Why is customer intelligence (CI) important?

AI & Customer Intelligence

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Conventional business wisdom tells us we must know our customer in order to be successful. But in an era of digital pervasiveness, powerful micro-moments, and quickly shared customer sentiments, that means much more than doing a little market research. It means knowing your customers intimately, and understanding how they feel and what they want in real time. 

Addressing emails to an actual person is now the bare minimum. In order to stand out from the crowd today, it’s imperative that businesses unlock the why behind customer behavior.

This article will help you understand what customer intelligence is and why it matters, answering common questions like:

  • What is customer intelligence?
  • What is effective customer intelligence?
  • Why is customer intelligence important?
  • How do you use customer intelligence?
  • How do you build customer intelligence?

What is customer intelligence?

Customer intelligence involves gathering and analyzing information about your customers and using it to inform key business decisions. Customer intelligence goes beyond simple, high-level structured data, pulling in Voice of the Customer data to gain a deep understanding of who your customers are and what makes them tick, then infusing every company decision with this intelligence to create targeted solutions. 

Why should customer intelligence matter to your business? 

Customer intelligence essentially serves to enhance a brand’s understanding of every step of the customer journey, as people interact with their products and presence across multiple channels and various platforms—and that means more than just sales efficiency. Customer intelligence provides an innovative approach to the customer success, support, and experience functions in addition to marketing.  Customer intelligence provides an opportunity to improve relationships by solving problems and anticipating needs. 

Imagine being able to deliver delight in real time. That’s what customer intelligence enables and empowers.

What is effective customer intelligence?

Effective customer intelligence is data that is being used, collected and analyzed and actioned in real time. If your data is sitting stagnant in a CRM platform with minimal guarantee of data hygiene and little-to-no meaningful usage, that’s not effective customer intelligence.

Real customer intelligence starts with leveraging existing customer info, then it gets smarter with every user interaction, growing your customer knowledge over time with every touch point to create dynamic, intelligent cross-channel customer profiles.

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Why is customer intelligence important?

Customer intelligence is important because it links up everything you know about a customer and applies data science and advanced analytics to help you answer complex questions about your customers. It helps you understand what your customers and prospects want, and it empowers you to tailor your customer analytics to the unique perspectives of different business divisions. With customer intelligence insights, product, marketing, sales, support, and other departments can make key business decisions knowing exactly who their customers are and what they want. 

For example, you may see an uptick in bounce rates from your customer login page, but aren’t sure why. At the same time, you may be getting an influx of complaints and support questions because customers can’t figure out how to properly log into their accounts. All of this coincides with a recent redesign your company made to the login page. With these two data points, you can now come to the conclusion that the redesign is not intuitive and customers were happy with the original design.  

On another level, customer intelligence is important because it’s never been more critical for businesses to be in tune with their customer base, their wants, and needs. Customer intelligence is the key to creating a better customer experience, which is an important point of differentiation in today’s market.

Brands that ignore customer intelligence will see the impact of this negligence on their bottom line. Most consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide personalized offers and recommendations.

Customer intelligence is also imperative to improving customer experiences. By equipping decision making with actionable data, customer intelligence enables businesses to improve their customer experience (CX) and support functions while building lasting brand loyalty. 

How do you use customer intelligence? 

Customer intelligence can be used to support multiple departments, from product and marketing to customer experience and customer support teams. It can be leveraged in a variety of ways to boost customer loyalty and improve business functions and revenue, whether it’s personalizing the customer experience and communications, increasing customer satisfaction or developing a product roadmap based on customer complaints or requests. 

Product development

Developing new products or features should absolutely be rooted in customer intelligence. Simply guessing what your customers want or need can at best lead to low sales, and at worst, cost your business thousands of dollars in developing a product no one wants. You need to truly understand your customers’ pain points in order to build high-impact product roadmaps that will show them you’re listening and keep them coming back for more. 

For example, if your company sells shoes, you might find that a specific sneaker’s product page gets a high number of visits, but also has a high bounce rate and low transactions. You may also find that your customer support team gets numerous inquiries about the sneaker in a specific color that you don’t offer. This might tell you that the reason why customers keep bouncing is because you don’t offer the color they’re looking for and you need to include developing it in your product roadmap. 

Improved customer satisfaction

When you listen–and we mean really listen–to what your customers are telling you, you can make improvements to your processes that move the needle. Surveys, feedback forms, support tickets, and even social media comments are all goldmines of valuable feedback straight from your customers’ mouth. 

For example, by tracking support tickets, you may find that 50% of customers complain about shipping times while 20% of customers complain about the confusing checkout process. This tells you that you have two big problems on your hands and which one to tackle first. 

Tailored customer experience

When customers are delighted, feel listened to, and have a relationship with your brand, they’re less likely to leave. The goal of customer intelligence is to use data to tailor customer interactions to individual customers and improve their experiences—all of which contributes to customer retention and repeat business. 

For example, you could tag customer accounts according to their preferences and lifestyle, based on quarterly survey feedback data. For those tagged as “New Moms,” you could create a personalized landing page, complete with best selling baby products for them to shop.   

How do you build customer intelligence?

There are two major phases to building customer intelligence: first you collect data, then you analyze it to gain insights. 

Collecting customer data

Building customer intelligence starts with collecting data from all of your disparate sources and communications channels and unifying it in a single customer intelligence platform. These data points should cover everything from demographic data to customer information, online habits and direct feedback. 

Some of the ways customer intelligence can be collected include:

  • Website transactional and behavioral data
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Lead capture forms
  • Google Analytics
  • Support team interactions
  • Social media engagement
  • Product analytics
  • Purchase history

Analyzing data and finding insights

Once you have your data inputs, your customer intelligence tool will analyze and compare data efficiently to provide actionable insights. While it may be tempting to assign data tagging and analysis to your intern to do manually, that’s unfortunately the least efficient way to build customer intelligence. You should have enough customer intelligence data to make it unwieldy to do manually. 

Your customer intelligence platform should be able to sort, tag, and analyze your customer data swiftly, using AI to turn raw data into meaningful, actionable insights that will make all the difference in real time. 

Leverage a powerful customer intelligence platform

Learning from customer data is critical, and the time to act was yesterday. But just because the impact for your business will be massive doesn’t mean that the lift to implement it will be. 

Idiomatic is ready-to-use, eliminating the need for expensive in-house algorithm development and takes less time to implement than the onboarding for a new hire. Not to mention, the time and cost savings your company will experience by eliminating the need for manual data analysis.  

In a week, your business could be harnessing the power of Idiomatic’s customer intelligence solution. This makes customer intelligence achievable and attainable, quickly.

Say goodbye to manually coding qualitative data and hello to the power of machine learning. Idiomatic will unlock the insights hidden in your user comments, customer feedback, and customer support interactions. 

Ready to gain valuable insights into your customers? Book a free demo to see Idiomatic’s customer intelligence platform in action.

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