By Mario Toneguzzi
FICO, a leading global data analytics company, is committed to gaining and building stronger customer engagement for businesses through increasing personalization in a world dominated by technology.
“The ultimate goal is really to understand your customer better than your competition and be able to act on that knowledge faster than your competition can,” said Michael Testa, retail and loyalty vertical lead in North America for FICO.
“Because if you can actually provide customers offers, messaging, information, faster than your competition, they’re going to be a customer for life and that is when you are really building an engaging and loyal relationship with them. It’s really the ultimate goal that personalization is trying to get to.”
“Conversations have to be very relevant and engaging for customers and FICO achieves this by utilizing predictive analytics and decisioning systems that deliver personalization at that level. Understanding what a customer has a need for or wants to buy within a certain time frame and then providing that information at the right possible time, is achieving true personalization.”
FICO is an acronym of Fair, Isaac and Company which was founded in 1956. William Fair, an engineer, and Earl Isaac, a mathematician, were the original founders of the company which is today based in Silicon Valley. It was created to help businesses focus on making smart decisions by using math and engineering to do that.
FICO focuses on analytics, decisioning systems and consulting, creating solutions for businesses to make smarter decisions in business speed.
“We take advanced analytics that are needed for specific problems with specific decisioning system applications and with our consulting expertise put it together to create solutions for businesses,” said Testa.
One of FICO’s major solutions is the credit score, The FICO Score, which is used in more than 25 countries around the world.
FICO holds more than 180 patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 100 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.
Testa said retailers can use advanced analytics and decision systems to personalize customer experiences.
“Advanced analytics will help you predict what your customer wants. FICO has a client that is currently using our solution to do just that right now, FICO builds and updates over 4,000 models every four-months that will predict what their customers are going to buy in a specific time period. ” said Testa. “Now that FICO can predict what they’re going to buy, the FICO decision systems identify the best offer and the best message for that customer.”
Testa said “FICO has been utilizing artificial intelligence for over 25 years in its fraud business and has utilized that experience and expertise in its advanced analytics for other industries such as retail.
“Artificial Intelligence is going to make the customer interactions a more meaningful experience resulting in higher customer engagement,” he said. “If a retailer can understand what a customer needs or the reason why they are interacting, that helps alleviate a lot of the friction that happens in the conversation today” he said.
“The customer really has control because of the mobile phone. They have access to information at any time. They have a very limited attention span because there’s so much coming at them…So that kind of stress on people in terms of their attention, their time, for a retailer to break through you’ve got to have a message that can engage quickly, be right on spot, be highly relevant, for them to say ‘yes they understand me. They know what I need. They know who I am.’ And then the ability to act on that.
Testa said the most important element is data to understand customers and to be able to personalize the experience for them.
FICO has been doing personalization in the retail space for over 15 years and we have found that the transactional information is the most valuable. Transactional purchases are much more telling of a customer’s behaviour than demographic profiles.
“Once retailers have the ability to identify a customer to the transactional information then they have the richness of data to do personalization,” said Testa.
He said the company now has taken its operational artificial intelligence system that it’s had for the past 25 years in its fraud business to be able to do what it calls “streaming analytics.”
“FICO can interact with a customer in real time, make a decision in milliseconds, that will actually provide the customer an outcome that seems very seamless. And that’s a huge technology leap forward from where the industry has been.” said Testa.
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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.