Data is everywhere these days. We’re pretty much drowning in the stuff. And although sometimes it can seem like a lot of noise, in there, somewhere, are the nuggets of information you need to do just about everything better.
You only need to know where to look.
The quest for a data-driven customer experience
According to a recent report, 2020 is the year customer experience finally overtakes price and product as the key brand differentiator. The same report also shows that 86 percent of buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
So, there’s no doubt about it – offering top notch customer experience creates a competitive advantage.
In this case, data is your best friend. That’s why 52 percent of executives say a well-developed data analytics system, with a data-driven marketing strategy at its core, enables them to deliver superior customer experience.
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There are many benefits of a data-driven approach
When it comes down to it, enhancing customer experience through data and insights is the best way to provide the kind of personalized omnichannel experiences customers want. Using a data-driven customer experience helps you:
- Understand your customers. Data provides insight into who your customers are, how they shop, what they buy, and how they prefer to engage with you.
- Retain your customers. Data helps you build better products and more engaging customer relationships.
- Get rid of the ineffective stuff. When there are hundreds of other companies waiting to hoover up disgruntled customers, you can’t afford to miss the mark. Data gives you visibility into what you’re doing wrong so you can fix it before competitors get to your customers.
- Fight fires. Data analysis in real-time dramatically speeds up your ability to respond, and helps to proactively get on top of any customer experience issues before they become damaging to your reputation or business success.
With so many customer experience data points out there, if you’re serious about getting a grip on them all, adopt certain approaches within your organization:
- Think long-term. Getting customer experience right involves a variety of undertakings – not to mention the skills to go with them. That certainly isn’t just going to happen overnight, it requires a sustained and concerted effort.
- Train and inspire employees. Thinking in terms of data requires a shift in mindset. It’s important your employees understand why improving customer experience by using data in turn improves their jobs.
- Measure, measure, measure. For data to come alive, it needs to be measured. As an organization, you need to understand the benefits data-driven customer experience is bringing.
3 ways to use data effectively to improve customer experience
When it comes to harnessing data and using it to inform strategies that create a stellar customer experience, keep in mind these three tips.
1. Get personal
Having an app or website that works is no longer enough. Customers want a personalized experience based on their interests and preferences, and a seamless one at that. It’s all about delivering relevance. And that means creating a unique experience down to the individual level.
- Make recommendations based on past behavior. The likes of Amazon and Netflix have become the kings of this approach – creating and curating suggestions based on the particular tastes of an individual. With the power of data analytics, you can keep customers engaged and wanting more.
- Create targeted messaging. Generic marketing correspondence isn’t going to get you noticed in this day and age. Instead, mold your content based on what is most useful to your customers. For example, you could segment your email list and personalize your newsletter content based on the interactions they’ve had with your website.
2. Smoothen customer journeys
An eMarketer study revealed that a worrying 55 percent of marketers are not confident in their organization’s understanding of the customer journey. Yet it’s crucial for providing insight into why customers behave as they do.
- Map the customer journey. Paint a picture of all the steps customers go through when buying your products or services. The data around each and every touchpoint – which could be anything from clicking an online advert to a particular product bought in-store – offers an opportunity to improve the customer experience. Companies that have built a customer journey map see an 81 percent increase in customer satisfaction.
- Address the user experience. Something as simple as spotting problems with landing pages or issues around page loading can make a real difference to performance. There are so many metrics to dig into around user experience including CTR, bounce rate, and dwell time, among many others.
- Create consistency. An Accenture study revealed that 89 percent of customers become frustrated after having to repeat their concerns to various representatives in different channels. Support customers on their journey using data from previous interactions across multiple channels to provide them with a holistic and seamless experience.
3. Listen to voice of the customer
There’s no better data than what comes straight from the customer’s mouth. Customers are happy to tell you what they think of you and how you can better meet their needs – you just have to listen to what they say.
- Conduct customer surveys. Use surveys to capture customer opinion. A whopping 87 percent of survey-takers actually want to have a say in a company’s future products and services. These customer surveys can be used to generate all sorts of useful insights and metrics, including the widely-used Net Promoter Score.
- Use live chat. Live chat is generally thought of as a way to provide customer support, but it’s an underutilized resource for customer feedback, too. It has the added bonus of often being present either during or immediately after customers meaningfully interact with your brand.
- Pay attention to customer sentiment. Customers like to talk about their experiences. There’s a rich supply of data out there on social media sites, review sites, and even forums, so long as you are willing to go looking for it. You may well gather data that provides insights which would never have come from direct interaction between you and your customers.
Set up your business for success
Make sure you give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding in your data endeavours by creating a setup that supports you. There are few key ways of doing that.
Centralize your data
The customer experience is spread over a wide range of touchpoints and a number of different channels – online, in-store, or on the phone to name but a few.
If you want to really get your head around how each touchpoint and channel is impacting customer experience, then you need to bring them all together in one place. A holistic view is the only way of providing the perspective you need. So, make sure your CRM or customer experience platform offers a unified view of your customer information.
Combine your data
It’s great when a customer scores you highly, but how do you know that’s impacting the all-important financial metrics like revenue, sales or average customer spend?
Only by bringing together customer data and operational data can you see how improvements in customer experience positively impact your key operational metrics. This also helps you prove the value of your customer experience programs to leadership through ROI analysis.
So, use the analytics options in your platform and tools like Data Studio or other software to compare and contrast related metrics.
Use the right tools
Here are some tools to make the data gathering and analysis process easier:
- Survey software. There’s no need to waste time and resources on building your survey strategy manually from scratch. There are plenty of experienced companies out there that provide software with built-in functionality to help you, such as Qualtrics or Survey Monkey.
- Sentiment analysis software. Sentiment analysis is extremely useful as it provides an overview of the wider public opinion regarding particular topics in a way that would be simply impossible if attempted manually. Companies such as Brandwatch provide the software to do this.
- Customer experience management software. Solutions that are designed to measure and improve the customer experience collect data from every customer touchpoint for you to analyze. For example, you can use Acquire software to manage all your customer engagement from one place and create amazing customer experiences.
- Statistical tests. Statistics is the key to drawing meaningful conclusions from data. It pays to have a working knowledge or, better still, enlist the help of experts. Methods such as key driver analysis, text analysis, relate, and multivariate regressions are likely to come in handy.
Put your data to good use
The true power of data isn’t in the insights themselves – it’s in the decisions you make on the back of them. A recent study by SAS found only 23 percent of companies were able to integrate customer insights in real-time.
In fact, research shows 80 percent of data is never even used to make improvements or the changes deemed necessary by customers.
So remember: focus on taking action, instead of over analyzing data. All the data in the world won’t matter if your customers don’t experience any improvement.