Are you tapping into your customers’ ‘digital halo’?

For any modern business, every potential customer walks around carrying a ‘code halo’ of digital information that surrounds them. Every online click, comment, search or social media post a customer makes provides greater insight into their behaviour, preferences and needs. By tapping into this data and analysing it, companies can understand their customers better, react faster when needed and anticipate future requirements to drive future growth strategies.

But a new study from global IT services and consulting firm Cognizant and undertaken by Oxford Economics, found that when it comes to analysing these ‘halos’, some businesses could still do a lot more to unlock the value and opportunities provided by their customers’ digital experiences.

> See also: What is a true digital enterprise?

The research, based on interviews with 150 senior executives in companies based in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and the Nordics, looked at how digital assets such as websites, apps, mobile services, in-store digital devices and wearables are used to engage with customers to offer them new experiences, in addition to reviewing how companies are using – or not as the case may be – the resulting data.

It found that many organisations don’t have confidence in the quality of digital experience they offer to their customers, and are unable to effectively collect and use the data provided by the digital world.

While the majority of respondents (59%) say that analysis of digitally derived customer data is key to their company’s innovation efforts, there is little confidence in the quality of their digital offerings. Only a third (33%) of respondents believes their customers’ digital experience could qualify as ‘high quality’ and a measely 3% believe that it is ‘excellent’.

Only 24% of respondents in the European study claim to be effective at collecting and using digital customer data, while only 17% are using analytics generated by API traffic to understand their customers’ purchasing journeys both online and offline.

Finding staff with the right digital skills also remains a hindrance to these efforts, with only 44% saying that they have the adequate tools and talent to analyse digitally generated data. Perhaps as a result of these views, fewer than four in 10 respondents (38%) said their organisation has made adjustments to its business model to pursue strategies driven by digital information on their customers.

‘The digital experience that companies offer to customers can be expanded upon, personalised and tailored,’ said Ben Pring, co-director of Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work.

‘We can now clearly see just how far many companies have to go on their digital journeys, especially when it comes to job one: collecting, analysing and distilling meaning from the data that swirls around every digital interaction that every organisation now has with its consumers. These findings should serve as a call to action for those in charge of their organisation’s digital future.’

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...