Payments providers have a unique challenge when it comes to satisfying their target audiences.

Not only do these companies have to satisfy the consumers who send and receive money through their application, but they must also work with the retailers, payment networks and financial institutions that touch the funds at some point of the transaction.

The good news is that payment providers have collected massive amounts of transaction and customer data, as well as access to data and feedback directly from users. Many companies make use of structured data, or information that is easily classified and sorted based on existing frameworks.

But with the right processes in place, payment providers can unlock significant opportunities to gain value from volumes of unstructured customer data. Think about all that text-based feedback available from customers’ social media comments, call center notes, and in-app feedback. Companies can also uncover actionable insights from maintenance logs, support tickets, and other operational sources. While analyzing a seemingly endless sea of data may seem daunting, with the right strategy and tools, it becomes simpler and well worth the effort.

Here are some ways that unstructured data can deliver the right answers to solve the toughest payments business challenges:

Unstructured data can give businesses and edge. Eighty percent of data available to businesses is unstructured. Being able to gain useful insights from this information is crucial for targeting customers’ specific needs and differentiating your company from the competition.

Unstructured data such as social media comments also provides insight into what consumers like and don’t like about the brand, products and service. Executives can then target what to fix, what to sell, and who and how to engage for the best responses. Predictive analytics is an effective tool for transforming data from many sources into tailored customer segments based on buying behaviors and preferences, enabling you to hone cross-sell and up-sell strategies.

Productivity can also benefit. Many companies have more “big data” than they realize, yet to reap the business value it takes a strategic, systematic program to ensure staff can easily access, manipulate, and learn from the data. According to a study by the University of Texas, Fortune 1000 companies could gain $2 billion a year in employee productivity by increasing usability of their data by a mere 10 percent. Effective data management and reporting deliver useful business intelligence for taking meaningful action. Furthermore, companies can accelerate innovation by mining unstructured data to better understand customer preferences and discover unmet needs and market gaps as a path for differentiating the brand.

By closely tracking customer comments, the business can additionally identify pain points and spot emerging issues for taking targeted action to improve customer experience. The instant feedback of social media also enables payments providers to capitalize on opportunities earlier to exceed expectations and drive loyalty.

And if a business faces the challenge of ensuring that customer claims are legitimate for payment, text analytics of unstructured data can help identify patterns of information or specific language that indicate the likelihood of fraud. By combining text mining and traditional analytics as forms are processed, legitimate claims can be handled promptly while suspicious claims can be flagged for closer scrutiny.

The more unstructured data a company can collect, the greater the opportunities for the business. With the right approach, payments providers can leverage data science and text analytics to transform their customer experience, their company culture and their organization as a whole.

Steven J. Ramirez is CEO of Beyond the Arc, Inc.