Why context is critical in real-time analytics

Why context is critical in real-time analytics

Being able to respond appropriately during conversations with the customers requires real-time analytics to integrate streaming data from the conversation (real-time data) with historical data about that customer, and about other customers.

Marketing is going through a period of fundamental change, where things are very different than 10 years ago. Customers have higher expectations for their interactions – whether by phone, online or in person. They also want increasingly personalized experiences and offers. Fortunately, the vast majority are also willing to provide the data needed to make this happen.

But an increase in customer expectations isn’t the only fundamental change that’s happening. There’s also a shift from art to science driving decisions. Marketing used to be very much a matter of “gut feeling” and creativity. However, it is now becoming highly data-driven. The huge increase in data available about and from customers, including from connected devices such as smartphones and personal assistants, is also coupled with the massive increase in processing power. Analytics tools are increasingly easier to use for crunching the data and generating insights, which removes much of the guesswork in marketing activities. As analytics becomes increasingly sophisticated, its use will not only become more important, but also much more nuanced.

Real-time data vs. real-time analytics

Real-time analytics delivers new opportunities to companies everywhere. For example, applying real-time analytics to conversations with customers as they happen means that call center agents can respond appropriately to what the customer is saying. However, it’s really important to remember that what enables this appropriate response is not necessarily real-time data.

In other words, being able to respond appropriately during those conversations requires real-time analytics to integrate streaming data from the conversation (real-time data) with historical data about that customer, and about other customers. To fully understand your customers, you need to know all about them, which requires a wide range of data. It starts with sociodemographic and location data, so that you know who and where they are. You also need to know about their previous contact with the company, including what they bought and how they responded to it. Social media information is helpful here, because it enables you to find out what they have said about the company and product outside of interactions with the company. It is also good to understand their potential value to the company: whether they are likely to buy more in future, and if so, how much.

Analytics tools can compare the combination data with models of customer behavior, usually trained with historical data. Real-time data is an essential part of the mix because you need to respond rapidly to the customer’s behavior right now. But you also need other data. The right time for data is not necessarily real time, because only using real-time data does not allow you to set the customer fully into context.

Understanding context

Setting customers fully into context means being able to access and integrate information about current and previous behavior, and the behavior of similar customers. It means recognizing them across all channels – in a consistent manner, regardless of touch points. It also means being able to access huge amounts of data, including from connected devices, and draw on the right parts of that. And finally, it means integrating all this with your real-time data so you can understand your customer.

At this point, you must take the right action. This can be in person, for example, if you are having a conversation with your customer. But these insights can also be applied more generally, to enable marketers to deliver the right message to the right channel at the right time. These actions need to fit with business rules – meaning they must be consistent with company strategies and policies, as well as right for the customer.

The importance of context

But why is context important? It matters because it is crucial in delivering good customer experiences. This is the bottom line: Not understanding your customers and how to respond to them appropriately will lead to negative customer experiences.

However, companies that deliver great customer experiences will be the winners in the digital age. Those who do not will pay the price.

Why is context important in delivering good #customerexperience? The payoff for great #cx is tangible #RealTimeAnalytics Click To Tweet

About Author

Rosanda Milatovic Skoric

Rosanda Milatovic Skoric, Sr Business Solutions Manager

Rosanda has more than 11 years of industry experience gained from complex projects provided for the largest banks and telco operators in the Central Europe and Adriatic region. She is specialized in Marketing, CRM and Analytics domains and acts as trusted advisor when working with organisations from C-level to consultants, bridging the gap between management, IT and business lines with the aim to increase business value by mapping customer requirements to the correct skills, technology, resources, data and processes. She started her career in Asseco South Eastern Europe where she held various software development positions and joined SAS in January 2013. She holds a Master's degree in Information Systems and Technologies domain.

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