Business intelligence has long been used in fraud detection, cross-selling, price analysis and other applications, but rarely have analytics been applied to simply serving customers better. That's changing, as customer service data gets more plentiful and as new technologies and techniques are applied to the task.
Predictive analytics are being used to determine which customers are about to leave, and to come up with offers that extend the relationship. Real-time scoring and decision engines are matching service and upgrade options to customer activity--even if they bought a new product at a retail store just 10 minutes ago. Voice-recognition and speech-analysis technologies are being used to spot and correct customer-service problems. Data-visualization tools are giving service reps at-a-glance views of customer behavior and value. And Web analytics tools are mining clickstreams for clues as to how to improve the e-commerce and online service experience.
The technologies are there; all it takes is vision, creativity and management buy-in to make them work. This article describes the practices and lessons learned at Dryfus, mobile phone supplier O2, a major regional AAA organization and online insurance provider eSurance.