Filtering the fire hose: AIG refines big data to improve customer experience

By: Elizabeth Clor

November 21, 2014

Customer Engagement
customer experience management
Customer Feedback

“We were drowning in a tidal wave of unstructured data,” said AIG’s global head of customer experience and market research, Jeff Polevoy. Polevoy and other customer experience leaders gathered in New York on Wednesday at Clarabridge’s CX United event to discuss best practices and lessons learned in customer experience management.

Polevoy spoke about AIG’s recent initiative to combine and analyze data from 52 countries, with over 170,000 survey responses in 2013 alone. As a rapidly growing global business, AIG’s homegrown tools were no longer sufficient to detect customer sentiment for key categories.

For other businesses seeking to gain insight and ROI from their feedback data, Polevoy shared his 4-step process for the selection, approval and implementation of a Customer Experience Management (CEM) solution:

1. Develop a compelling business case

Polevoy’s team established a business case for analyzing the huge volumes of unstructured customer feedback data in a timely and consistent manner. They laid out specific criteria that the solution must meet, such as integration capabilities and the ability to analyze data from a variety of disparate sources.

2. Socialize tool with wide range of stakeholders

Polevoy emphasized that a critical step in the process was gaining internal buy-in.  Even for stakeholders who wouldn’t benefit directly, such as legal and IT, it was important to gain cross-departmental support for the tool and its associated benefits.

3. Conduct a pilot project

AIG ran a Clarabridge pilot for both consumers and commercial customers.  For consumers, they analyzed 5,000 survey responses from Singapore. For commercial customers, they analyzed 20,000 survey responses across the United States, Canada and Europe. They identified “working relationship” as their sweet spot—a  category that many customers were talking about in a positive light.

4. Identify mission critical staff

Once the pilot was live and accurately analyzing all 25,000 survey responses, AIG identified mission-critical staff. Polevoy pointed to four key roles:  business (or department) sponsor, implementation owner, analyst, and application administrator. Together, this cross-functional team ensures that the solution is delivering timely, relevant customer insights so that AIG can proactively improve their customer experience.

“Voice of the Customer is not about the metrics—it’s about the reasons behind the metrics,” Polevoy said.

AIG is no longer drowning in its unstructured data and is slated to integrate Clarabridge’s analytics stream into their existing VOC portal and dashboards early next year.


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Elizabeth Clor is the Sr. Director of Content Marketing and Communications at Clarabridge. In this role, she is responsible for solidifying Clarabridge’s position in the marketplace as the leading Customer Experience Management (CEM) technology vendor. Elizabeth has 17 years of experience in high-tech marketing and communications, and is a regular contributor to various marketing publications. She holds a B.A. of English from the University of Virginia.