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The Customer Journey: Connected Analytics and Interactions

Originally published January 25, 2017

In this article, Randy Lea, Teradataís vice president of business and analytics consulting for the Americas, talks with Ron Powell, industry analyst and expert, about why it is important to understand and identify customers across all channels.

Can you share what Teradata means by customer journey?

Randy Lea: If you think about identifying and understanding the behavior of customers, you have to integrate that customer information and identify that customer across multiple channels. So you have to identify whether they have a checking account or a home loan in the financial area. You also have to identify customers you may not know as they enter into your digital world. If someone looks at your website, you may not know them, but you can identify via cookies or IP addresses that this person is coming in. At some point in time, you may want to make an offer to that anonymous person. They reply back with their email, and now you can start identifying them not only going forward, but you can identify their past history as well. So thatís the connected data aspect of customer journey.†

Then we have connected analytics. Connected analytics is understanding the behavioral impact of customers, and thatís really the journey aspect of it.†

The third component that we have is the connected interactions. Itís one thing to understand customersí behaviors, and you may want to make them an offer or try to prevent them from churning. But across multiple channels, you donít want to over-market. So if you send something out via email, you want to have the rules that say not to send anything to those customers over the web or donít contact them by phone.†

The other aspect of connected interactions is real-time. Now companies want to interact in real time, and consumers expect to have real-time interactions. We actually have what we call RIM, Real-time Interactive Manager, that will actually make offers in context of your interaction in real time.†

Many companies are focused on customer journey. What differentiates Teradataís vision for customer journey?

Randy Lea: The CMO not only wants to know who their customers are and what they purchase, but really their experience because thatís what itís all about.†

The customer journey by some of our competitors does a good job across a single channel, primarily the digital channel. And, as you can imagine, not everybody is interacting through one channel. If you take a look at telco, customers are on the telcoís website, using their mobile device, calling the call center †or actually walking into a branch. In retail you have the same channels. †In telco, most telco providers have hundreds of stores out there. So you need to understand exactly the behavior and the interaction across all channels. Thatís our core differentiator.†

The importance of interacting at that point in time with a customer is so key. How do you differentiate real time?†

Randy Lea: Weíve spoiled the consumer in trying to basically get them the information thatís personalized to them at all times. Now in real time, they want to have offers and interaction in context with what theyíre thinking and doing at that time.

Iíll give you an example in the retail industry. For years, weíve actually taken a look at historical behavior on the web to see what theyíre looking at. I may have looked at a $700 basketball hoop for the last three months, but I havenít bought it yet. We actually can identify patterns that say if we give Randy a ten percent discount, thereís a good probability heíll buy that basketball hoop. So does the retailer give me that targeted ad the next time I visit their website. They might. But also in real time, I go in and Iím looking at socks. But the retailer has another rule for an offer that says thereís a higher propensity to buy basketball shoes if a customer is looking at socks. Maybe hold off on the hoop. That is an offer thatís determined in real time and not necessarily looking at historical data.†

Then you find out the reality is that Iím looking at socks because I bought them from that retailer before. I get holes in them and they donít last. So I immediately go from socks to the complaint page. Now as a customer, Iím not looking to buy anything from that retailer. Iím actually there to complain. Instead of throwing up a real-time campaign offer, why doesnít the retailer pop up the online chat, indicate theyíre sorry I was dissatisfied and ask if they can help me with my return.†

Thatís what we do in real time now. We have a real-time interaction that may be an offer, may be customer support, or other interaction thatís in the context of how the customer is interacting with us in real time.†

I can see customer journey being key. Can you give us some more business examples?

Randy Lea: If you really take a look at the behavior of customers across multiple channels, you can now do things around predictive churn. In the financial industry and in the telco industry, a lot of statistical models that are built upon behavioral activity can make good predictions for churn. But they donít necessarily see everything. If I could see historically over time what customers are looking at Ė for example, I had four dropped calls in a week Ė is that an indication of churn? Did the customer go to my website cancellation page the next day. That, by itself, may not be an indicator of churn. But if I had four dropped calls, I looked at the cancellation page, and had a negative sentiment interaction with the call center, those three events in a time series within a certain time frame might be a very good indicator of churn. Because we have this behavioral data, you can predict activity and behavior from a customer.†

Another interesting example from Vodafone in the telco space is that you have known contract customers. So they have a good profile on those. But they also have prepaid customers. Prepaid is where you walk into a convenience store and buy 30 minutes. You put the SIM card in. They donít have to identify themselves. In this case, Vodafone is interacting with customers and sees behavior, but they donít really know who those customers are. But Vodafone wants to market to them.

Vodafone had the idea that if they have all of the behaviors of all of the customers who are on the phone, who are†known customers, and they segment 18 to 24 year olds, and 25 to 35, they notice different behaviors Ė looking at different games, etc. Vodafone took the known segment of 18-24 year olds, matched it to all of the unknown segment behaviors, and basically mapped that behavioral set of known customers to all unknown customers. They were able to extract roughly 115,000 unknown customers to target with a high degree of confidence. Although Vodafone did not know them, their behavior indicated that they were in this 18-24 age group and promoted to them that way. So now Vodafone is able to promote fairly effectively even to unknown customers based upon understanding their behavior and their interactions through channels Ė whether itís on the web, call center or store.†

Is the customer journey relevant to all industries?

Randy Lea: It is. Retail, financial, and telecommunications. Healthcare is a new industry for us. You donít think of healthcare as being a B2C kind of environment, but with all of the new regulations, they basically are out there promoting and trying to acquire new members all the time. And every year, they potentially could churn. Theyíre very much in a B2C environment. Theyíre very interested in this whole customer journey. And itís interesting because the names change from time to time. So thatís a member journey. Itís a customer journey. Itís a journey of an individual in whatever context heís at. We actually are working with some hospitals, and they call it a patient journey. So it is really the individual journey across all of the interactions.†

It was pretty exciting for us to announce this. Itís all an integrated solution where we help customers identify who their customers are Ė because thatís critical. We take a look at behavior across multiple channels and how to interact to them at the right time with the right message. As I said, in many cases thatís in real time.

Very impressive. Thank you so much for giving us a view of a customerís journey.

  • Ron PowellRon Powell
    Ron is an independent analyst, consultant and editorial expert with extensive knowledge and experience in business intelligence, big data, analytics and data warehousing. Currently president of Powell Interactive Media, which specializes in consulting and podcast services, he is also Executive Producer of The World Transformed Fast Forward series. In 2004, Ron founded the BeyeNETWORK, which was acquired by Tech Target in 2010.† Prior to the founding of the BeyeNETWORK, Ron was cofounder, publisher and editorial director of DM Review (now Information Management). He maintains an expert channel and blog on the BeyeNETWORK and may be contacted by email at†rpowell@powellinteractivemedia.com.

    More articles and Ron's blog can be found in his BeyeNETWORK expert channel.

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