all channels
- Analysis that delivers insight drives rapid and informed action
- Companies are not equipped to analyze the interactions that occur via email, chat, social media, forums, etc.
- There is a heightened need for text analytics. Solutions that mine interactions and feedback across multichannel customer communications – including email, chat, blogs, review sites, social media and other text-based channels – continue to emerge
- Workflow delivers insight to the people that are best equipped to manage issues, address specific customer service concerns, or get ahead of negative sentiments in social media