How big data analytics can build strong customer relationships

How big data analytics can build strong customer relationships

Customer relationships used to be the domain of the sales and marketing team. Now as technology provides us with granular insights into behaviours and buying processes, these teams are no longer the only flag-bearers for the customer. Instead, great customer experiences need to be owned and championed across the entire business — particularly by the IT department.

To generate and analyse data, it’s vital to have the right technologies in place. As these technologies become more sophisticated and intuitive, stakeholders from across the business can access and interpret increasingly complicated data sets, and that expectation is growing all the time.

According to Datanami:

‘64% of companies are already trying to combine five to 15 sources of data in their quest to find richer, more meaningful insights and additionally, break the silos of data repositories that have emerged in their legacy data infrastructure over time.’

So what are these insights and how can businesses use them to strengthen their customer relationships? Below are two examples of how companies have used data analytics to provide a superior customer experience.

Westpac Australia

Westpac Australia has a sophisticated centralised analytics setup. They do work in a number of areas, but a particularly illustrative example occurred in their retail operations. One of the patterns that emerged when they analysed their retail data were collections of customers that had the same three accounts or products in the same order for the same reasons, yet if one of the three had only two of those products, there was a very high (90%) chance of them taking up the last product in time.

Knowing this, Westpac created an alert in their system so that their tellers could mention the third product to the customers who had demonstrated this particular buying pattern. This small adjustment resulted in a 40% conversion rate on the offering of the third product.

These kinds of initiatives are not only great for the bottom line, but as the above example demonstrates, they can give businesses the tools to pursue a course of action without seeming aggressive and inappropriate. Customers feel understood rather than pursued.


At this year’s CeBIT exhibition, Qantas CIO Luc Hennekens, discussed how Qantas used data analytics to understand every facet of the customer journey. Unlike other industries, aviation has always produced reams of data. Every flight can generate terabytes of data. Qantas’ challenge was figuring out how they could leverage data to improve every aspect of the travel experience from streamlining aviation routes to mitigating delays, allowing their customers to feel as though they are in control of what can be a highly stressful and emotional event.

For example Qantas is currently using a data platform to allow them to tailor their customer service on board. Using a mobile device in-flight staff know about allergies and seat preferences. They can also use this data to establish their most loyal customers and offer them a personalised experience. However, there is a line between being aware of your customers' needs and being creepy. When Qantas undertook a survey of travellers in their frequent flyer program they found that: ‘most flyers said that they want the airlines to know certain preferences (love cappuccinos), but not all their very personal information like their pets' names.’

These insights are very valuable. As Hennekens points out, airlines aren’t just competing with each other, they are competing with anything that the customer may be spending money on because disruptive companies like Apple and Netflix are changing what the customer expects from an exchange.

Key takeaways

As the above examples demonstrate, technology is rapidly transforming the customer experience. At its heart, business has always been about enabling relationships between parties. Big data analytics provides an opportunity to gain deep insights into how businesses can ensure that those relationships are meaningful.

If you would like to know more about about the latest in technology developments, then you should download 2016 CeBIT Australia CIO Summary Report today.

CeBIT Australia CIO Summary Report