‘This relationship’s going to last forever’: Using data to find your soulmates

Back in 2010, at the Techonomy conference in California, Google’s founder and CEO, Eric Schmidt, acknowledged: “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003.”

This was six years ago - a recent report by Cisco stated that global mobile data traffic grew by 74 per cent in 2015. And Professor Patrick Wolfe, executive director of the University College of London’s Big Data Institute is quoted in 2015 as saying: "The rate at which we're generating data is rapidly outpacing our ability to analyse it.”

I think we all know the feeling. The array of passwords, security codes, multiple email addresses, information and important dates all contribute to a culture of ‘data overload’ which can be challenging to manage.

Take your other half’s birthday, for example. When it comes to that time of year the memory bank fills up and you’re left with a list of things you need to plan, usually with minimal steer from your partner. It’s assumed that you’re omniscient and an expert in anticipating everything: what your significant other wants for their birthday, where they want to go, who they want to see, who they don’t want to see. The list goes on.

But what if there was a way that you already knew the answer to all of these questions, because you had collated hints and tips from previous conversations, learnt from previous successes and failures and been in regular contact about current likes and dislikes?

We’re not talking Artificial Intelligence-style predictive intuition. This is more to do with remembering hints and previous conversations you’ve had not just with your partner, but also their family members and friends. There’s only so much information you can absorb. If only there was a way that you could process all this information so that you knew exactly what your partner wanted, without having to directly ask them when it’s time for the ‘birthday conversations’.

The same translates to the business-consumer relationship.

Know your soulmate inside out

Customers have the same level of expectation, so failing to remember what they like and dislike is just deemed lazy and uncaring. The businesses that do well are those that know their customer inside out; creating an advocate for life.

There is a fine line between caring and creepiness, but being transparent with your customers’ data enhances trust and long-term loyalty. A global Microsoft study in 2015 found that 99 per cent of consumers will share their personal data for rewards, providing the brand asks permission.

Caring is sharing – boosting your other half’s ego

If you get something right in the relationship with your partner you feel a sense of achievement; a ‘brownie points’ situation where they are pleased that you remembered that little quirk they have.

In the business-consumer relationship, the same is true. Your customer will be thrilled that you remembered them and that you’d already thought about what they like and tailored your approach to them.

Not only will that customer remember this and return for a personalised service, they’ll also share their experience with other people, raving about the interaction they’ve had. A sort of “they know me so well” moment.

Sixth sense relationships

Businesses and partners that are intuitive – who know what the other wants without having to ask (again) – will see a long-term relationship blossom. You’ve got to get to know your customer and remember what it is they prefer, what they like, and how they like to be engaged with.

This isn’t about being devious and underhand with the information you have; it’s more about learning and understanding your customer to constantly provide a better experience each time you engage with them.

It’s clear that investing the time in your relationships pays off. By looking at the information you have about your customers and learning their likes and dislikes, you’re able to build up a relationship based on understanding and trust; a relationship that lasts forever.

Daniel Bailey, director Northern Europe at Zendesk

Image source: Shutterstock/Jirsak