Why can't companies use the data they already have?
Some examples from daily life:
- You call your credit card company for support and are asked to dial in your credit card number to speak to a person. When someone comes on the line, they seem to have no access to the information you just provided or things like the number you are calling from. Where did things break down?
- How about banks who send you personalized mail offers to sign up to their credit card that you already have. What's going on here? I've had that happen for years with AAA. The new offer is always better than what you hold as a loyal customer, by the way. How fair is that?
- Airline websites where you sign in with your password and username, and then have to enter confirmation codes to view upcoming flights. I use USAir as an example of poor user experience every chance I get. Pages and pages filled with content telling you nothing useful.
Has this happened to you?
Forget big data. How about starting small?
It's 2012, everyone is still talking about the same things we've been talking about for the last five to seven years in social media. And I'm being generous here. I can remember many instances where we can go much further back.
Break the glass in case of marketing examples that date far, far back.
It's about listening, you need to measure and quantify, test, iterate, get customer referrals, be human. New technologies are making mistakes and issues more accessible to many more. While before we were just talking about it at the water cooler, today's water cooler can become a meme.
Customer data is still gathering dust. Customer online accounts are not tied into back ends. Customer service teams have no access to accounts or data just entered through a telephone or a Website. Is there a trust issue with outsourcing companies? Possibly.
And now everyone is starting to talk about big data.
Communications lead to feedback loops. This is where listening should take place. Like all feedback loops, if the microphone is too close to the loud speaker you get that awful distortion. The sound keeps picking up on itself until it becomes shrill noise. [hat tip Peter Tunjic]
How about starting small? Take a step back from the microphone and look into the opportunities you already have with customers. You have that business intelligence. Pick one issue, solve it. Move on to the next. For more ideas on steps to mapping the customer journey, look here.
UPDATE: my friend Avinash Kaushik explains the mental shift needed brilliantly in this post. I feel the same way about being true conversation agents, BTW.
[The Economist ran a special report almost two years ago]