Back to Basics: Using Big Data to Improve Customer Experience

18 June 2018

 

Many organisations are still not using the data they create each day to better understand their customers and improve the experiences that their customers have when interacting with their brand.

Big data now gives us the opportunity to take huge amounts of structured and unstructured data and turn it into valuable insights about customer preferences and behavioral patterns. Big data enables smart decision-making, product development, and more importantly, it promises to improve customer experience. It’s not a case of data analytics to improve the customer experience being a nice-to-have today - it’s an absolute must-have.

And, analytics is even more important for customer experience in the hospitality industry. A service-based sector relies on positive customer feedback, reviews, and recommendations to attract and retain customers – all of which are nurtured through customer experience. Let’s take a look at how big data analytics can improve customer experience in the hospitality industry.

Get a Holistic View of Your Customer

Rather than scanning through each customer preference individually, big data neatly organizes customer data to provide you with a holistic overview of your customer. Does your restaurant entertain more wine lovers or beer enthusiasts? What time of day do you get the highest influx of guests? Which supplies should you stock up on before Bank Holidays? Do your customers dine alone or with company, and what is their average group size?

In short, who are your actual customers?

Having insight into such valuable data lets you build detailed customer profiles and tap into their wider likes and dislikes. Use this information to develop a customer-centered business model. For example, if you have more wine lovers visiting your restaurant over the Winter months, why not host a wine tasting event? Why not organize a happy hour to promote a new breakfast menu if you are consistently quieter before 11am during the week? Or why not change your restaurant’s floor plan to match seating patterns if you are regularly getting in large groups on specific days?

The opportunities are endless, and can be as detailed, specific and focused as your data will allow. Big data crunches the numbers for you but it’s still up to you to decide what to do with the knowledge at hand - it’s about creating insights that actions can be taken from. And, it’s about being able to take that action quickly, so monthly reports show information that is already out of date. Good data analytics need to be accessed in real-time for them to be valuable.

Improve Communication and Use Targeted Marketing

Direct your communication and marketing efforts with a more targeted, data-driven approach through big data insights. With big data, you can see exactly what people are looking at on your website, which campaign triggers the best results, and which social media platforms your customers interact with the most - among other things, of course. Knowing what your customers are interested in will indicate how you should plan and execute your marketing campaigns, and enable you to learn from successes or marketing mistakes to better target customers in the future.

Also, big data shares valuable insights about customer communication trends. You can see which line of communication customers prefer to use and how they react to each. For example, how do people respond to receiving a push notification about your latest blend of coffee in stock? What about when you send them an email with promotional content relating to an upcoming sports event? Or when you ping them a reminder message via a chatbot on social media about happy hour offers?

Having this knowledge will ensure your communication methods correspond with your customers’ expectations, thus providing a better, more engaged customer experience. This will encourage people to engage with your business and gives you the opportunity to interact in real-time with customers as you see trends developing.

Make Decisions Based on Counter-Intuitive Data

Personal intuition can sometimes cloud our judgments when making snap decisions about what our customers want. In fact, though you might think you already provide exceptional customer experience, the actual data may paint another picture and show areas where you need to improve that you may not have previously considered.  Lots of research shows how our personal ‘gut’ feeling can lead us to make assumptions in business that don’t turn out to be accurate.

The great thing about big data is that it can sometimes reveal counter-intuitive (or data-driven) insights that are free of human preconceptions, and give you a completely different perspective on a situation. This enables you to make decisions based on hard facts rather than simply following your gut instincts. Yes, it can be difficult to follow the figures when your intuition is screaming the opposite, but it’s important to consider both sides. It gives proper direction. No sugar-coated guesses - just cold, hard facts. And, if the data shows that your gut feeling was right all along, then it provides a great back-up to your argument when presenting a business case back to your teams.

 

Nevertheless, we can’t ignore the fact that the human element remains essential in improving customer experience. Therefore, the best recipe for improving customer experience is using big data to identify problem areas and human intervention to provide qualitative perspectives to back up your big data findings. It’s a team effort, really. You can’t have one without the other - so pair up.

 

Find out more about big data and data analytics at: http://www.verteda.com/solutions/analytics-business-intelligence

 

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