Your customer is the reason your business exists. Without your customer, your business lacks an audience to engage with and the ability to succeed. Understanding your customer, then, is how your business can thrive. Actionable, relevant customer intelligence gives you the information that your business needs to engage in a meaningful way with your customer, gain their trust and loyalty, and earn business to grow your organization.
CMNTY defines this way: “Customer intelligence is less about the information that you obtain and more about the way you analyze and use this information to better serve your target market…customer intelligence enables you to have your finger on the pulse of your target market. In this position, you are able to make the best business decisions to ensure that your organization meets all the needs that your customers have or are likely to have in the future. At the end of it all, you achieve quantifiable results that you can directly tie to the decisions driven by the insight obtained from the customer intelligence.”
Benefits of customer intelligence
How can you use customer intelligence to shape and grow your business?
1. Customer loyalty
Modern customer intelligence tools allow you to get to know your customers more accurately, more quickly, and address their needs as soon as possible. It helps you find out their preferences and problems in their purchasing journey and allows you to meet their needs quickly, making them more loyal to your brand and keeping you compete against other brands in your industry. In addition to using customer intelligence data gathered from certain software systems like you can ask customers directly for input. This will give you additional insight, but also help build loyalty by showing your audience your value and use their input.
2. Handle changes
Customer intelligence can be accessed in real-time. Using information gathered in online communities, for instance, can help you better understand trends or customer concerns. Whether this community is your Facebook page, Twitter feed, or other online community, access to this data and the ability to aggregate and make meaning from it can help you stay competitive and make decisions that allow you keep the focus on the customer and meet their needs in a way you know works for them.
3. Better, more efficient sales
Repeat business might be key to the future of your organization. If your organization relies on repeat business to assure its future, customer intelligence allows your sales teams to grow that for you. Better customer intelligence means that you’re able to assess when they might need a replacement or a reorder. It also helps you discern what would be a good recommendation for an upsell or additional recommendation. When you have more customer information, you can more accurately assess their ongoing needs and make sure you’re there to meet them.
4. A more flexible strategy
A lot of your customer strategy is trial and error, even with data analytics. But customer insight, intelligence, and analytics help you tweak your strategy and engagement approach overtime to get the right rhythm. With more intelligence, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s working, which can help direct your discount strategies, promotions, marketing communications, and more to help make the biggest impact for your business across the board. It will also save your team time and energy in trying to adjust your strategy based on minimal insight.
5. More relatable to customers
When you know what your customers prefer, you can ultimately help to make yourself more relatable to them. When you’re able to better understand and predict your customer’s needs and interests, you can help solve their problems, making them much more likely to do business with you in the future and much more endeared to your brand.
Examples of customer intelligence
What exactly does customer intelligence look like, though?
- Customer surveys and polls
- Customer sales history
- Website interactions
- Click-thru on email campaigns
- Reactions to social media ads
- Social media discussions
- Customer complaints and emails
There are a lot of customer touchpoints and data sets that help you gather the information you need to successfully understand your customer and build the solutions and communications that help effectively engage with customers and grow their interest in your brand.
Your customer intelligence efforts are meaningful because they are a way of understanding what your business needs to do and what is working with your strategy. It can also help you relate more personably and humanize your efforts with your target audience. There are a number of great benefits that businesses can take advantage of by implementing a customer intelligence process. Data is crucial to understanding your place in the marketplace and to better understanding your target market. This information can help drive business decisions, shape strategy, and create the kind of changes that allow you to be competitive and influential, ensuring a long, successful place in the business landscape.