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Real-Time Analytics Makes for Happy, Loyal Customers

By Mark Smith
Feb 5, 2010 5:00 AM PT

For businesses serving the public, employees are the face of the company. Likewise, the manner in which employees interact with customers shapes their perception of the business and its brand. Ultimately, customer loyalty is built through positive interactions and high-quality customer service that meets the individual's specific needs. Conversely, if needs aren't met and the experience is negative, customers are more likely to take their business elsewhere.

Real-Time Analytics Makes for Happy, Loyal Customers

So, how can companies ensure that their employees deliver a personalized and relevant customer experience?

Incorporating real-time decisioning software into an existing CRM system can help employees deliver the best possible experience when interacting with customers. Real-time decisioning software sits behind an existing CRM system to provide the most accurate and targeted sales or service offer for each individual customer, at the specific moment of interaction. Driven by advanced analytics, this software also enables employees to avoid approaching customers with irrelevant offers, helping to improve the customer's overall interaction experience.

Facilitating the Conversation

Many organizations utilize basic CRM systems to track a customer's interaction with the business. While these systems effectively record customers' contact histories, they fail to provide the details that allow employees to target and personalize the dialogue. Additionally, even with a CRM system in place, the quality of the customer/employee interaction still depends on the individual employee's training, skill level and knowledge.

Real-time decisioning software, driven by analytics, changes that. Intelligent analytics determine a customer's propensity to respond to an upsell or cross-sell offer and, together with real-time decisioning software, help guide interactions, advising employees on precisely how to respond to customers and adapt to the dialogue as it develops.

This insight into how customers are likely to respond to upsell and cross-sell offers has helped numerous corporations boost their incremental sales.

Don't Say That!

Real-time decisioning software does exactly what the name implies. It helps employees communicate successfully with customers, guiding them through interactions in real-time and adapting as the conversation develops. Conducting a successful dialogue means knowing what your customers want to hear as well as what they don't want to hear.

With that in mind, real-time decisioning software not only advises employees about best next actions, but also tells them what they should avoid saying, which is of equal importance when striving for personalized interactions. If a marketer attempts to push a product or service that is completely irrelevant to a customer's needs, the customer will likely become annoyed, hang up, or in some cases choose another vendor.

Real-time decisioning software reduces inconsistencies and helps ensure positive customer experiences. The benefits of real-time decisioning can apply to many types of marketing interaction -- whether it is initiated by the organization through outbound contact, or whether it begins with the customer contacting the company.

Regardless of the interaction's origin, real-time decisioning allows large corporations to interact with their customers on a personalized level, which makes customers feel that their needs are understood and properly addressed.

In today's competitive business world, the added insight delivered by real-time decisioning software gives companies a clear advantage by helping them to boost upsell and cross-sell revenues and also improve loyalty and retention.

For customers, interaction with real people at big corporations is becoming increasingly rare. When they do speak with an employee, it's critical that the employee is equipped to deliver a positive experience. Real-time decisioning software, fueled by sophisticated analytics, helps employees determine the best next offers or actions when conversing with customers, which allows them to more effectively anticipate their customers' needs and better serve them.

Making the extra effort to truly understand your customer's individual needs is critical, and it can make the difference between converting another successful sale or missing out on future revenue opportunities.


Mark Smith is executive vice president of sales and marketing at Portrait Software, a provider of customer interaction management software.


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