I was a big fan of 70s/80s television show The Love Boat. Why they haven't done a present-day remake of this show is beyond me? But, that's a discussion for another day.
With another Valentine's Day upon us, it occurred to me that there was some nice alignment between The Love Boat, predictive analytics and creating better customer intimacy.
One of the characters on the show, Issac Washington, was the ship's bartender. He was often the person listening to love-stricken passengers and then offering up advice, as well as cocktails. Issac was essentially the ship’s predictive analytics solution.
Strangely, businesses and governments have the same challenges with match-making as those who ventured on the high seas with Captain Stubing for romantic hi jinx. The difference is that organizations today have the power to be more successful at finding and retaining healthy relationships with customers or constituents.
Love, exciting and new
Come Aboard. We're expecting you.
Organizations using predictive analytics are now able to better understand customer beliefs, preferences, opinions and behavior by tapping into all of the interconnected streams of data -- inside and outside the enterprise walls. By analyzing that data, it becomes very easy to establish a relationship, and then truly know how customers or constituents are likely to behave at a precise moment in time.
Therefore, relationships with customers will always be exciting and new. This is because customer preferences change from day to day, and sometimes from hour to hour. By using predictive analytics, organizations can truly "know" a customer, and are in a position to better anticipate exactly what those customers will want based on shifting likes and dislikes.
This keeps any relationship fresh and gets even a marketing relationship out of the same old rut.
Offers can now be personalized so a business is speaking directly to someone, rather than just shouting at people on a street corner hoping to get noticed.
Love, life's sweetest reward.
Let it flow, it floats back to you.
What is the key then in establishing a true "love" connection with customers?
Ask them. Engage with them...at every touch point. Get to know them and their interests.
Basically, predictive analytics helps businesses stop selfishly obsessing with their own products or logistics, and instead become focused on what matters…the customer.
The sweetest reward comes through with increased revenues and customer satisfaction. On the other side, it also helps evaluate risk more precisely and identify potential fraud in time to contain the damage.
The Love Boat, soon will be making another run
The Love Boat, promises something for everyone.
Not long ago, businesses had no idea how a particular customer was reacting to its advances.
Today, it comes down to what Erick Brethenoux here at IBM SPSS calls "moments of truth" -- those interactions that can disproportionately affect the customer’s view of your organization, positively or negatively.
By building predictive analytics into a website, customers will be automatically presented with an personalized suggestion that most likely to result in a sale. Or in the call center, so that sales representatives know what products or offers are most likely to suit a particular customer’s needs.
For instance, Digital +, part of Sogecable in Spain, has completely changed the role of the call center to proactively direct agents to provide customers with real-time, targeted product upgrades or new services while engaged on the phone. This has improved customer satisfaction, reduced churn by 20 percent and increased cross-sell campaigns by 5 to 10 percent over outbound campaigns.
Set a course for adventure,
Your mind on a new romance.
We all have a strategy for finding love. Some use friends for introduction, some use online channels, and others use the more traditional means of going on a cruise. But, which offers the best success?
For businesses, predictive analytics helps develop more effective strategies for each customer.
Acquiring customers is costly. Paying too high a price to attract customers, however, or acquiring the wrong types of customers, can have a significant negative impact on your profits. Using inefficient methods will result in higher costs and profits that are lower than they should be.
Attracting the wrong customers impacts profits, too. For example, if you attract customers who are likely to leave or “churn,” you may incur the acquisition cost without ever seeing a profit from the customer relationship. Other customers may be loyal, but cost so much to serve that they are only marginally profitable.
And love, won't hurt anymore
It's an open smile, on a friendly shore.
Love doesn't have to hurt. In fact, predictive analytics eases the pain. It's the “love potion” that enables organizations to develop true customer intimacy and use it to differentiate from other potential suitors.
What drives a healthy and lasting relationship, then, is when organizations are customer-centric. And really, it's the little things that count.
The next time I tell a retailer, "I need a new pair of running shoes," I would hope they respond, "According to your lifestyle and taste, as well as product reviews from people you know, we recommend the following three choices..."
Just like Issac the Bartender would have done.
And, to tie a nice bow around this article, if you want to see how predictive analytics is used by the real life "Love Boat" see the following video on Princess Cruises: