How well do you really know your customers? If your company is like most, you're probably ready to admit that you don't know them very well. In fact, a recent study published by IBM found that only 4% of businesses are satisfied with their ability to ensure data-driven conversations with customers.

In today's customer-first culture, that's an alarmingly low number. Data-driven insight is the key to increased customer satisfaction. If you don't know your customers, how much can you really offer them? It's important to incorporate analytics into the customer experience for one simple reason: better customer interaction means better business results.

So why aren't more companies doing it? What does one have to do to use analytics effectively? We'll look at three strategies for success.

The Customer Journey

Every customer follows a unique path to reach your business. Through understanding the different channels people use and their behaviors over time, you can gain a view of who they are and what they want. Business intelligence and customer journey mapping software can help you get a deeper appreciation, but this is just the beginning.

Turn Data Into Insight

Once you've got some knowledge about your customers, you've got to actually put that information to work for you. The amount of data available to collect is huge, and it needs to be integrated into everything you do around the customer. It also has to be kept up to date. Buyer's needs change quickly. It takes an ongoing assessment of data to stay current.

Make Sure The Data's Working For You

Just making your customers happy is the beginning. You've also got to make sure those customers are engaging with your company in the way you wanted them to. Not only should you use analytics to customize customer interaction, you should track how your customer experiences are performing and what impact they're having on your company.

Bring It Together

Here's an example. Let's say an online vendor has just launched a new product. A few days after launch, they review their analytics to find that traffic is up and customers are adding the product to their shopping cart, but the conversion rate is down.

Using the same analytic tools, the marketing team is quickly able to identify which customer segment is not converting well. They look directly into the data and find a promotional code being entered by the customers and not accepted.

Since they want to know where the bad code started, they examine the entire customer journey and find a spelling mistake in the promo code on a Facebook post.

The team then immediately corrects the error on the Facebook post. They can find the customers who had a code denial and follow up with a personal apology for the error and providing the right code.

Once the code is fixed and the follow-up messages are sent, they see the conversion rate return to normal.

This level of insight is only available by using in-depth customer analytics with a comprehensive view across channels. How skilled is your company at adapting and responding to the rapidly changing needs of buyers?

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