Organizations continue to pour money into big data and analytics to better understand customers, but in many cases there remains a large gap between customer expectations and what organizations are really providing.

That is one of the findings of a new study by Researchscape, which looked at brand loyalty in the age of big data. The study revealed that “despite a wealth of data available about customer behavior and purchasing choices, companies have a long way to go in terms of effectively using this data to better meet customer expectations.”

Indeed, while 88 percent of IT leaders believe that their organizations truly understand its customers, only 61 percent of consumers feel companies understand their needs, the study showed.

“Our survey shows that most consumers are data driven, with 57 percent reporting that they rely on data to inform buying decisions,” said Ashley Stirrup, chief marketing officer at Talend, which helped sponsor the study. “While the majority of companies recognize the importance of data in driving company strategy, many are just scratching the surface when it comes to understanding the dramatic impact customer-360 initiatives can have on increasing their ‘share of wallet’ and inspiring lasting customer loyalty.”

Organizations are significantly increasing their budgets on data analytics and customer relationship management. Many organizations have increased their spending on:

  • Live chat (cited by 66 percent)
  • Data visualization (cited by 60 percent)
  • Retargeting tools (cited by 58 percent)
  • Speech recognition (cited by 52 percent)

Despite those investments, many organizations fail to spend on the other end, to gauge the effectiveness of their efforts.

“Many businesses still do not systematically track basis customer feedback,” the study notes. “Fifty percent or less of the surveyed companies are deploying elementary barometers of customers’ satisfaction.”

The good news: Despite past shortcomings, using data to better understand customers is a top business priority in 2017 for two-thirds of organizations surveyed.

“Today’s IT organizations also recognize the importance of putting customer data in the hands of more employees, with 80 percent of surveyed companies indicating they’re making customer data accessible across multiple business units,” the study said.

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