The Role of Data in a Leading Customer Experience

For most organizations looking to begin the Customer Experience optimization process, the best place to start is data collection. Regardless of how much time and energy is invested into employee training, CX technology and aesthetic overhauls, if you do not have the right data your brand will be shooting in the dark. Beyond collection and measurement, the ability to convert this data into actionable reports can also play a huge role in any successful Customer Experience program. To learn more about the role data plays in the Customer Experience industry, check out Mark De Groot’s piece posted by Oracle. You can access the piece by clicking here, or by reading below:

This piece was originally published by Oracle on November 22, 2017.

“CX is among the hottest business topics around at the moment, but the principle of knowing your customer, personalising your interactions and putting them at the heart of your business is as old as commerce itself. The challenge today is to do it at massive scale, across an unprecedented number of channels, twenty-four-seven, as the volume and variety of customer signals is exploding.

Many companies are looking to innovations such as AI and chatbots as part of their digital transformation programmes to improve their customer interactions. These sophisticated technologies can certainly be the icing on the cake, but as organisations rush off in hot pursuit of digital transformation, they frequently overlook the substance of the cake itself. And the main ingredient is data.

A data-driven CX strategy enables you to identify your most valuable customers and design sales, marketing and service activities accordingly. It’s the foundation for delivering truly personalised experiences and objectively analysing the factors that really move the needle on customer satisfaction. It’s how you anticipate future behaviours to identify opportunities before your competitors, or prevent customers from spending their money elsewhere. But too often, businesses have a narrow, predefined data collection lens that is used to serve the company’s interest and not necessarily the customer’s.

Combining the raw ingredients

Understanding the customer lifecycle goes way beyond classical CRM systems. To build a true and relevant single view of the customer, you need to enrich structured data by tapping into the rich vein of unstructured customer interactions.

  • Structured data
    Structured data refers to anything that can be organised into a formatted repository and is readily searchable, such as order history, communication preferences, shopping behaviours, address, household composition, socio-economic bracket and online activities. What’s more, in a mobile world, it’s no longer enough to know who your customers are: you also need to know where they are and what they want in context. Location data is becoming a must-have if you want to deliver a hyper-personalised and responsive experience.
  • Unstructured data
    Unstructured data is typically raw and unorganised, such as email, video, photos, instant messages and SMS and, crucially, the free text within social media posts. Social listening can yield real-time insights such as interests, emotions and preferences that are invaluable to behavioural and predictive data analysis.

Only with a powerful combination of structured and unstructured data can you plan how to engage customers with the right message at the right time through the right channel.

Avoiding a half-baked data strategy

As the number of connected customers and devices soars, companies are struggling to manage data volumes on an unfathomable scale. But at a time when some of the most valuable listed firms in the world have made their fortunes by turning data into the new oil, many businesses have yet to earnestly address their customer data as a strategic priority. This requires:

  • A modern CX platform to break down traditional sales, marketing, commerce and service information silos
  • The ability to stitch together disparate pieces of data
  • The analytic framework to understand the opportunities, trends, anomalies and sentiments it contains.

Only then can customer insights be woven into operational processes, giving businesses the freedom to transform the customer experience. “

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