Achieving a distinct advantage through client data

Mike Herston, Vice President, IT Client Services, InfoCision

The ability to analyze and use data, often in real-time, is a growing and important driver behind providing a superior customer experience on the phone. Your contact center is a priceless resource that sustains and cultivates loyal customers.

“With our demographic and psychographic information, we can deliver superior customer service and a very strong ROI without seeing degradation in the audience size or the results,” says Mike Herston, vice president of IT client services at InfoCision. “It’s simple in our business to say, ‘This person looks like my best donor or my best customer so we should always call or mail them.’ Eventually they will fatigue. What we can do is expand that list with like-kind prospects so you don’t call the same people over and over again.”

Herston and InfoCision’s Business Intelligence Group, a marriage of the marketing and IT departments, utilize data analytics, the process of reviewing raw data to draw conclusions from it. In addition to highlighting opportunities for greater ROI, this process provides the ability to efficiently connect with customers on the for-profit side, or donors on the nonprofit side.

“Budgets are tight for a lot of companies right now, given the economy,” Herston says. “So they need to look for more effective ways to reach their customers, and they’re looking to analytics to be able to do that. It’s really about getting down and peeling the layers of the onion away so we can tailor a message to a particular customer. It’s all about building that customer relationship and being able to anticipate the customer’s needs.”

In the last few years, the data analytics industry has become more procedure-driven rather than data-driven, Herston says. This is tied to the vast amounts of information available and decreasing timelines for deliverables. There’s also a greater reliance on software to be the decision-maker on final outputs or results.

“Where InfoCision differentiates itself is that we’re able to integrate sound business understanding with statistical modeling,” Herston explains. “We certainly use up-to-date statistical analytics. But at the same time, we have an understanding of the day-to-day business of our clients and the audiences that they are trying to reach so we know what we’re actually profiling or modeling. It also means we’re not totally reliant on statistical software.”

Equally important to obtaining data, is using it. For example, script-on-screen technology can take the data and tailor a message in real-time to the individual being called allowing for a very personalized conversation.

“What we’re able to do is enhance the calling experience for that donor or that customer,” Herston says. “We have the ability to model people and predict their propensity to say yes by scoring them in real-time. We can actually tailor a call treatment based on that person’s information. We can tailor a script based on the fact that we know someone is male or female or if we know their age range. We can tailor a script to a household that has a presence of children. The whole idea is that it allows us to deliver a script that resonates with the person we’re calling.”

Companies need to strategically align themselves with partners that can help them leverage the growing amount of data available.

“We make a lot of calls, and that gives us a lot of past behaviors to model,” Herston explains. “We can model internal data specific to a client, and break it down further to the specific audience depending on what the client’s goal is. Let me put it this way, we don’t operate on the one-size-fits-all model.”

Mike Herston is the vice president of IT client services at InfoCision. Reach him at [email protected] or (330) 668-1400.

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