Bolster Sagging Retail Sales by Using Customer Insight

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Retail sales across the U.S. fell for the third consecutive month in June as weak employment growth and stagnant wages appear to be restricting spending among many American consumers, according to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department. The data is troubling since it suggests that consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of the U.S. economy, is also weakening, according to Reuters. And while there's no panacea for unstable consumer spending, retailers and other companies can strengthen sales by analyzing and acting on the mountain of customer information that is available to them.

Retail sales across the U.S. fell for the third consecutive month in June as weak employment growth and stagnant wages appear to be restricting spending among many American consumers, according to a report from the U.S. Commerce Department. The data is troubling since it suggests that consumer spending, which drives about two-thirds of the U.S. economy, is also weakening, according to Reuters. And while there's no panacea for unstable consumer spending, retailers and other companies can strengthen sales by analyzing and acting on the mountain of customer information that is available to them.Marketing and sales leaders can learn quite a bit about customers by analyzing how they use various channels for product research as well as their lifecycle stage and personal information. These types of insights can help companies determine whether a customer might be a good candidate for a particular offer (e.g. a parent with a child nearing college age that might be interested in a laptop computer). Company executives can also glean revealing insights about a customer's product interests, needs, and preferences by examining the deluge of customer information that's gathered by the contact center.

Much of the customer data that comes through the contact center is an untapped reservoir of valuable information. For instance, many companies record calls between customers and agents for quality assurance, training, and regulatory purposes. But few companies use speech analytics tools to decipher what customers are telling them or how this information can be used to better understand customer needs and preferences or identify customers that might be good candidates for cross-sell/upsell offers.

Companies that do make use of different types of analytics tools in the contact center, including speech, interaction, and caller experience analytics, have seen better-than-average business results. According to a recent contact center analytics study conducted by Aberdeen Group, companies that use contact center analytics tools have seen a 12.1 percent year-over-year increase in revenues versus a 5.3 percent gain for "average" companies.

It's a safe bet that the types of companies that are using contact center analytics are also taking other types of forward-thinking actions to help stoke sales. Still, using customer information that's available to help employees and management learn more about their customers and then act on this information is certainly a step in the right direction.

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