Beware of Usurping People With Data

There is no question that technology has changed how we do business. And as our ability to track, quantify, analyze and forecast increases, businesses seem to be placing more and more importance on capturing and assessing data.

This can be an enlightening process in discovering your market’s expectations, as well as what they do and what they don’t like. Statistics can be instrumental in attracting prospects and successfully courting them as qualified leads through to loyal customers. Digital information can be a beacon illuminating trends that inform ongoing strategy. Knowledge is power and wielding that power strategically certainly gives organizations a successful advantage.

Collecting information to better understand the marketplace, consumers and to guide organizational strategy is nothing new — it’s been happening since well before the computer was invented. Though the computer has turned it into its own industry. Large firms now spend huge amounts of money to gather and assess information. In fact, over the past decade corporation’s lust for data and answers had gotten so prolific that computers couldn’t initially handle the volume and complexity required. Now big data seems to reign supreme as marketers clamour for more stats.

However, I wonder if too much knowledge is potentially more debilitating than empowering. If data diving encourages a focus on statistics to the extent that people simply become numbers, then it could distance you from good customer service. Algorithms can determine efficiencies and identify trends, but they can also be too cold and calculating to interpret human/emotive needs and desires. Good business has always hinged on good customer service. There are other factors that influence success of course, but one of the  most persuasive is how much customers enjoy doing business with you.

Using collected or industry data to help you identify market needs can be a helpful and successful strategy; as long as it is informing, and not dictating, the course of action. Ensuring that customer’s needs and satisfaction should always be the top priority.

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