Want to better understand your customers? Follow the digital breadcrumbs

By: William Trotman

Marketing Director, Big Data & Analytics EMEA

In my first blog, I shamelessly post this great new article from Wiljo van Beek, Director, Big Data Banking & Insurance, Oracle EMEA who shares his knowledge on how big data analytics can deliver for organizations looking for improved customer insights. You can follow him at linkedin.com/in/wiljovanbeek or @Lange_65.

— Sam Walton, the man who founded Walmart, elegantly summed up the secret to sales: “Exceed your customer’s expectations. If you do, they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want… and a little more.”

In Walton’s time this meant making each customer feel like the most important person in the store, but times have changed. People now expect this same level of personalization but increasingly prefer to interact with companies in a digital environment – online, via mobile or on social media – which makes it much harder to see what they’re thinking.

This is why sales organizations are so focused on gaining a deeper understanding of their customers and turning to advanced analytics to achieve this.

Virtually every action we take today generates useable data. The average person touches their smartphone screen one-million times per year, and each of these digital interactions creates a data point. Over time, these seemingly innocuous pieces of information add up to an invaluable breadcrumb trail of insight that companies can use to develop a 360-degree view of the customer.

More data, more sales

Retailers have been among the first to benefit from this new wealth of information. Most brands tend to sell and interact with customers via a number of channels, which means the data they collect comes in multiple formats and is difficult to work with. To combat this, they have begun to work with analytics platforms that allow them to consolidate all forms of structured and unstructured data and build finely-tuned customer profiles.

Analytics is also benefitting direct-to-customer brands. One good example is Nespresso, which has embedded IoT sensors into some of its coffee machines that send back information on each user’s most used capsules and drinking habits. The company then uses this insight to personalize its offers to each person’s preferences.

Personalization for everyone

The value of analytics isn’t limited to the retail sector. CaixaBank, one of Spain’s largest financial services companies, uses its customer data to maintain a centralized view of how people interact with its services in-branch, online and on their mobiles. Established banks must increasingly fight off competition from new digital entrants, and a deeper customer understanding is helping them build on their strong heritage with more tailored digital services.

Telecoms providers like BT, Virgin, and Telefonica are also taking advantage of their extensive networks and customer data to personalize their offerings. BT in particular has seen its revenues and campaign adoption rise after adapting its packages and pricing to each customer’s usage habits.

In the media publishing industry, De Persgroep has been using advanced analytics to track customer satisfaction levels. The company can now predict customer churn with 92% accuracy, which has in turn helped them understand the root causes of customer dissatisfaction and address these.

For their part, utilities suppliers have long had a view into energy meter data but the roll-out of smart meters has enhanced their customer view and positioned them to help people make smarter energy decisions so they can save money. In an environment like this, where service differentiation is hard to achieve, the ability to build strong customer relationships is the key to retaining market share.

We’re only just getting started

Never have organizations had so much information on their customers. Our smartphones, energy meters, kitchen appliances, and even our clothes leave breadcrumb trails of digital insight that they can use to inform their strategies. As Oracle’s Paul Sonderegger recently told the Economist: “Data will be the ultimate externality: we will generate [it] whatever we do.”

The wins we’ve seen across retail, financial services, utilities and so many other industries have been significant, but we are only scratching the surface. Businesses are developing an increasingly granular and detailed customer view, and the potential for personalization is virtually limitless.

From data scientists and analysts, who work closely with company data each day, to business leaders exploring new ways to improve the way they work, Oracle has a set of rich integrated solutions for everybody in your organization.

Read our eBook at oracle.com/goto/transform-with-big-data to understand how Oracle’s Cloud Platform for Big Data helps companies uncover new benefits across their business.

Wiljo van Beek, Director, Big Data Banking & Insurance, Oracle EMEA

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