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Customer intimacy #bas2010


Customer intimacy is a hot topic these days. Customers are getting more complex because not only are they using multiple channels but because they have multiple online personalities – work, home, on behalf of a parent or child and so on. The fact that consumers trust each other (78%) but not ads (13% trust for mobile ads and 63% for newspaper ads) adds some additional challenges.  Top companies see “getting closer to the company” as a top priority and one can consider customer intimacy as the new intellectual property. Many are moving from a focus on operational excellence to regarding operational excellence and product leadership as things that underpin customer intimacy – the customer relationship is key.

IBM has a customer experience framework that wraps around the customer life cycle:

  • Consumers start by researching products online (creating a challenge/opportunity for marketing in terms of when to act to influence a consumer)
  • Then they purchase a product, perhaps through a different channel
  • They use it, often using online resources when they have problems
  • They access customer service, creating an opportunity for gathering feedback
  • They may then advocate the product, meaning companies must understand and try and influence this
  • And they may be cross or up-sold, short-circuiting the purchase decision for a second product

Lots of different groups must participate in this, bringing their skills to bear on this cycle, and many different metrics must be created and monitored to see how well this is going. Obviously SPSS and Cognos customers have been using the products to do many things of relevance to this cycle. One of the keys going forward it being able to deploy customer insight into operations so that you can act on your customer decisions (leading, of course, back to decision management and IBM’s products in this area). Another is an ability to answer questions like who the best customers are, or what products cross sell well to whom – a key strength of Cognos’ Sales Analytic Application.

A quick demo followed to show how the Cognos Sales Analytic Application can be used with SPSS Decision Management 6. A company can use Cognos Sales Analytics to see that a product is selling poorly and use SPSS Modeler to create a predictive model to see who might be good targets to boost sales of this product. The Sales Analytic application can show which regions to target by combining current sales and predictive future sales.  SPSS Decision Management can then be used to push this model into production to help target cross-sell and up-sell offers that will drive additional sales.  This can be deployed online to drive interactions or used to generate batch lists of target customers. Finally the Cognos application can be used to view results in context to see how well these recommendations are being used. A nice summary of how to use BI and Decision Management applications together.

Social media is, of course, a hot topic in customer intimacy. SPSS has a long history in online surveys and integrating this kind of attitudinal data with interaction, descriptive and behavioral data. In the new environment social media data is also being collected alongside survey data. Analytics, especially text analytics, can be used to see who are social leaders – both promoters and detractors. This information can then be used to target by scoring people who are not social leaders against the social leader profiles being developed and combining this with typical propensity to buy scoring. IBM is also working on social network analysis – using connections between customers (calls in Telco for instance) to see who influences who. Not social media analysis but analysis of transactional data to find networks.

Customer Experience Management is a great use of Decision Management and clearly shows the value of using BI/Performance Management to analyze overall results while using Decision Management to drive better customer interactions.


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