What is Customer Intelligence? (hint: it's not Business Intelligence)
If you're a retailer and want to improve Customer Engagement then read on. We've co-developed a tool with retail-focussed digital marketing agency Leapfrogg that assesses a retailer's customer-centric capabilities and it's called the Customer Intelligence Index.
What is Customer Intelligence?
Customer Intelligence isn't the same as Business Intelligence. As a frame of reference, this is how CIO.com defines Business Intelligence:
Business intelligence or BI, is an umbrella term that refers to a variety of software applications used to analyze an organization’s raw data. BI as a discipline is made up of several related activities, including data mining, online analytical processing, querying and reporting.
Companies use BI to improve decision making, cut costs and identify new business opportunities. BI is more than just corporate reporting and more than a set of tools to coax data out of enterprise systems. CIOs use BI to identify inefficient business processes that are ripe for re-engineering.
BI plays a part in Customer Intelligence - the part that enables an organisation to analyse Customer Data. But Customer Intelligence goes beyond software applications.
We define Customer Intelligence like this: the intelligence assets, resources and processes that allow a company to organise itself around the customer, and extract insights that can be used across all customer touchpoints to create a positive customer experience. The stronger the assets, resources and processes the greater the level of Customer Intelligence and Customer Engagement.
How to understand your level of Customer Intelligence?
We break down Customer Intelligence into 3 areas: Customer Data, Customer Knowledge, Business Readiness.
This relates firstly to what data is captured and the consistency and deliberacy of that data capture process, in its ultimate ability to enable an improved Customer Experience. Secondly comes the management of customer data; how it's gathered, the reliability and cleanliness of that data for analysis purposes, how easy it is to access data and the tools used to manage it. Thirdly, Customer Data relates to the way data is manipulated to track a consistent history or profile for each customer and to create useful metadata that can be used to generate insight.
We split Customer Knowledge into three areas: the behavioural and contextual knowledge of the customer based on their past behaviour and profile, the holistic qualitative knowledge of the customer and why they behave how they behave and finally the more advanced predictive knowledge of what customers will do and where your future business will come from. Combining all these things gives a retail organisation greater confidence in deciding what to do to engage customers meaningfully and how to allocate resources.
Business Readiness is not only the strategic readiness of the organisation from the top down to embrace a customer-centric way of doing business. It is also the processes that are subsequently put in place to enable the business to behave like a customer-focussed organisation. Finally comes the way the organisation resources the execution of its strategy.
The Customer Intelligence Index
We've come up with a free tool that helps retail companies assess their capabilities against theses three areas. It also includes the ability to compare against the broader retail industry in order to understand what areas to address first.
It's our belief that the retailers who focus on Customer Intelligence will be the ones who succeed. Their customers will come to expect the high standard level of Customer Experience they set. This will leave other retailers playing catchup, finding it increasingly difficult to answer 'what are the reasons my customers shop with me versus someone else?'