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Using descriptive, prescriptive and predictive analytics to improve customer experience

With business costs rising, it makes sense to automate some processes – particularly repetitive tasks – cutting down on paperwork, labour and human error, ultimately boosting efficiency, customer satisfaction and even bottom line results. So what can be automated? Here’s our run down on descriptive, prescriptive and predictive analytics and how each can help you:

Descriptive analytics

Descriptive analytics mine historical data to identify common patterns and correlations between certain outcomes. It’s the best way to distil large volumes of data into succinct and easy-to-understand insight that you can use going forward. For example, Google Analytics, is descriptive analytics. You can see how your keyword positions have changed over the last month, but you won’t have an exact reason why that happened. 

Predictive analytics

As the name suggests, predictive analytics looks at what could happen in the future. Algorithms look at a huge amount of data to forecast on anything, such as when a customer will need a new product, to the most popular services. It can even look at factors for dissatisfied customers so that brands can assist them before they go elsewhere. It’s not guaranteed because nothing can accurately predict the future, however, it certainly helps to forecast.

Prescriptive analytics

This type of analytics takes descriptive data and uses it to make recommendations for future actions and improvements. It integrates various techniques, such as data mining, modelling, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) to transform the data available into focused marketing action. It also looks at what should we do to reach the desired outcome. An example of prescriptive analytics is a self-driving car – the algorithms behind them make millions of predictions during each trip, deciding when and how fast the car needs to move safely to reach its destination.

Descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics can all work together to create a high quality customer experience. Descriptive looks at the past, while prescriptive focuses on the present and the future, and predictive only the future. By relying on all three types of data analytics, you’ll be able to use past actions to increase knowledge of customers, predict what will happen in the future and recommend potential actions that will create a more personalised customer experience. Win, win.

Read our related blog: Data driven recruiting and HR analytics

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