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Customer Intelligence

1 July 2010
Anat Katzenelnbogen
A hand touching a screen with a smiley face and stars

The term Customer Intelligence refers to the process of collecting and analyzing information regarding customers, both personal details and the actions they perform so that not only will the client be heard but also understood. This process is performed in order to improve the strategic decisions decided in different departments of the company (sales, marketing, logistics, product development etc) and in order to create optimal relationships with customers and in turn create further business opportunities.

Customer Intelligence is an important component in managing client relationships, and when it is implemented effectively it can serve as a rich source of insights on the behavior and activities of the company's clients. For example, clients that leave the store without purchasing an item do not appear in the company's traditional CRM systems, yet the company is still interested in knowing why did these clients leave the store without buying anything. This information can be retrieved by sending a questionnaire to the shops' salespeople and if possible by checking with these clients. This way, the company can get more insights regarding the clients' behavior when interacting with the company.

The Client Intelligence collection process

Client Intelligence is based on basic factual information about the client. For example, the geographical area he/she lives in. this information is added to the existing information on the activities performed by the client stored in the CRM systems (for example, which purchases were made, which requests were made to customer service and through which communication channels did the client make this request). Furthermore, the company can also use the competitive information about their competitors as well as the information collected through mystery shoppers in order to get a perspective on how the service/products they provide are viewed in the market.

Customer Intelligence analyzes customer segmentation, cross-selling data, cost of customer treatment, information on customer satisfaction, clients' credit point analysis, market analysis and more. When performing these analyses on the received information in the right context regarding the competitors, the status of the market and general trends-it is possible to identify trends regarding clients' future and current needs, receive information about their decision making process and make assumptions regarding their future behavior.

Examples of information sources for collecting information on clients

Conversation analysis- monitoring telephone conversations between the company and the customer through phonetic or textual analysis in order to find words or expressions that enable classifying types of conversations and identifying trends.

Analyzing clicks in company websites- monitoring activities in company websites, this information can provide clues regarding products that interest clients and their purchasing aspirations.

CRM systems use software tools that assist in managing client relationships and store information on type of clients and reason of request.

Textual analysis of satisfaction surveys uses a textual analysis tool that will assist in understanding the client's needs and the gaps between them and the current situation.

Analyzing the effect mailing to clients on the company's sales performance uses an analysis tool for checking the affect of sales activities on the company's sales.

The advantage of using Customer Intelligence

Using costumer intelligence assists in processes related to many departments in the organization, such as: sales, marketing logistics and product development and enables better matching of sales to customers' needs, if needed, changing treatment processes and interfaces with the clients and enables to:

  1. To efficiently adjust the right messages to the right target audience and thus improve the exposure to the target audiences.

  2. Expose business opportunities suitable for the clients' needs while developing an answer to these needs in order to improve the company's profitability.

  3. Evaluating competition that might affect the buyers' decisions.

  4. Identify the centers of influence and the buyers' decision makers.

  5. Improve collecting processes- through identifying problematic customers.

  6. Improve the service provided to customers- by treating customers' reason of request and improving the cost of service-improving processes.

In conclusion, Customer Intelligence is one of the central business analysis implementations which provides the company with a competitive edge by combining information related to customer relationships and BI analyses. It enables a better understanding of experiences with customers when interacting with the company and allows the company to review the reasons for customers' behavior. This knowledge can assist in enhancing effectiveness of strategic decisions made in the company and ultimately retain customers in the best possible way as well as recruit more faithful customers.

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