We’ve all heard the terms “big data,” “Internet of Things,” and “artificial intelligence” making their way into business over the past few years. But as 2018 approaches, these technologies continue to become even more prominent. What’s more, they’re opening new doors for companies when it comes to customer interactions.
For example, a recent Forrester report predicts the combination of big data, IoT and AI not only will give businesses access to more data, but also allow them to gain better insights through deeper and more mature data analysis. Per the report, while two years ago “only 51 percent of data and analytics decision-makers said that they were able to easily obtain data and analyze it without the help of technology, Forrester expects this figure to rise to around 66 percent in 2017.”
With that, it’s not surprising to learn analysts are expecting more than a 300 percent increase investment in AI this year – all with the goal of helping businesses to retrieve more data, conduct more sophisticated analysis and make faster decisions.
So how does this impact customers?
It’s rather simple. When organizations can collect more data from their products (think smart appliances, for example), they can integrate insights from data analysis into their customer relationship management system. Over time, businesses can begin to anticipate the needs and questions of both new and returning customers, making service more proactive.
Here are a few predictions around how the use of big data, IoT and AI will continue to evolve and how your company may be able to use them to get – and stay – ahead.
Old merges with new
As big data technologies continue to grow and advance, they will be integrated with more traditional analytics platforms already in place. This integration is just as important when it comes to IoT technologies. In fact, Forrester expects to see the number of players offering IoT insights capabilities double in 2017. As with most technology adoption curves, experts expect the increased availability of these offerings to lead more organizations to invest in this area and to begin incorporating data into strategic plans.
As the sophistication of data analytics takes off, companies will be able to gain new insights into their customers’ experiences. This information can then be used to offer more self-service options, new forms of service automation like chatbots for fulfilling simple requests and greater personalization around both sales and support programs. The result should be more favorable customer interactions at all stages of the customer journey.
An enterprise-wide initiative
Big data and IoT are driving businesses towards a decompartmentalization of knowledge. More and more organizations will likely begin to implement roles such as Chief Data Officer (CDO), but – more importantly – the entire C-suite will be responsible for the data collected. This will be accompanied by an increased, enterprise-wide focus on gathering knowledge about customers and gaining insights from this information. The result will be faster and more decisive business decisions.
CRM is key
With this arrival of better data, organizations can get better results. But insights gained from big data must be integrated into CRM systems and made available to teams for both strategic and tactical use. Data mining reports deliver customer intelligence that must then be embedded into CRM technology. Customer service must be armed with the knowledge gained from data analytics and be ready with answers for the most anticipated questions and problems that may arise. Gathering and analyzing customer data is useless if it’s not delivered in an efficient and powerful way to your frontline customer service agents.
The increasing focus on big data, IoT, and AI brings new challenges for organizations, but it also brings new opportunities. Forrester predicts that customer data management projects will increase by 75 percent, a testament to the higher priority being placed on data mining and analysis. This new focus crosses all segments and departments of the business. Organizations will be able to take the insights gained from this more mature data and create a more focused and dynamic customer experience.