Every sport has its own lingo and scuba diving is no exception. For example, you will hear one diver say to another, what’s the viz? In other words, what is the visibility when you are under water. But what comes to my mind most often is “plan your dive, dive your plan”. My scuba instructor drilled that into my head.
Why do I think about this so often? It applies to almost every project I manage at work and probably the same is true for you. You need to create a plan for each project and then follow your plan!
When you start a project, you need to define it. This includes creating objectives, outlining the scope of the project and incorporating feedback from the stakeholders. Next you need to create the project plan which details how you will meet those objectives through discrete tasks starting from project kickoff until the final delivery. Part of the plan will be a timeline with a cushion for the unexpected delays and problems that will inevitably come up. In addition, your plan must include a list of deliverables and most importantly the KPIs that will tell you if you have been successful or not. It is vital that you determine your success metrics at the start and that they are consistent with your objectives.
Once a plan has been developed, reviewed and agreed upon, you need to follow it. So often interesting findings in the data try to lure me away from my objectives. It’s as if the data is populated by sirens calling to me as they did Odysseus, as he tried to return home to Ithaca. I don’t mean you should ignore interesting findings if they merit exploration but you have a choice. You can revise your plan to reflect them or make exploration of these interesting findings part of a subsequent project or phase. Be sure to fulfill your original objectives before moving onto something else.
An interviewer once told me he was thinking of creating a loyalty program and wanted to know what he should do. Loyalty programs can be a valuable tool for driving revenue and fostering customer loyalty as I have written about here. As I noted in another post, they can help you make smart marketing and merchandising decisions.
However, a loyalty program needs to be grounded by your business needs. Ask yourself first:
- What am I trying to achieve? Do I want to improve customer retention, drive revenue or encourage customers to purchase multiple products and services from my company?
- How will I measure success? What metrics will I use to measure if I am achieving my goal and can I track those metrics on an ongoing basis?
- Will my program be public or private? Some luxury brands enroll customers in loyalty programs based on their spending habits and reward their best customers without letting them know they are in a loyalty program.
- Will my program have tiers? Explicit tiers can encourage customers to stretch and reach the next level.
- How will I reward my customers? It is important that customers value what they receive in return for their loyalty.
There are significant financial considerations to any loyalty program so Finance will need to be involved in the development and design of the loyalty program. But these questions will begin the dialogue about what the loyalty program should look like. Once you have it in place, you should monitor the program’s health.
Customers want to tell others about their experiences with your products and services. Are you listening?
With text analytics you can quickly convert their unstructured feedback into data that can be analyzed for insights whether they be customer complaints about service, information about product defects or praise for a great customer experience. This information can be used to quickly address problems and learn more about your customers.
There are a variety of Text Analytics tools available. They will automatically categorize the text. However, you will want to tailor the algorithms to capture key words for your industry or region. If you have ever visited the Boston area, you may have been surprised by the number of times that the word “wicked” is used in conversation. “Wicked” in this area is used to mean very as well as bad or evil. Similarly, your industry might have lingo that is special like “BOGO” which means “buy one get one”.
Text Analytics tools will also enable you to extract key words or concepts. For example, you might want to capture your brand or products and see what people are saying about them. They will also determine if the sentiment is positive or negative.
Overlaying what your customers are saying with their attributes – their loyalty, lifetime value and experience with your brand – will enable you to understand and compare feedback across customer groups. This will help you prioritize and tailor your response. Combining customer data with customer feedback will provide a context for what your customers are saying.
One of the reasons I enjoy being a member of a book club is that I get introduced to books I would not have chosen myself. The current book club selection is Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver which is the story of what happens to the residents of a small Appalachian town when Monarch butterflies unexpectedly migrate to their town. Imagine my surprise when I read an excellent definition of the old adage, “correlation is not causation” in this novel.
The book before this one was A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson. The term chi square automated interaction detection appears in this novel about a World War II Halifax Bomber pilot, Ted Todd. It is usually abbreviated to CHAID. For more information on the technique, click here.
I wonder what will be in the next book!