The Financial Times of September 17th, 2009 features several articles
on new technology that can gauge customer intentions more accurately.
One of them by FT technology writer, Geogg Nairn
discuses how data analysis and smart algorithms can help businesses
identify the most profitable customers thereby keeping them loyal.
Called "predictive analytics technology" it "uses complex statistical
models and algorithms as well as other data mining and analysis tools."
The article notes that a "recent Forrester Research survey of more than
350 CRM professionals,
“improving customer loyalty” was rated as a key priority by 57 per cent
of respondents and came second only to “improving the customer
experience.” In a plain terms, the technology seeks to limit customer
"churn" as well as differentiating between high value customers and
those that are on the margin if now below. That enables businesses to
offer incentives and rewards to high-value customers. Its use in
hospitality seems self-evident as even among repeat customers it is
clear that not all have the same implication for profitability.
On an (eerily) higher level another article
in the FT on digital technology is headlined "Technology shows what's
on a customers mind." The article quotes the head of customer
experience consultancy, Foviance,
as saying that she looks to "measure consumers’ subconscious responses
– from anticipation and excitement to boredom and anxiety – to a range
of online experiences." In order to that they use neuroscience as
measured via electroencephalography (EEG). "Research subjects invited
to Foviance’s London-based laboratories are fitted with a cap
containing sensors that measure electrical activity in the brain as
they navigate the websites of Foviance’s clients." Experts at Foviance
"make website design recommendations that they claim
will enhance customer engagement and boost conversion rates.
Neuropsychologists, have shown that 85 per
cent of decision-making happens subconsciously, which is why EEG can
offer insights into people’s interactions with websites and software
packages." While that almost seems Orwellian in its reach, it could be
a marketer's dream in any industry thereby enabling a near-perfect of
tailoring of products and services based on true customer expectations.