How do you know if your customer analytics is having an impact? Forrester sets out to examine just that in a recently released report.

Customer Intelligence

The report, entitled The State of Customer Analytics 2012, is the result of research carried out by Forrester between February and March this year when 90 customer analytics professionals were questioned about customer intelligence practices in their enterprises and  the adoption of customer analytics techniques across their enterprises.

For the sake of this report, Forrester describes customer analytics as a set of methods, tools and metrics used to analyze customer data with the goal of better informing enterprises in their quest to win and hold new customers.

The research was not limited to the US, but also included responses from Europe, and even outside Europe, and was carried out across the banking, finance and insurance (14%), utilities and telecommunications (14%),and business services (12%) verticals.

Within these verticals, Forrester found that survey enterprises are largely using customer analytics to:

  • Improve the data-driven focus of the organization: Enabling easier analysis of customer actions and data to provide data driven decision making. In the past this has been limited by the amount of data available. However, with new digital technologies the amount of data available is limitless.
  • Improve customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty: When analytics are used on customer data it improves customer satisfaction (51%), retention (51%) and loyalty (40%) -- key drivers of adoption.

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Forrester State of Customer Analytics 2012: drivers and obstacles

Data And Skill-Related Challenges

However, while those surveyed said they were happy to use analytics to improve the customer experience, they admitted that they are having problems with:

Data management, integration and quality

The integration and management of data from multiple sources is still a major problem (54%) while ensuring data quality is also a problem for half of the respondents. This is only going to get more difficult as more customers use more devices to access more channels.

Human Resources

According to the research, many companies are finding it difficult to find staff to drive the adoption of customer analytics (37%) as well as reporting a general lack of resources to apply analytics. Hand-in-hand with this the inability of many current analytics users to communicate their findings to key stakeholders.

Customer acquisition

The research also found that customer analytics is also being used largely as a way of ensuring customer wins, with increasing opportunities to improve engagement and on-boarding programs. This is reflected in the way enterprises are assessing the impact of customer analytics on business, marketing and customer metrics. Enterprises track the impact of customer analytics across: