Customer IQ – You Know it When you See It

Great mindSometimes it is just obvious that an organization has a high Customer IQ.  I once experienced it from an electronics manufacturer.  My LCD TV was starting to break down – there were horizontal lines across the screen that appeared periodically.  It was only 4 years old, but well out of warranty.  I called the manufacturer to ask if this was a common problem and if it could be repaired for a fee.  I didn’t expect them to do anything beyond that.  The CSR took my information, said they would open a case file, and someone would get back to me in two days.  Initially, I was slightly disappointed – I hoped to get a simple answer on the phone and then take it somewhere for a repair.  But two days later I was shocked to receive an email stating that they would replace my TV for free, with an even better unit.  It was the best customer service experience I’ve ever had and it was totally unexpected.  I actually wrote a letter to their CMO and head of customer service to thank them and pledge that they had now won my loyalty for life.  But I also asked them ‘why did you do that for me?  How did you figure out that I was worth it because I don’t think you do that for everyone.’  Unfortunately I didn’t get a response, but I now think I know how they did it.  A high Customer IQ.

What is a Customer IQ?  It’s the ability for an organization to make intelligent decisions on each of their customers individually.  We all know what ‘intelligence’ is for human beings, but what does it really mean for an organization?  It’s based on 4 key traits, all of which are powered by technology.

1 – Memory – The first part of intelligence is the ability to remember a vast quantity of information.  An organization needs to have an accurate memory for its customers, which means storing all data related to the customer in one data store and one system.

2 – Synthesis – Memorization of facts isn’t enough.  True intelligence is based on the ability to synthesize those facts into larger concepts or ‘the big picture’.  For organizations, this involves linking together pieces of data, and inferring the relationship between data and the importance of that relationship.

3 – Reasoning – Once you’ve master the facts and understand larger concepts, the next step is reasoning.  For an organization, reasoning is inferring what is truly important for each customer, and understanding what action to take next.

4 – Learning – Intelligence is built through learning – each experience and each decision we make builds our intelligence.  For an organization, that means learning from each decision related to the customer – whether the data was synthesized correctly into one customer record, and whether the recommended actions where the correct ones.

In my case, the electronic manufacturer must have known

I was of a certain value to them and likely to purchase more electronics in the future (which I did – from them).  But I wonder if they were able to deduce anything about my personality, specifically how brand-loyal I would be after a good customer service experience.

Customer Intelligence Management Systems are a new offering built on modern big data technology.  The utilize new data management technology to store data in a more ‘natural’ way as graph relationships, machine learning to improve after each decision, and analytics to reason and anticipate what each customer needs.  Customer Intelligence Management is a significant evolution in data management and analytics.  Learn more about this new technology and how it can benefit your organization today.


About David Corrigan

I’ve spent my entire career helping clients utilize emerging technology to solve their customer data problems. I've always enjoyed solving abstract problems. I've worked with hundreds of companies to utilize new technology, plan and drive to a roadmap, and evangelize and drive momentum for their information projects. During the day, I work on product strategy and marketing for @InfoTrellis, and I'm busy trying to disrupt the customer data and analytics market so that organizations can finally understand every single one of their customers. After hours, I like to take photographs, read, write, practice yoga, or watch soccer - Manchester United and Toronto FC are my teams of choice. Follow me on Twitter @DCorrigan or on LinkedIn at

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