Jitendra Dahale has decades of experience making data-informed business decisions for major global companies. We talked this week with BlastPoint’s Chief Strategy Officer about how leading companies use customer intelligence, and how to gather and operationalize it.
Everyone knows they need customer intelligence
“Almost every leading company either currently invests in customer intelligence or is planning to do so soon,” says Jitendra Dahale, BlastPoint’s Chief Strategy Officer, “because it helps companies provide better and more personalized experiences to their customers.”
Executives have long understood how valuable this data is, and many use it to better understand market opportunities or predict their customers’ behavior. Others use it primarily to identify or retain customers.
What the data is used for
Dahale emphasizes that it is important to have a goal for the data before you start gathering it. “The intelligence and analytics should be categorized in terms of the business objectives it aims to achieve,” he says. “These might include quantifying opportunities, validating hypotheses, discovering new customers, guiding people along the customer journeys, or optimizing the business value through refreshing the data and refining goals.”
Gathering the data
Before business leaders can reap any benefits, however, they first need to acquire the underlying data. “This can often take much longer than expected,” explains Dahale, “especially if executives have to compete internally for the data scientists and financial resources to get it done.” In addition, there are also sometimes data availability and cleanliness challenges that can delay getting the relevant data in a timely manner.
In every case, if a team is simply gathering data – like customer communications preferences – the ‘intelligence’ it receives will often be only generic in nature. Dahale strongly recommends gathering objective-driven intelligence instead, which can show how these communications preferences might be based on specific types of offerings. Customers may be more receptive, for example, to some new offerings through email and others through a phone call. “This is where data becomes actionable intelligence,” he says, “and where it can be critical to growing your business or entering new markets.”
“Over the next five to ten years, data and data-driven intelligence is going to drive nearly every business decision.”Jitendra Dahale
Operationalizing the data
Once business leaders receive the data, operationalizing it to achieve the desired results is the next step. It’s therefore important for organizations to not only invest in building their analytical capabilities, but to tie that intelligence to their business processes. The infrastructure needs to be in place, for example, for the Marketing Department to know which customers might be open to a new program or product and why.
Companies can then continuously hone their customer analytics, using updated intelligence to focus on making recommendations, adapting business strategies, and designing new innovation.
Dahale says that intelligence should be objective-driven whenever possible to drive specific KPIs and achieve direct results. Business teams often don’t have experience with this but BlastPoint does. We can show you how easily attainable this is once you have the necessary infrastructure in place.
Customer Intelligence helps companies grow
Companies often have a hard time growing, says Dahale, because they fail to predict and adapt to their customers’ changing needs and therefore struggle to differentiate themselves from their rivals. Actionable customer intelligence, like BlastPoint provides, addresses both of these problems, and even tackles some issues before they occur. “Creating and tracking customers’ journeys with your company with key metrics,” Dahale explains, “is easy to do and can reveal a lot about how you can engage them going forward.”
“Over the next five to ten years,” Dahale believes, “data and data-driven intelligence is going to drive nearly every business decision. In a world of automation, remotely enabled work and learning, end-to-end customer engagement through e-commerce, and many daily activities being done by robots, analytics and intelligence are going to play a vital role in every decision and activity in modern society.”
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