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How to lose your customers: keep them frustrated

Innovation Summit gathers global experts to provide insights into data-driven strategies and the latest analytics and technology trends and innovations

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Recent research commissioned by Experian, with Forrester Consulting, revealed that most customers (51%) are so fed-up with slow sign-up processes that many will simply abandon their application altogether.

This was one of the key messages delivered by Experian South Africa at its annual Innovation Summit in Johannesburg recently, when it discussed why investment in technology and analytics is a must if business is going to meet rising customer expectations.

“We continue to live through a period of significant economic and political uncertainty and that is putting extra pressure on organisations to make efficient and effective decisions,” said Mark Wells, chief customer officer at Experian SA. “Acquiring a more sophisticated view of our customers’ behaviour and the markets we serve is critical, if we are going to survive and thrive in these unpredictable times,.

“Customer retention is one key element of this challenge. Customers no longer expect but demand a seamless end-to-end customer journey when they are dealing with organisations of all shapes and sizes, across all platforms. The secret to keeping up with their demand lies in harnessing the potential of data-driven technology.”

Offering a frictionless and fluid customer journey is vital for any business that is serious about keeping their customers happy in a fast-paced digital world. According to the Forrester Consulting research, 74% of businesses say that improving customer experience is a critical or high priority, but 28% admit they are not sure they offer a friction-free service to customers. And just 35% are using automation to help them make accurate decisions about new customers, which can radically speed up processes by removing the need for human involvement.

“The good news is that the solution is there to solve this problem. It all starts with the data,” said Wells. “By combining access to traditional and non-traditional credit data with complementary data science and machine learning tools, organisations can now access even smarter insights to understand their market and make faster, more accurate decisions, even if a customer’s circumstances change during a time of financial uncertainty.”

He said organisations need to access the widest possible data universe, encompassing internal and external data sources, traditional, non-traditional, structured and unstructured, current and historic data. They need to use data science, machine learning and on-demand analytics to reveal new and unique data attributes and patterns of consumer behaviour over time.

“By doing all this, it’s possible to widen their prospect pools by identifying new, underserved markets and customer segments without changing overall risk appetite. It also removes the costs, risks and complexity of building an integrated in-house data and analytics ecosystem,” he said.

According to the Forrester research, 82% of businesses say that they know how important data, analytics and AI are to their prospects, while 71% plan to invest in advanced analytics and automation as a priority in the next 12 months.

Said Wells: “It’s encouraging that so many businesses have identified investment in new technologies in the coming year, because it will enable them to identify the right customers and serve them far more effectively. Taking some of the pressure off in the process.”

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