How brands can become data driven to improve customer experience

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Today, data is how we do business. In the space of just over a decade, data has gone from an obscure entity to a secret weapon to a must-have for any brand looking to weather turbulent times and drive growth.

It has revolutionized consumer insight, and, as a result, we see brands get up close and personal with their customers as they come to understand exactly who they are and what makes them tick.
The way we use data has also evolved. Brands no longer just use the information they capture about their customers to better understand how to sell to them but have developed products, services and even data-based business models that use data to build a better relationship with customers.

Netflix’s original series, Spotify’s playlist recommendations and LinkedIn’s suggested connections are all good examples of consumer-facing businesses using data to give consumers what they want.
These brands have changed the way we watch TV, listen to music and connect with others – and data is at the core of these organizations.

The data pay-off

Alongside targeted advertising and product development, data can also play a rich role in helping businesses improve customer experiences. Done well, your one-on-one interactions with current and prospective customers can bolster marketing efforts and build your brand through solid consumer advocacy. In a data-driven world, customers have come to expect that brands will collect information about them. Rather than becoming frustrated, they appreciate that when brands know who they are they can do a better job at giving customers what they want. The most successful brands have been quick to make the most of this perceived data-pay off, with many becoming more confident asking for data and using insights gathered to improve customer experience. How then can brands make the most of growing consumer willingness to donate their data while keeping their end of the bargain of providing a better customer experience.

Make the most of the data you have

Data is only useful if you can translate it into meaningful and actionable customer insight. Many brands fall short by trying to boil the ocean and gather every last shred of information about the customer. Start by making sense of what you know, and work from there – it’s all about using the right data, rather than galvanizing big data. When it comes to customer experience, brands should use insights drawn directly from the customer themselves. This might include using speech and text analytics, across customer calls to assess their frustration or satisfaction, or following the rise and fall of brand sentiment on social media. Mixing qualitative and quantitative data is important, but – ultimately – all data should link back to your business objectives and be manageable enough to pull relevant insights from.

Create a personal experience

As the use of data becomes the norm, consumer expectations are shifting as well. This means that customers will increasingly expect every brush with a brand to be tailored based on the available data. Use your data to understand your customers as individuals so you offer personalized and tailored interactions. Even a right approach, if delivered at the wrong time will fall short of expectations. Likewise, the opportunity to speak to your customers is rare – you need to make a good impression or risk isolating them altogether from your brand. Knowing when someone is receptive to a contact and understanding what makes them tick is key to getting a fair hearing regardless of whether you’re trying to sell them something or help them resolve a complaint. Customer experience experts can help you interpret the data and take appropriate steps to improve your engagement with customers across a range of scenarios. By doing so, brands can make tangible improvements to overall customer satisfaction levels.

Think outside the box

Brands might be tempted to try to make their data support existing assumptions about their customer base. No one likes being put into a box, so brands should not be too rigid in their segmentation.

To be useful, data should always be used to illuminate rather than pigeonhole customers, shining a light on individual preferences rather than generalizing about group behaviors.

Good use of customer data should empower brands to move away from out-dated demographic segmentations, and approach each customer as an individual with a unique set of habits and behaviors.

Set your data free

When plotting out how to use data to improve customer experience, brands should remember that interactions are, first and foremost, about engaging with a human being – a single consumer with unique preferences and needs at the end of a phone or on the other side of a screen.

Whilst data can be used to inform brands about trends in their customer base as a whole, these may not always apply to the person at the other end of the line, at that moment in time.

Brands need to balance the human element of customer interaction with the use of data. This means liberating their data by sharing it with those engaging with customers on the front lines on a daily basis.

By empowering contact center associates to work with data on hand, you are allowing them to make informed decisions and take judgment calls based on the immediate interaction. Creating synergies between people and data will go a long way to helping brands build the very best experiences, create loyalty and boost sales.

As published May 31 2016 on Marketing Tech News

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