Is big data the 21st century equivalent to good customer service?


People buy from people, and people buy from people they like. It's an age-old saying that still holds true in an era dominated by technology--personalization still matters. Consumers are bombarded by marketing messages featuring promises and discounts aimed to lure them away from any sense of brand loyalty--which isn't what it used to be. In the ever-evolving digital landscape, in order to survive, brands need to adapt and listen to what consumers are saying. And what they're saying is that experience and convenience (and of course price) are what keep them coming back. They're craving a more personalized approach to their buying experience, and innovation has offered a new vehicle for creating just that. It's paperless, and Walmart has already rolled out the program across 4,200 US stores. Online receipts are offering a way for brands to personalize their shopping experience with optimized customer service.

Online receipts capture transaction data in real time and can display that data via a web-based dashboard in seconds for data-driven decision-making. Customers’ offline and online transactions can be linked and, in combination with intelligent customer engagement and loyalty, suddenly the brick-and-mortar retailer can acquire a wealth of customer insight where before, there was none.

Feedback requests for improved shopping

Merchants can now introduce feedback requests into the digital receipts emailed to customers. Tap on a smiley or frowny face, and customers are taken to a screen to rate wait time, customer service and quality, or complete a detailed complaint or compliment. This may not sound particularly ground breaking, but suddenly the digital receipt (which a customer has asked for and is thus likely to open) provides a private communication channel for instant, direct dialogue with customers and sets the stage for a genuine ongoing conversation.Brands can respond to customer questions or complaints to manage customer concerns before they become unmanageable.

In addition to eliciting helpful customer feedback, this channel of communication reinforces loyalty by creating that personal touch and reduces public rants on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. By opening these channels of communication, and by incorporating this feedback capability, online receipts could be on the forefront of setting new expectations for customer service—one that could become the default.

Targeted suggestions for discounts and promotions

A white paper by Retail Week presents a compelling case for targeted data in retail. 80% of consumers surveyed want tailored offers based on previous purchases, with that figure jumping to 88% for 25-34 year olds. When consumers opt to receive digital receipts, marketers are privy to their purchase patterns, allowing them to tie online campaigns to in-store purchases and track online-to-offline attribution. With analytics, marketers can use the targeted data to offer customers suggested items tailored to their specific tastes--almost like their own personal shopper. Personalized and dynamic content specifically unique to your audience offers an emotional connection that triggers brand loyalty.

With great power comes great responsibility, and big data offers a wealth of opportunities to connect with consumers to provide a uniquely tailored buying experience. For more insights and solutions on how to harness the power of analytics to optimize customer service, contact us today.