By Nikhil Govindaraj, VP of Products, Moxie

Big data has been touted as a critical component for enterprises in the search for a key differentiator, helping them potentially win more business while outsmarting the competition. The vast amount of customer data generated by companies is now an opportunity to deliver personalised advertising, campaigns and offers that precisely meet each individual’s interests and needs.

Big data, however, needs to not only be a way to initiate customer contact. It can be used throughout the customer journey, supporting every engagement as it unfolds to increase customer satisfaction, purchases and value.

A Lesson from the World of Bricks and Mortar

In physical retail stores, experienced sales associates know how to “read” customers, using all sorts of data points and visual cues to make judgment about if, when and how to engage a shopper. How long has someone been standing at the end of an aisle? Is it a repeat customer? Are they looking at a high-value product? Salespeople can use this information to tailor their approach – more accurately assessing what the customer requires.

How can you bring this approach online?

Using Big Data to Deliver the In-Store Experience Online

Bringing the personalised in-store experience online is critical - but how do you deliver this type of experience in what is typically a faceless digital world? The vast amounts of information you gain from aggregated data can yield valuable insights into how to engage with customers. Essentially, big data can function as a savvy online sales associate, helping you deliver an engagement strategy that will successfully guide customers through the retail journey, up to the point of purchase.

Data can help you determine who is on your site and why, enabling you to use historical data to refine your engagement strategy and collect real-time data about what they are doing on your site. What type of device are they are using? Where are they? How did they get to your site? Which pages have they visited? How long have they been on the site? Have they added anything to the cart? Do they have a purchase history? Have they encountered any errors?

Using this data to make reasoned judgments about the customer’s intent can help enterprises anticipate the best, most relevant way to engage, such as welcoming the customer who clicks on a campaign link with a personalised message, or proactively offering a high-value customer on a high-value product page an online video chat with a product expert.

Leveraging Big Data in a Mobile World

In a Forrester survey, 77% of respondents said that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. This is especially true of consumers who have adopted mobile technology. Mobile customers generally have little tolerance for scrolling through long website pages on their devices. You may have just a minute—even a few seconds —to engage them as they wait in line to get a cup of coffee. Using data about the type of device and even the customer’s current location, you can automatically adapt the content to the device and situation, limiting the presentation to a few key points with links to additional, easily consumed information.

However, when using big data to engage your customers, it needs to be about adding value to their experience and assisting them on their journey to complete the tasks they set out to do. By being aware of the different stages of this journey, you can better engage your customers:

• Awareness – at this stage of the journey the customer is in the discovery phase. Use this as an opportunity to educate and earn the right to be a trusted source. Knowledge is an effective sales tool to nudge the customer along the journey and provide them with relevant information.

• Consideration – this is the early stage of intent, where the customer displays attributes of making a purchase decision. These include, but are not limited to, repeat visits to product pages, product comparisons, completing forms, adding to the shopping cart etc. Use knowledge and chat as effective methods to reach out, engage and build trust.

• Conversion – this is a particularly high-risk stage of the journey, where the customer needs to be made proactively aware of relevant information to help close the sale. Information such as return policy, refund/warranty information etc. can be used to guide the decision. Errors on check out pages are notorious for abandonments - use chat or video chat as a strategic tool to proactively engage in these moments of difficulty and convert them into memorable moments.

• Services – this stage makes a difference between a one-time customer and a lifetime customer. Use all the digital channels across knowledge, email, chat, co-browse and video as tools to allow customers to choose what makes best sense for them.

What to Look For When Buying a Solution

Leveraging big data to create personalised and relevant engagement throughout the customer lifecycle requires three key technology capabilities. As you look to leverage big data in every customer engagement, consider the following:

• Look for a technology partner that can provide a seamless, digital engagement solution across devices, especially mobile. Mobile is soon going to be the only way that customers engage with businesses, so seek a partner who designs and delivers products with a mobile-first approach.

• Make sure your technology partner delivers enterprise-grade technology, leveraging the cloud to reliably and securely scale to tens of millions of interactions.

• Seek out a company with the expertise and experience of using big data and analytics to capture and analyse customer information and behaviour in real time in order to deliver meaningful engagements.

Companies that prioritise the customer experience generate 60% higher profits than their competitors, and over 80% of consumers are more likely to give a company repeated business after a good experience. By using big data correctly, you can ensure that your customers feel that every engagement with your company is valuable and efficient The investment should prove an astute one.