Consumers use multiple touch points to obtain information, purchase products and exchange reviews. Many organizations are struggling to leverage social media technologies and to integrate systems for a better customer engagement strategy. (To learn more about customers and social media, see CRM Meets Social Media.)

However, investing in the online communities and mobile devices will help deal with the struggle. These platforms are the core sources of big data. In simple terms, “big data” is large sets of data that businesses and other parties put together to serve specific goals and operations. Our focus today will be the specific aim of implementing a smarter customer engagement strategy using big data.

Big data analysis is not simple, especially because of the increasing opportunities for customer engagement from the multiple channels to the various devices. The CIO has a daunting task because the entire organization looks up to him or her to collate, curate and utilize the data in the right way.

Big data is important because it helps you understand your consumers better, where they choose to engage with you, who they are and how best to adapt your strategy to meet them. From their interactions with the brand, you get insight into their preferences, likes, dislikes and purchasing motivators. (For more on customer relationships, see CRM Project Failure: Do's and Dont's To Help You Avoid It.)

Here are tips on how you can use big data for a smarter customer engagement strategy.

1. Monitor All Your Touch Points

The first point is to watch carefully all the channels that your customers are using. With the technological advancements, customers are more connected, enlightened and sophisticated. They are not afraid of choosing the mode and channel of communication. Therefore, when you are monitoring their interactions, you will respond accordingly. The CIO’s role is to put together this information for the marketing department to follow through.

For example, if you are announcing a big promotion, you can utilize the insights about the preferred channels to reach out to the specific target audience. You will not waste resources in sending details to the wrong group.

2. Update Customer Databases

Customer databases are easily outdated because of their short shelf life. You need to constantly check their personal details for changes; otherwise, you will be using old data that will not be beneficial to the organization.

When your databases are current, it means that you know what is happening to your customers, the channels they now prefer, the products they are using and what they are looking for in the company. When customers feel that you know them at whatever level they are in, they will quickly engage with you.

3. Create a Single View

You need to curate your data to form a unified database for individual customers across channels. It is hard to know that the client who placed an inquiry via the live chat is the same one who just called. However, using the available analytical tools to curate the data, you will have the valuable insights for use in the future.

A single view will allow you to engage with customers better because you know their history with the organization.

In summary, a smarter customer engagement strategy starts with the data analysis and the customer care representatives follow through with the implementation. The CIOs and CTOs are at the core of a smarter strategy, and by monitoring all touch points, updating customer databases and creating a single view, they will fast track the process.