Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What is the effect of email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter etc. in taking care of customers and setting direction for my business in today's world?

Customers share their thoughts, feelings and desires minute by minute across E-mail, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter and much more. Organizations that listen in and mine, organize & analyze these electronic conversations will become leaders in proactively responding to Customers. Those that do not will die. Simply responding to customer inquiries within service levels will no longer be a significant competitive advantage, but seeing where the conversation is going & understanding the future trends will determine success and failure in keeping and acquiring Customers. Very few solutions are available to do this mining.

The explosive use of e-mail and social media is offering brave new opportunities for eliciting unique customer insight from the intelligent analysis of electronic communication. The massive growth of e-mail and social media is a result of its unique ability to bridge time and space in conversational communication for pennies.

Pattern analysis is a foundation of Business Intelligence ("BI") and has significant applications to analyzing electronic communication. Many organizations are already using BI to extract insight from e-mail & social media conversations; while most such applications are rudimentary, organizations are just beginning to realize its importance, particularly when they discern the vast amounts of tacit knowledge resident in electronic communication.

Intelligence agencies of the government have been applying BI to analyzing phone calls, trash, e-mails, etc. to avert calamities and gain insight into future behavior patterns for many years. These organizations clearly understand the power of using BI to leverage such intelligence to save time, money and lives.

What if Toyota had understood the power of BI for electronic communication through e-mail and social media? Since 1995 several customers have complained about break pedal problems in their e-mails & other media long before the major crisis hit Toyota. No doubt, they expressed certain attitudes and issues relating to braking/speed control and, more than likely, also had requests relating to alleviating their concerns. One can argue that BI effectively applied to their communication, at minimum, would have given some employee reason to voice concerns internally or raise a red flag – potentially avoiding the millions of dollars in losses.

The district attorney of New York, however, did leverage e-mail well. Through the analysis of Blodgett's e-mail correspondence and dialog with other employees and bankers, he effectively gathered intelligence and evidence on how Henry Blodgett, lead analyst at Merrill Lynch in the dot-com era, paid lip service to his own public buy recommendations and defrauded investors. Such analysis of e-mail led to a full exposure of the clouded lines between research analysts and bankers in the high-stakes game of investment banking.

These examples illustrate the power that analysis of electronic communication can afford organizations. Given the explosive growth of e-mail and social media, organizations have much to gain by applying BI to their own massive volume of electronic communication to extract knowledge and wisdom of customer behavior. If one believes in the age-old adage, "The customer knows best," then it behooves organizations to apply BI to electronic communication. Such BI can help to gather additional tacit information on customer needs which can be combined with traditionally structured demographics and transactional data to build a holistic view of the customers' needs in real time.

EchoMail's patented Business Intelligence (EchoMail/BI(TM)) tool applies Artificial intelligence methods to mine information from E-Mail, Blogs and Social Media. Strategic consulting services provided by EchoMail team can help you understand how such methods can affect outcome of your future customer relationships.

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