Business Intelligence

April 11, 2011

How many times do we hear a company CEO say these words: “We are customer driven/focused/oriented, or this one: “We thrive on customer satisfaction”, or “The customer is king” and then see these same companies file for bankruptcy a few years later?

Did theses companies really listened to what their customers had to say? To me what these companies failed to detect that their market was shifting right beneath their feet, while their “loyal” customers were changing their habits and tastes these companies stuck to their traditional tools like customer satisfaction surveys, customer focus groups, and paid market research studies, or even the good old “The customer doesn’t know what they want; we do”. These tools have their own merit, but are not enough to predict modern customer behavior patterns fast enough. We as customers have evolved; we are way more educated and have access to powerful tools that enable us to do our own market research in Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs, Forums, etc. When I need to buy something I can find where, how much, how fast, customer reviews the whole shebang in less than an hour. I can ask my friends on Facebook, or send a tweet to get direct feedback; this is what Business Intelligence (BI) should really be about. To me BI is simply listening to your customer through his buying patterns and adapt quickly to meet these needs. Some big companies are already ahead of the pack in BI, it is now that some cheaper tools are available to do this huge data crunching at a smaller scale. As more affordable these tools become, we the customers will be the real beneficiaries, since companies will go the extra mile to offer us what we want before we even know that we want it.

So when you start getting invitations to attend concerts you would die to go, discount coupons for those killer shoes, or a discount seminar to learn that skill you’ve wanted to develop; is because some companies have studied our consumer behavior using BI tools, and tailored their offerings to our particular taste. Groupon.com is one perfect example of an organization that uses BI extremely well.

Until the next time, cheers…

Carlos

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