Mining customer data to drive growth

With funds earmarked for CRM applications and extensive user training, mobile operators have delved into programs that focus on the customer to ensure loyalty. Pushed with advanced technologies and value-added services, the result has been exponential growth in the customer base.


A prime example is Pakistan's cellphone where, during their initial deployment, the number of users was severely limited. Due to the decrease in prices and expansion of services, however, the masses have now embraced wireless communication.


This development requires that the internal infrastructure of customer care and operations grows at the same pace. Accurate customer profile information and smooth operations that are imperative to sustain growth become paramount challenges for the industry. Software tools such as CRM applications address such needs.


Computer vendors become linked with the software and become the building blocks for producing high-end parallel processor units that can host millions of data entries and provide the back-up facilities to organize data growth. From financial services to the registered purchasers of printer software, consumer databases drive a spiral trend of growth.


After the rapid leap to high-end applications and server administration, the data entries require a replenished algorithm that can read into the data and comprehend any new trends and market analysis from the data stored in servers, generating heat in IT locations around the world.


Typically, businesses observe customer loyalty by entering data on new customers and sustain their clientele with coupons and discounts. This preliminary example of data processing underlines the essence of processing and using data to acquire concrete results.


Beyond price and value


While pricing and product value remain important, creative services will become the catalysts for expansion and consumer satisfaction. Consumer behavior is rapidly changing and influencing the long and cemented product designs and manufacturing processes.


For example, Dell has become the hallmark of this trend as it builds PCs on immediate needs and then creates an entry of the customer and at later stages provides the information and services to maintain and sustain the customer. Dell taps information about the customer and establishes knowledge of hardware, software and applications, involving millions of entries, into a huge data warehouse.


Dell successfully builds on the results of data processing and mining, spotting new trends and propensity parameters well before the market catches on.


From there, the company develops new applications following the trends and requirements brewing in the market.


With CRM, a simple PC with standard database software can help companies use customer feedback to follow their needs and consumption trends. In the US, typical restaurant owners have databases that identify consumers that like, say, chili spaghetti vs. roasted chicken, and use the information to send specific coupons to specific consumers.


A tremendous reduction in cost is achieved, aside from establishing direct connection with the customer. Nothing feels more fulfilling than to know that the company sends coupons posted with your personal name and address and incorporates the items that you have purchased over the course of five months. The consumer senses a commitment from the company.


The key is to enhance the application that is being sold as CRM software.


The markets in the Pakistan IT community are evolving with similar form and structure. The consumer market for phones, wireless internet, digital cameras and gadgets is growing by leaps and bounds. Even the horse and cattle farmers now have phones linked with internet facilities in remote areas.


Pakistan caters to a dense market of second-hand phones. Imagine the results if the common vendor starts entering consumer data and mining this to send coupons to current customers interested in purchasing phones in the future or even thank-you mails with coupons to purchase new lines of video applications and multimedia hardware.


To get into the rhythm of international prosperity, Pakistan merchants need to put a small chunk of their profits into hardware and take advantage of the applications and software that bring the consumer closer and increases customer loyalty.


Ahmed Saeed is  head of CS for Contact Center at Wateen Telecom.