Technology Shortcuts to Customer Knowledge

The last DC Marketing Tech Talk focused on Tips, Tools, and Data to Improve Customer Engagement (CEM).  Probably my perfect vision of what DC Marketing Tech Talks needs to be, two terrific speakers took the stage.  First, a marketer spoke on the importance of customer knowledge to CEM, and an IT professional showed how his firm gathers customer knowledge.

Customer Knowledge Key to Customer Engagement Strategy

Customer Knowledge is the Starting Point of Customer Engagement

First, Rich Toohey, President from Resolvere Insights, defined customer engagement, and why it’s important.  He imparted his words of wisdom and strategies for effective customer engagement programs.  Second, Graham Kerster, Data Visualization Lead from Excella Consulting put customer engagement into practice.  He showed an actual demo of a custom-developed technology platform to engage their application development customers.

To get started, please check out CHIEF’s  great blog called Customer Engagement: So What Is It? I highly recommend giving it a quick read.  However, in the interests of making sure you’re up to speed, here are 3 key takeaways:

  1. Customer Experience Matters and there’s proof a company can spend.  Engaged customers are worth a 23% average premium in share of wallet, revenue and profitability compared to average customers.
  2. It’s All About Employee Pull-Through all employees need to be involved. As we know from our own consumer experiences, one negative experience can caste a dark shadow on years of positive ones.  So consistency and authenticity are critical to the customer experience.  In addition, don’t forget employee training.  It’s absolutely non-negotiable!
  3. Use Customer Knowledge – it’s the foundation of your customer engagement program.

Let’s talk about this third point – using customer knowledge – to improve customer engagement.

If Customer Engagement Starts with Customer Knowledge, What are the Shortcuts?

The obvious place to look for a shortcut is a technology solution. If you have budget, there are great solutions like Clarabridge or Qualtrics. Both solutions offer comprehensive solutions for managing and analyzing social media data, customer data and surveys.  For more the more budget-conscious, there are many point solutions like CloudCherry or BrightInfo that are invaluable for certain objectives.

But what if you’re just starting out with your customer engagement program?

To get your program off the ground, there are two easy ways to listen to your customers.  First of all, use social data.  Easily obtainable and abundant data source, tap into Twitter or Facebook.  Consider using a text analytics solution like DiscoverText.  It’s fairly easy to learn.  It’s also an affordable point solution.  Further, it can help  develop that initial framework for understanding and measuring customer experience.  Most importantly, it’s a well-defined starting point for customer engagement data analysis.

Next, you can cost-effectively use a research panel like QuickTake or AYTM.  With a little more time or money, you can collect information by using a customer survey using SurveyMonkey. In addition, you can step outside your own customer base and buy sample from a research sample provider for your survey.

Great Analysis is the True Foundation of Customer Knowledge

Regardless of the technologies you use to gather customer knowledge– there’s no short cut to making sense of it all.  To start, you simply have to start. Consequently, as more and more data comes available, change and refine over time.

So, want to talk about how to use your company’s customer knowledge?