Transforming your business success with a customer-first strategy

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Stories from the edge of innovation

How would you feel if I said it’s possible to generate a significant increase in sales during a six-week period, using advanced analytics? This was achieved by a leading European broadcaster – and there’s no reason why you can’t transform your business success similarly.

The real-time difference: Is it really worth it?

I’m privileged to work with some big thinkers on the topic of real-time decisioning in customer experience, but what really helps our customers is our ability to apply advanced analytics and machine learning to real business problems to rapidly solve them.

You can best see the benefits of doing this through the innovative work we have undertaken for trailblazers in the field of real-time decisioning for customer experience, including Shop Direct and many others.

Real-time customer acquisition and churn

The European broadcaster that I mentioned earlier wanted to increase its conversion rates for cross-sell and upsell activities on its website. Product recommendations were displayed to customers based on rudimentary rules  – Does the customer currently have the product or not? To advance the broadcaster's business goal, we enabled a more forensic approach to customer data using advanced analytics and real-time decisioning to determine the best possible recommendations for each customer.

By applying advanced analytic techniques to detailed viewing behaviour and propensity scores, then tying digital and offline data together, the broadcaster was able to predict the outcome of any recommendation that was made to each customer.

Moving away from a rules-based to analytical approach for decisioning means the broadcaster's sales team can now determine the most appropriate personal recommendations – decisions that can be automated in real time at the point of customer interaction on the website, using SAS Real-Time Decision Manager capabilities. After six weeks, the customer generated an impressive increase in online sales.

Next, we considered customer churn by determining the optimum "value of goodwill" – i.e. how much call centre agents should offer in order to keep a customer. The initial result? The organisation retained the same number of customers for significantly less money. This result took only four weeks because we’d already deployed the system for customer conversion.

Real-time claims decision-making

The power of real-time decision-making is even more evident when you see how it can automate traditionally lengthy manual customer processes. SAS Real-Time Decision Manager has been deployed in the insurance industry to automate decisions in claims, pricing and underwriting. One global insurer was able to cut costs in the tens of millions per annum, reducing what was typically a month-long process down to real time by automating its motor claims process.

This same approach has also helped to transform the success of an established retailer, Shop Direct. As a 40-year-old business that started out as a catalogue company, the retailer was sitting on a huge amount of customer data. They wanted to exploit this data to deliver very personalised online experiences for every customer in order to make shopping with them easier. The ultimate ambition? To drive significant uplift in profits.

We started with their website, which often presented customers with about 50 pages of products to scroll through. By analysing its existing data, Shop Direct can now predict the products a customer is most likely to be interested in and create an individually personalised sort order in real time. Harnessing data and advanced analytics to deliver unparalleled levels of personalistion has seen Shop Direct’s profits surge by 43 percent.

Alex Baldock, Group CEO at Shop Direct, explains the difference this approach has made: "We're all about making it easier for our customers to shop. That's why we're passionate about personalisation. We want to tailor everything for our customer; the shop she visits and how we engage with her before, during and after she's shopped. Our partnership with SAS will allow us to get even better at using data analytics to show our customers the right products at the right time to capture her attention.”

What makes all these successes with advanced analytics so different is that SAS allows organisations to predict likely outcomes, and change decisions about the most profitable, accurate or relevant experience in real-time. It’s this capability that will enable you to deliver exceptional levels of personalisation in real time to become truly customer first.

Find out how we can help you to become a customer-first enterprise. Read  our free white paper: Customer Intelligence for the always-on economy.

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About Author

Tiffany Carpenter

Head of Customer Intelligence, SAS UK & Ireland

Tiffany has been helping organisations achieve bottom line results from their customer and marketing strategies for over 20 years. She specialises in helping companies gain deeper insight into their customers’ buying habits, preferences and lifestyles, social relationships and influences on purchase behaviour and loyalty – and using this insight to make smarter, data-driven decisions.
Every customer journey is unique and every touch point is an opportunity to nurture customer relationships and deepen customer intimacy. Tiffany helps organisations get in sync with each customer’s journey – no matter how fragmented for a clear competitive advantage and a bigger, better ROI.

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