CIO Leadership, Big Data

Enterprises must go social to know what their customers really want

Is your business at least as social as your customers?

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In the movie, What women want? Mel Gibson’s character gains insight when he gets magical powers to see through the mind of the fairer sex. Enterprises are challenged with a similar need to understand their customers. “Putting yourself in the customer's shoes” is easier said than done. However there are newer avenues to obtain this insight. Today’s customer is not shy about sharing their experience via social media. Enterprises must be at least as social as their customers to process these viewpoints and penetrate the customer mindset — just like Gibson’s character did in the movie.

Here are 5 steps enterprises can take to not only go social but be effective at reading their customers’ mind:

Sentiment Analysis. Social media channels offer a wide spectrum of perspectives that can be continuously analyzed by using the right tools to gauge the general sentiment of the customers. Sentiment analysis must not be a one-time activity.

Complex Analytics. When you are dealing with brontobytes of data, enterprises have to do large-scale complex analysis with the right tools. Enterprises must give strong consideration to using such tools to realize the return on their most valuable asset – information. Such tools will enable the effective realization of business value using the underlying data with the proper meaning and context.

Predictive Analytics. These tools can be used to not only determine the prevailing sentiment today but also predict customer behavior in the future. To do this right, enterprises must start having close encounters with their customers through Systems of Engagement.

CIO-CMO relationship. So, what is the role of the CIO here? CIOs must have a well-defined System of Engagement with the new master of data. The CMO has first-hand insight into the customer sentiment. CIOs must work with the CMOs to effectively automate the continued interaction through social media channels.

Listen to Big Data. Yes. Big Data has had a voice recently. Take a look at the Open Letter from Big Data to Enterprise IT. Doing so will provide enterprises an opportunity to understand Big Data’s own point of view in addition to their customer’s.

I am a customer too at my local coffee shop. I see a big difference between traditional and social feedback mechanisms. Occasionally, I’m given a survey to be filled out on their website. I never do it. But I am not shy about sharing my views on the quality of their coffee and their service in social media channels. I do it on my schedule if I want to. This nationwide chain of coffee shops can glean the social sentiment of customers like me building up on the CIO-CMO relationship while listening to what Big Data has to say. Or, they can simply ping me on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog where they will find out that I am one happy customer because yours truly is a huge fan of their dark roast flavor.

How about you? Is your enterprise as social as your customers? How do you continuously analyze the sentiment of your customers? Please let me know.

Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.

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