Big data in customer service


May 5, 2014
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In the era of traditional shop based retailing, the customers had direct interaction with the vendors and they served the customer with a more personalized touch (ex: knowing about the wellness of the family).The vendors had a fair knowledge about the customer. This enabled the vendor to make personalized suggestions for customers to buy commodities (say suggesting a brand of shampoo for the customer’s children) which were mostly obliged.  But as the modern retail chains and online shopping emerged, this personal interaction between the vendor and customer got reduced .As a result, the vendors have lesser understanding about an individual customer’s preferences/behavior patterns which reduced the effectiveness of personalization in customer service too.

But Technology has always offered the key to resolve roadblocks. In this case, Big data offers the potential to mine voluminous data on customers to identify their individual needs/purchase behavior. Let us see how big data benefits the customer service.

Identifying Customer needs: Companies gather data about the purchase history of customers, websites they visit, location and Social media interaction. Though the data may appear unrelated to each other, yet vendors who apply proper data mining techniques shall derive insights about individual customers to offer a more personalized service. This shall help vendors to promote the right products to the right customers through the right channel. Many e-commerce websites today have already been providing customized recommendations to customers who visit their site.

Driving Customer demand: Just stopping with recommendations is not enough to convince a customer to buy a product. Making them  to understand the value/benefits of the product shall do so. The rise of wearable technology/mobile applications  has enabled to generate more information about customers (say calories consumed/burnt in a day or money spent in a given time period)in quick time. By gaining access to this information, vendors can analyze and provide insights to customers that can drive demand for vendor products. For example, a fuel band worn in hand generates data about physical activity of an individual. This data can be accessed and analyzed to present customized insights like “better ways to reduce calories” for that individual. The vendors can then suggest products that’ll enable the individual to achieve the same and hence lure him to buy them.

Improved service quality: Big data helps to improve product development and rectify the “pain points “of service delivery. Big data provides complete information/insights about customers readily .Hence if a customer reaches out to the vendor with a problem it can be solved efficiently in less time. It saves the time spent in asking customer for the necessary details.