In today’s world, the demand for instant results finds its way into every corner of our lives. Instant gratification is no longer a desire—it’s an expectation. If an Uber ride takes a matter of minutes to arrive, users are already on to Lyft or Sidecar to get the fastest pickup time. Who waits for a receipt anymore after a purchase? Email is faster.

 

In Gallup’s recent “State of the American Consumer” report, a key finding states that, “fully engaged customers are more loyal and profitable than average customers—in good economic times and in bad.” Gallup’s findings underscore the importance of how intrinsically connected customer engagement is to a company’s bottom line.

 

In fact, Gallup found that, “a customer who is fully engaged represents an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth, compared with the average customer.”

 

So, how can businesses effectively engage with their customers? This question hits on a deeper issue around how the modern customer operates at warp speed.

 

In what we have come to call the “Era of Immediacy,” retailers must recognize the fact that we now operate in real-time and expect everything instantly. The need for speed has never been so important. If organizations want to engage with their customers, they must do it on their terms, and re-engineer their approach.

 

At this point almost all competitive businesses have adopted big data-driven solutions into their offerings, so the only way to stay a step ahead is not only to do it better, but do it faster. Today, it’s about giving the customer what they want, when they want it and how they want it—otherwise the customer will go someplace else.

 

The Importance of Fast Data

Fast data, as the name implies, is not only gathered quickly, but also shared and acted on quickly, before its shelf life expires and the data becomes exhaust, losing any significance that it may have once held. Fast data offers up the information needed to help address specific issues, drive results and propel innovation in the moment.

 

This means fast data helps enterprises gather real-time insights into what customer are thinking at all times, so they actually have a chance to address issues in the now and keep customers happy. Enterprises need to catch customers and employees when they’re thinking it. In fact, a recently issued report by Forrester Research Inc. predicts, “in the age of the customer, the race will be won or lost based on your firm’s ability to know your customers and react faster and better than your competitors.”

 

For the Viceroy Hotel Group, fast data uncovered valuable, otherwise unknown insight, about potential customers that impacted the hotel’s bottom line. In using faster, big data solutions, the Viceroy Hotel Group experienced a sudden surge in local web traffic. The managers scratched their heads. The locals weren’t planning to stay at the hotel, so what was up with all the traffic? In less than an hour, the Los Angeles-based hotel was able to set up an online survey that asked local visitors what they were looking for. It turned out they wanted a happy hour menu. A quick fix allowed the hotel to make the happy hour menu available to anyone from the Los Angeles area who visited the website. With fast data, the Viceroy Hotel Group was able to deliver potential customers exactly what they wanted, which had a real impact on the hotel’s bottom line.

 

Meet the Voice of the Customer

The vast majority of organizations struggle with having access to the right information, at the right time and place, in order to interact with customers, build new products, and improve customer service. This is why, according to PwC’s 2013 Global CEO Survey, 90 percent of US CEOs say they’re investing significant resources into strengthening their customer engagement programs. This renewed commitment to customer engagement has already begun to have a noticeable impact on how enterprises approach their Voice of Customer (VoC) initiatives.

 

JetBlue Acts At Jet Speed

VoC is fast becoming a strategic initiative for enterprises to better understand their customers and respond to their specific needs. For example, JetBlue noticed that their NPS score at a Philadelphia airport was very low for a particular early morning flight. By focusing on this customer insight, JetBlue was able to trace customers’ dissatisfaction to the fact that the shops and amenities in the terminal were not open early in the morning. This was a problem because customers were looking for coffee and refreshments before their flight. This lack of access to refreshments made for a grumpy bunch of customers. With this insight, JetBlue was able to respond to the problem quickly by passing out water, juice and coffee at the gate in the morning to boost customer morale. This small remedy made a tremendous change in JetBlue’s satisfaction scores.

 

Customers have come to expect the opportunity to give feedback, and to have that feedback implemented or acted on, and this is driving the demand for VoC. It’s a social shift that has been building for some time, and organizations are looking to technology to address the new rules of customer engagement.

 

Don’t Get Left In The Dust

Today, anybody can gather data on nearly anything. The challenge isn’t in finding the right solution to help you gather data; it’s in finding the right solution to allow you to access, and act upon those insights quickly and effectively. Adapt or vanish, the old adage goes.

 

The good news is that we can now collect insights faster than ever before, which allows organizations to make timelier and better business decisions. Better business decisions, enabled by faster data, drive improved business results and, in turn, happier, engaged customers. And, this means more revenue and increased profits.

 

In the “Era of Immediacy,” actionable data is the lifeblood for organizations to give the customer what they want, when they want it and how they want it.

 

The time is now—literally.

 

Ready to have happier, more engaged customers today? Download your free copy of our new eBook “Customer Experience Management: The Need for Speed.”

 

Customer Experience Management: The Need for Speed

Download eBook