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A Multi-objective Meta-Analytic Method for Customer Churn Prediction

Abstract

The term ‘metaheuristic’ was introduced in 1986 as a way to label ‘a higher-level procedure designed to guide a lower-level heuristic or algorithm’ to find solutions for tasks posed as mathematical optimization problems. Analogously, the term ‘meta-analytics’ can be used to refer to a higher-level procedure that guides ad hoc data analysis techniques. Heuristics that guide ensemble learning of heterogeneous classifier systems would be one of those procedures that can be referred to as ‘meta-analytics’. In general, researchers use single-objective approaches for ensemble learning. In this contribution we investigate the use of a multi-objective evolutionary algorithm and we apply it to the problem of customer churn prediction. We compare the results with those of a symbolic regression-based approach. Each has its own merits. While the multi-objective approach excels at prediction, it lacks in interpretability for business insights. Oppositely, the symbolic regression-based approach has lower accuracy but can give business analysts some actionable tools. Depending on the nature of the business scenario, we recommend that both be employed together to maximize our understanding of consumer behaviour. High-quality individualized prediction based on multi-objective optimization can help a company to direct a message to a particular individual, while the results of a global symbolic regression-based approach may help large marketing campaigns or big changes in policies, cost structures and/or product offerings.

Keywords

  • Churn
  • Customer churn prediction
  • Ensemble of classifiers
  • Ensemble learning
  • Genetic programming
  • Multi-objective ensemble
  • NSGA-II algorithm
  • Symbolic regression

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-06222-4_20
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Notes

  1. 1.

    churn.txt inside the compressed file at: http://dataminingconsultant.com/DKD2e_data_sets.zip.

  2. 2.

    http://moeaframework.org.

  3. 3.

    www.nutonian.com.

  4. 4.

    http://formulize.nutonian.com/documentation/eureqa/tutorials/modeling-binary-outputs/.

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Acknowledgements

Pablo Moscato acknowledges previous support from the Australian Research Council Future Fellowship FT120100060 and Australian Research Council Discovery Projects DP120102576 and DP140104183.

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Correspondence to Mohammad Nazmul Haque .

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Appendix

Appendix

This extended Appendix provides additional algorithms used in this chapter. Each of these algorithms intend to solve some sub-problems dealt in the main algorithm and readers are highly encouraged to investigate these algorithms for themselves for the continued journey and challenge for solving business and consumer analytics using NSGA-II.

Algorithm 2: Pseudocode of FastNon-dominatedSort

Algorithm 3: Pseudocode of SelectParentsByRankAndDistance

Algorithm 4: Pseudocode of CrowdingDistanceAssignment

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Haque, M.N., de Vries, N.J., Moscato, P. (2019). A Multi-objective Meta-Analytic Method for Customer Churn Prediction. In: Moscato, P., de Vries, N. (eds) Business and Consumer Analytics: New Ideas. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-06222-4_20

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-06222-4_20

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