Helping your customers help themselves

With websites now amassing data on their users, the time has come to play back this data in a meaningful way.

Supermarkets can use transaction data to help customers count their calories

Supermarkets can use transaction data to help customers count their calories

Many digital column inches have been spent defining what makes for a superior online experience. Commentators appear to have narrowed the field to a few key requirements: online sites must be personalised, available across all digital channels, visually-engaging, and review-driven.

I would add one more to this list. Online sites must embrace data playback, that is, provide users with useful information driven off their own personal data.   This applies as much to private companies as they do to public service websites. With both sectors now collecting more data than ever on their customers and citizens, this data can now be put to good use, not just to benefit the provider, but also the user.

Have I been vaccinated?

 While many government departments have extended their online capabilities to only as far as e-applications or appointments, data integration technology means that the opportunities to provide greater transparency are now growing.

Take for example the launch of Singapore’s HealthHub app this month. Billed as a one-stop health information and services portal, HealthHub now enables users to access their own (and their children’s) health records including their immunization history, lab test results and hospital discharge summary. The portal does this by pulling together data off hospital, school and registration systems. Users can then further personalise their profiles to receive tailored heatlh information and content.

I love the opera. Any cheap tickets?

The potential result is a virtuous cycle. More personal information is able to generate more personal benefits, which in turn generates more personal information. New research also bears this out within the private sector.

According to online deals platform, RetailMeNot and Kelton Global, 89% of shoppers are willing to part with personal information about themselves in exchange for a more customized mobile experience. For example, in exchange for more tailored rebates, loyalty programmes or promotions, 53% of US shoppers say they are willing to disclose their age, 52% their hobbies or interests, 40%their geographic location, and 32% their income levels.

Am I over-eating?

These findings suggest that the personalisation of information via data playbacks opens up new sales opportunities. Retailers of all sorts should now be thinking about how to retain their repeat customers by enabling user access to a combination of their disclosed and transactional information. For example, supermarkets can help their customers meet their calorie targets by showing the average number of calories purchased weekly. Or telephone companies can help their customers keep track of their broadband data usage aginst their existing plans.

Banks too have much to offer in this space. Simple, the popular app and online banking service acquired last year by Spanish bank BBVA, offers enhanced budget capabilities using data playback. Their Save-To-Spend tool for example, allows customers to plan their daily spending by automatically factoring in upcoming bills and savings goals.

The possibilities are endless. But the message can be summed up quite simply. Be relevant. Otherwise your customers will find a provider who is.


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