How does automatic learning of customer preferences improve your business?

Arttu Tolonen • Communications Specialist, Group

By providing what the customers want

Consider the Netflix front page and how it is always filled with the content we find interesting and desirable. In a similar way, Amazon and other modern web services populate their pages with items that just seem to match your needs. Supercell's mobile game Hay Day offers in-App purchases that seem always to appear at the right time, when needed. None of this happens by chance. At those times you have experienced a form of automated learning about you and your spending habits.

Now consider the same ideas working for other services that we use daily. In a newspaper the sports fans would be greeted with sports news, while business and technology buffs would see content matching their specific interests. A personalized car or real estate website would populate its front page with content matching the visiting customers’ desires and specific needs. For a parent looking for that bigger home, the front page would show the best offers of family houses in their area. Imagine the services that greet you with the things best matching your desires and you feel the value.

By helping the customer you help your business, as the customers will use the service that gives them what they want.


By not wasting customers' time

Now consider how Google provides what you want within the top hits after you have typed a few search words and hit enter. Consider how the browser often suggests you the right site after typing a single letter for the URL. If you know what the customer prefers, you can provide almost immediate access to all the things they desire, and this is important for them. Our inherent need is to reach as many desirable things as possible with the limited time we have and the time saved by a service forms us a precious gift.

Imagine booking hotels and flights with a single sentence to Siri. Imagine a web store greeting you with the product you desired and you could order it with single click. Imagine getting what you want instantly, and you will understand why we hold a great preference for the services that provide immediate value and don’t waste our time.

Understanding the desires will help you not waste your customers’ time and as the countless examples demonstrate, the customers will reward you for it.

By supporting marketing and decision making

The same insight that fills pages with interesting content can also be used for targeted advertising and offers. Personalized offers are not inherently different from personalized content and they offer the same benefits. People are much more likely to enjoy and be tempted by the things they desire. I enjoy reading offers for the coolest and shiniest gadgets and I don’t mind hearing more about them. Heck, I even expect and welcome it as a part of good customer service.

The insight into the users’ desires can also drive business decisions. If it appears that people prefer books and movies that have recently won prizes, it should become a priority for a business to supply these items for their customers. This understanding on a shorter time scale guides campaigns, marketing and ultimately sales. At a longer time scale the understanding of the desires guides the development of the whole services and the business. Consider a customer segment that appreciates quality, but is not that sensitive to price. Could you perhaps raise margins by serving them better by recommending relevant items and linking reliable reviews?

Business is about fulfilling the customers' needs and improved understanding of those needs translates easily into improved business.


The future is there for us

These are the rewards that real-time predictive analytics is offering on the customer front. The math behind the concepts may be complex, yet the basic idea is simple. All predicting is based on the assumption that history repeats itself. If the user has preferred sports content before, he'll likely prefer sports in the future. Beyond this fundamental the rest is bookkeeping and using the toolbox of statistics to produce useful and accurate results. This toolkit allows learning user preferences, analysis of their desires, sorting content by desirability, as well as providing recommendations, personalized advertising and marketing, Google-like searching, and much more. Many of the applications around personalization and desires are very feasible and can hold a very high ROI.

This is why recommendations, personalized content, personalized advertising and personalized searches are increasingly common and why they are employed by the winning services and products. This is also why I welcome you to share our passion for understanding each customer need, for serving millions of customers as individuals, and for creating personalized services they both desire and deserve.

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