At a recent customer intelligence event hosted by SAS Institute, Phil
Winters global customer intelligence guru revealed that customer
intelligence is about understanding the behaviour, profitability and risk of

"Customer intelligence for me is all about the creation of new insight that
wasn't there, its about solving business pains and growing your business
using a process that is tailored to your customers and your industry," says
Phil Winters, managing senior partner for Customer Intelligence Agenda.
Covering everything from the basics of what a customer actually is, to how
to use customer intelligence to gain, cross/up sell  and retain customers,
Winters highlighted that customer intelligence is about putting your
understanding of your customers at the centre of everything your business
Creating new intelligence in your business is really a four step process
beginning with focusing on a goal or issue creating specific insight for
that issue, applying that insight in an appropriate form for your measuring
and then measuring the success. "Unfortunately vast majorities of companies
often fail in the execution and measurement of their planned solutions,"
adds Winters.
Working at Customer Intelligence Agenda which Winters refers to as CIA, has
exposed him to a number of successful case studies where clients have
implemented a customer-centric strategy. B
arclays Bank UK was one such success story: seeing their rising competition
and wanting to retain and gain customers through excellent customer service
they implemented a solution that allowed their customers to receive a voice
activated approval or decline for a home loan by phone in less than one
minute. A simple
solution yes, but one that satisfied their customers needs and generated
revenue for the business.
"It doesn't matter if the home loan is declined, what matters is that they
knew the answer within a minute and they could recommend to their friends
that they also check for a home loan in a minute thereby massively
increasing the reach of their home loan program – that is what applying
customer intelligence is all about.
"An example like Barclays really puts insight into a usable form. They
focused on the issue at hand and thought of an original way to make their
customers lives easier," says Winters.
Winters also highlighted that for successful implementation to take place
you have to look at your frontline and those "human touch points". It is
human nature to ask "what's in it for me" and there needs to be a way of
motivating your staff to embrace the idea of using insight to make them more
successful in their work with customers.
At the end of the day, customer intelligence is about knowing your customers
well enough to tailor to their needs. From small things like how your
customers prefer to interact with your company whether they prefer using
internet, phone or paper forms, and providing them with the methods they
want. Cater to your customers needs and they will never go looking elsewhere
for the services you deliver.
"The only ways to grow your business are to retain customers, gain customer
and up sell and cross sell to your existing customers. Leading organisations
have proven that starting with focused applications of customer intelligence
toward specific issues generates an ongoing revenue stream from your key
growth asset – your customers," says Winters.