You know it’s crucial to understand your customers better than the competition. You’ve heard that gathering customer insights can boost that understanding. And you may have noticed a lot of buzz about business intelligence.
But what’s behind those concepts? And what do they mean for your business? Here’s the deal …
Business intelligence (BI) refers to the tools and techniques used to turn raw data into useful information for business analysis. Once affordable only for the biggest companies, BI is now budget friendly and easy-to-use for small and midsized businesses.
Using BI doesn’t require you to purchase costly new software or learn complex techniques. In fact, you can take advantage of technology you may already own, like Excel. Excel (which is part of Office 365) can help you discover, visualize, and analyze your data. And Power BI for Office 365, a cloud service, works with Excel to provide a complete self-service analytics solution. The upshot for you? You can organize your customer data in a single place, create personalized dashboard and interactive reports in as little as five minutes, and analyze the resulting information to discover new sales opportunities or business risks. And, you can do this from any device.
For example: maybe you’d like to know more about how customers perceive your bicycle shop. You can take your internal customer data, like who bought a bicycle from you, and combine it with publicly available resources such as a community survey about bicycle shops. You can then identify sales trends among existing and potential customers – based on their shopping preferences or purchase intentions – and optimize your product promotions and shop experience to attract more customers. Or perhaps you want to understand which of your marketing efforts is working best. You can create collaborative Power BI sites that put all the data together, across digital, sales and support, for instance, so your team can make and share reports from anywhere. This allows your whole team to spot opportunities and focus marketing efforts where they will make the most difference.
The bottom line: BI technology can give you more customer insights, can help you build better customer relationships and deliver more profits for your business.
Customer intelligence ‘terms at-a-glance’:
Big Data. Extremely large sets of raw data that technology can analyze to find patterns and trends. Big Data continues to grow exponentially in volume, speed, and complexity. And is no longer accessible only by the “big guys”.
Business Intelligence (BI). Tools and techniques for turning raw data into information that can be analyzed. The goal of BI is to transform large quantities of data into insights that can form the basis for fast and wise business decision making.
Customer Analytics. Specific version of Business Intelligence (BI) where customer behavior information is analyzed. This involves using past customer behavior to make key business decisions and to predict future patterns of behavior.
Customer Relationship Marketing (CRM). A technology-based system for managing dealings with prospects and current customers. CRM technology is intended to support deeper and more profitable interactions with customers.