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Data as Experience: The Customer Role

This is a continuation of my Data As Experience Series.  The last post was on the Executive Role.

The Customer

Many companies tend to overlook customers.  Most salespeople actually provide a range of reports but nine times out of ten, it seems that these are custom built report based on a lot of hoops the salesperson needed to jump through.  In reality, customers demand more information about how they deal with you. This is true for most customer types.  Think through the following:

  • B2C: Who hasn’t gone to Amazon and looked up past orders or otherwise looked their history.   Who doesn’t wish credit cards would do a better job at telling you about your spending and that spending analysis not just arrive two months after the year ended?
  • B2B: These are even more complex customers. They want to know all sorts of things ranging from what is the service, how is it being consumed across multiple locations, and how can they use the data to improve their service function.

My View on Customer Trends

I’ve seen a number of trends related to customer reports.  This includes:

  1. Data Monetization: More and more companies now realize the data they hold has value.  This value will drive new customers. It will also provide added value to existing customers.  These services can be sold as a value add.
  2. IoT: As your company gains more information from various devices and/or data points related to customers, you gain a lot more information about your customer.  That opens up new opportunities
  3. Complex Services: Many services you sell to your customers, especially on the B2B side tend to be pretty complex.  There may be multiple pieces to it.  Multiple offices may use the service. Costs may be obscured as service is delivered.  This drives additional demand for reporting and insights that help your customer get a handle on a complex world
  4. Better reports and insight improve your relationships with your customer. If you want to keep a customer, then give them insight. Giving insight on consumption or related reports goes a long way.  Providing actual insight with predictive analytics creates an even better relationship

What Do Your Customers Want?

Like everyone else, they want actionable insight in context.  They want you to tell them about what you provide, how that has trended, and any value that comes from it.  They also want more in terms of how their relationship with you can drive additional value.  Take these examples:

  • Based on our analytics, we believe the printer on the third floor will have a fuser fail within the next month. We have a technician in the area next Friday, want us to proactively service it?
  • Most of your offices use our service like this but your London office is an anomaly.  They never use anything.
  • We noticed you buy batteries every three months, want us to just send it to you?

You get the idea.  Your insight about your customer has value and can deepen your relationship with them. As you think this through, remember that a customers information journey may be context independent.  In other words, their location in the office or out, their use of a laptop or tablet, and the time of year can determine how and when you should interact with them.

Bottom Line

Customers need reports and insight just like those inside your company need.  In this data-driven world, those companies that recognize this will have a better, more profitable, and longer lasting relationship with their customer.  You can think of this as an imperative in your relationship with your customer.

What’s Next?

Context is king.  Taking into account the context of a user will allow you to create something that’s actually useful.

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