Today’s intense competition requires that companies know as much as they can about their customers in order to anticipate their needs and deliver a superior customer experience. However, many organizations struggle to do this well. Implementing initiatives to improve customer value across any department or process involving customers requires both in-depth visibility into current operations and excellent metrics.
Enter the latest Ventana Research benchmark research, on the State of Customer Analytics. This research was designed to examine in depth the needs for and use of analytics and metrics by all lines of business involved in customer-related activities. In designing this research, one major goal was to provide organizations with a better understanding of their challenges and requirements and thus improve their ability to formulate a successful path to improvement.
Our analysis of this benchmark research into found the most important goals driving the improvement of customer analytics are developing and improving customer service strategy (61%) and improving the customer experience (58%). To do so, however, requires analytics that can generate data and metrics about the past, present and potential future performance of customer interactions.
In pursuit of these goals, businesses collect, track and analyze data from broader and deeper sets of data sources than ever before. While structured data remains the most common form, organizations are learning also to exploit semistructured data (for example, text) as well as more complex data such as voice and image files. Seeking an advantage, they use analytics across the business to assess customer value, the nature and quality of the customer experience, the effectiveness of interaction-handing processes, contact center performance, compliance with regulations and more. Indeed, customer data is one of the most promising areas for the application of analytics; it can deliver significant value when used to deepen insight, sharpen decision-making and provide alerts when situations require attention from managers or executives.
But managing information and the analytics derived from them in pursuit of a competitive advantage is neither a simple nor a trivial undertaking. In our view, organizations’ poor understanding of best practices and functional requirements for analytics creates significant issues in most companies, as do deficiencies in their software and data environments. These hinder their ability to improve control over business processes and make it more difficult for them to choose new technology that can deliver the value they seek.
Organizations do indicate they are satisfied with the processes they use to generate customer analytics, with two-thirds of organizations (66%) satisfied. Most organizations said they find it easy (31%) or very easy (19%) to collect the data they need to create useful customer metrics and performance indicators; fewer than one-fifth (18%) said they found it difficult. Despite this, the research identified some significant underlying challenges to customer analytics processes.
For example, most organizations spend less time on the analysis of their data than they do on the mundane tasks of preparing that data for analysis. Two-fifths of their time is spent reviewing data (20%) and preparing data for analysis (18%), neither of which yields actionable insights, while less than 10 percent is spent performing advanced analytics (2%), assembling scenarios for analysis (3%) and preparing annotations and charts for presentation (7%). Evaluating how time is allocated in the customer analytics process is critical to being able to make improvements and maximize the value of this investment.
The research makes clear that organizations have the best success when customer analytics is a team effort. In almost half (46%) of participating organizations the responsibility for customer analytics lies with a team dedicated to that function; more than half of those teams consist of analysts. Organizations using dedicated teams reported satisfaction with their customer analytics process more often than those relying on their IT organization or using a shared team or individual users. A wide variety of individual skill sets across roles, from analysts to managers, is essential to creating and taking advantage of customer analytics.
Ventana Research has for nearly two decades conducted market research on customer experience and the contact center as well as many other business technologies, including contact centers in the cloud and customer engagement through any channel or department such as marketing, sales, support and services. Click here to learn more about our research and services for vendors and technology buyers.