Why success in real-time customer experience is about small decisions


Your business is in a battle to retain and increase your share of wallet from a happy customer base. Winning takes analytics-driven real-time customer experiences. If you’re unconvinced of the value that using analytics brings to the customer experience, a recent Forbes Insight survey of nearly 360 executives makes a compelling case, with benefits including:

    • Faster decision-making: 62 percent.
    • Better insight into a common view of customers: 51 percent.
    • Greater confidence in decision-making: 49 percent.
    • Greater engagement with customers: 49 percent.
    • Increased sales revenue: 47 percent.
    • More repeat business from customers: 44 percent.

With these advantage-building benefits you can imagine the risk to your bottom line from saying “no” to taking an analytical approach to delivering customer experience: Forrester puts it at a 14 percent missed growth opportunity.

What consumers want

All modern consumers are transitioning from digital-first into digital-only users – and they expect you and every other business to achieve “digital parity”. In other words, your organisation needs to match or exceed the best experiences your customers have had with other organisations online or in self-serve environments. The result is that expectations of brand experiences are higher than ever in this data-driven world.

Why an analytical approach delivers against consumer expectations

Over the last decade, a plethora of technologies designed to help us better address our customers has come and gone. For consumers, the result has been fragmented and inconsistent experiences and marketers found themselves failing to deliver a stellar customer experience.

An analytical approach to customer experience enables organisations to move from simply reacting to customers in the moment, to predicting those moments and the appropriate outcomes in advance, to deliver a more considered and strategic experience. Integrated analytics and decisioning is the only way to balance an understanding of a customer’s attitudes, preferences, interests and needs with customer lifetime value, propensity and risk. This approach allows you to make accurate and profitable decisions about the right content, the right offer, the right price or the right product in the moment a customer engages with you. In real-time environments, all this decision-making must be done in milliseconds – something a predetermined, rules-based approach cannot deliver.

 How can you capitalise on the real-time opportunity?

At the SAS Data and Customer Experience Forum, the data strategy and innovation director at a leading European broadcaster said that the key to improving customer experience was by “improving all of the small decisions that are made by organisations when they interact with customers.”

Small decisions are those made in response to an individual customer’s choices. Focusing on small decisions offers benefits in many ways:

  • Improving risk management and matching price to risk.
  • Reducing or eliminating fraud and waste.
  • Increasing revenue by making the most of every opportunity.
  • Improving the utilisation of constrained resources across the organization.

The result is a superior customer experience.

By deploying a real-time decisioning framework, this leading broadcaster has experienced a significant sales uplift through online cross-sell and upsell activities. Their customer retention team has also used this approach to significantly reduce retention costs across the same number of customers.

Organisations need to adapt from making decisions at organizational speed to making decision at customer speed. For instance, if a customer ignores an offer online, they should be served a more suitable alternative within seconds based on all of their individual data including their lifetime value, propensity and attitudes, as well as new contextual information (e.g., their location, the device they’re using, etc.),

For Shop Direct, a UK-based digital retailer, the use of analytics to deliver a superior customer experience has paid off with a 43 percent  increase in pre-tax profits. CEO Alex Baldock, said, "We're making the most of how well we know our customer and being increasingly tailored to each of them."

Baldock admits personalisation needs to be executed effectively and that crude personalisation can be damaging to the customer relationship. "If a customer buys a pair of slippers and we just target them with slippers for the next year, that could be worse than not personalising at all." (source: essentialretail.com)

Are you ready to take a more analytical approach to customer experience? SAS helps many organisations start their journeys. Read more about our approach to real-time customer experience and how we can help you become a customer-first organisation, too.

Become a Customer First enterprise read:

Customer Intelligence for the always-on digital economy



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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