How to Unlock Customer Intimacy

Imagine a world where every interaction you have with a company, either as a consumer or a B2B buyer, is personalized.  And now imagine that these companies are able to predict your level of satisfaction and the outcomes you want to achieve.  Undoubtedly, that would translate into a pretty amazing customer experience, right?

Well, you don’t have to imagine any longer because it’s already happening.  Big data analytics is making a profound and tangible impact in our lives as consumers and in the B2B world.

mary kay1On the consumer side, a fitness tracker such as Fitbit is a great example. This family of fitness products tracks your activity, exercise, food, weight and sleep. Now, it can even automatically know when you are exercising.  The smart wearable device can detect running, outdoor cycling, walking, elliptical workouts, basketball, tennis, soccer, and even high-impact cardio workouts like kickboxing and dance classes.  But it’s not just a personalized convenience for tracking your steps and kicks.
This is illuminated in an International Spine Study Group study showing how researchers are using Fitbit data to predict recovery times for spinal surgeries.

mary kay2On the B2B side, you have companies like John Deere, a manufacturer of farm equipment, which is helping farmers get more productive yields from their land by building machines that can receive data on weather and soil conditions. This helps them make better decisions on when and where to sow and plough and to predict harvest times and crop performance.

At EMC, we have discovered many ways to deliver a more personalized, proactive and predictive service experience for our customers.  At the foundation of our success, is a three-pronged business strategy that incorporates big data.  As EMC’s own Bill Schmarzo (aka “Dean of Big Data”) reminds us,

“You don’t need a big data strategy; you need a business strategy that incorporates big data.”

Our strategy is comprised of three best practices which I hope will help you and your organization in your journey.

    1. Invest in Enabling Technology –This is the software and hardware that provides real-time, predictive analytics that you can act on to drive better outcomes. For example, enabling technology may provide the foundation for storing data about the customer’s experience— their likes, dislikes, environment, previous purchases, and more. Further, it includes the ability to leverage data to become more predictive and act on needs.
    2. Establish Process & Governance –Formal, embedded processes are required to enable businesses to provide real value to customers and other parts of the business. A solid strategy is important in achieving scale and to support the shift that we see happening around data ownership. The business, instead of IT, is now taking responsibility for big data and the big data strategy.
    3. Focus on Cultural Psychology – The people aspect of the equation cannot be ignored. Internal teams must buy-in to the strategy and be equipped to effectively use the data to provide value. An important component of this is communicating what is expected and what behaviors will lead to success. For example, in our company, we have gone to great lengths to ensure that the people who touch customers understand their emerging role as customer advocates.  Collectively, we must understand the needs, wants, and expectations of our customers – to design products and services. We have shifted our model from being reactive problem solvers, to one where we are proactive and predictive.

This segment from a TSIA conference keynote, delivered by EMC’s Kevin Roche, will help bring this three-pronged approach to life.

At EMC, we are always focused on finding new ways to  better understand customer needs, personalize their experience, and unlock customer intimacy. To learn more about how we are using big data to drive a differentiated service experience, take a look at our Point of View, “Unlock Customer Intimacy through Big Data” and other special content. 

I look forward to your comments about how you are leveraging big data to help your customers, as well as your ideas on how we at EMC can be doing it better to serve you.

About the Author: Mary Cay Kosten

Mary Cay leads a team of 1400 professionals that provide operational support to the Dell Technologies Services organization. Her team is responsible for driving operational excellence and implementing innovations across Dell Technologies Services. This includes areas such as eServices & Knowledge Management, Program and Change Management, Business Services, Remote Support Contact Center Operations, Command Center, Process Engineering and Data Sciences, Data Enablement and Analytics, and the Global Centers of Excellence. Kosten has over 30 years of experience in service and supplier management, with a proven track record in building outstanding service delivery organizations. Prior to joining Dell EMC, she was Vice President of global customer services delivery for Oracle/Sun Microsystems, responsible for delivering all elements of Sun Microsystems’ support services. Under her leadership, Sun achieved the prestigious J.D. Power Certified Technology Service and Support (CTSS) Award for "An Outstanding Customer Service Experience," the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) Award for Excellence in Service Operations, and Sun was inducted into the STAR Awards Hall of Fame. Kosten is a 2008 recipient of the Denver Business Journal's Outstanding Women in Business (High Tech and Telecommunications) Award and a 2006 recipient of the Silicon Valley YWCA Tribute to Women and Industry (TWIN) Award. She also is on the Advisory Board for TSIA’s Field Services discipline. She holds an MS degree in systems management from the University of Southern California and a BS in marketing from the University of West Florida.