What SMB’s Can Learn From Big Data

What SMB’s Can Learn From Big Data

SMB’s or small to medium businesses are often reluctant to use data- let alone big data. To a small  company big data can look very daunting; something that will complicate their operation, not simplify it. The stereotype is that big data is made for large corporations, those with so many customers they can’t keep track. This assumption is correct in that big data is an extremely helpful tool in understanding customers and adapting to meet their needs, but the assumption is that it is only for large companies.

Big data is simply a tool that helps businesses become more efficient. Many small companies believe they do not need data analytics because they have close relationships with their customers. The business understands its customers because they know one another, listen to the demand and ensure they can adequately supply. Having a computer in the mix would take away from this human relationship. To a certain extent I can see how this would be a legitimate concern- if you are known as the friendly business who keeps up with their customer relationships and you suddenly neglect your customers to study them on a computer all day, they may not be very happy. But this is not necessarily the case.

When businesses form good relationships with their customers they feel very successful, but what happens when that friendship gets in the way of your revenue? What if the customer uses your friendship to receive discounts or free items or services? What happens to your production rate when you get chatting with a customer and suddenly realize two hours have gone by?

These are all business stoppers that naturally happen when a business thinks they are simply maintaining their customer relationships. It is a human flaw that we cannot see these things happen because we are biased. But these are the types of issues that add up and eventually slow a small business down until they are in some serious trouble. Big data is objective. Data doesn’t care if you haven’t seen a customer in a month and you want to catch up, data will tell you straight up- you wasted an hour of work and these are the repercussions.

This is not to say that small businesses should shut their doors and become computer nerds, they should simply allow themselves to see the truth. Use big data as a tool not to understand your customers better, but to understand your business better. Let data give you the unbiased truth about your production rates and ROI so that your small business can not only be loved, but efficient.

Big Data Improving Customer Service

Big Data Improving Customer Service

Trying to operate in today’s world without utilizing optimization tools such as Big Data is like trying to drive a car with a flat tire. Although Big Data is not the answer to all of life’s problems, it is an incredible resource used to enable companies to perform with the utmost efficiency. 

Zendesk, a software company that controls customer service calls and websites has learned how to utilize big data to perform where human intuition lacks. Customer service calls are usually unpleasant, for both the customer and the service specialist. Often times customers become very upset with the service specialist ( even though the service specialist usually has no control over the issue) leading the service specialist to drown out the yelling. The other  issue is that not all angry customers yell, some can be very call and then turn around and write a horrible review about the company’s service.

With Social Media’s strong influence, a few negative tweets or posts can be devastating to a company’s reputation.

Zendesk’s hope is that their Big Data software will be able to pick out trigger words that have often been correlated with “dangerous” customers. If service specialists are given this information about unusually angry customer, they can make that customer a priority and hopefully solve any issues.

Some may think that it is a bit excessive to use a computer to determine if someone is upset, but sometimes emotions can be lost in translation. Customer service is not something that a machine can do , but when a customer service specialists uses Big Data as a tool for catching an emotions they may have missed, there is a good chance we can make the customer service experience much more enjoyable.

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