There’s no denying that every business today, regardless of size or industry, is driven by two simple words: customer experience.
But what exactly is the customer experience? You may think you’ve heard these words tossed around enough to inherently understand them, but you’d be surprised to know just how many variations exist today. In fact, it takes nothing more than a quick Google search to yield a number of unique CX-related results.
For instance, there’s “total customer experience,” which is defined as a customer’s opinion of a company’s products or services. There’s also “customer experience management,” or the process of supporting interactions to meet and exceed customers’ needs. Of course, there are then several definitions of the customer experience itself, including everything from a customer’s psychological perception of a company to the process of improving overall satisfaction.
We found many descriptions of the customer experience, yet only a couple that emphasized what CX is really all about: the value and impact of a customer’s interactions with a company over time.
Those last two words are critical. Every experience we have with a brand, an employee, a spouse, a family member or friend differs based on our circumstances and needs. Yet it doesn’t seem enough businesses truly understand this concept. If they did, they’d be implementing the right technology to ensure they’re delivering consistent customer experiences across all channels and touchpoints—something that only 32 percent of CEM executives say is a legitimate concern.
No two experiences are ever the same, so why is the customer experience—the holy grail of business today—widely perceived as a singular one? Why aren’t more businesses supporting experiences that grow and change alongside their customers’ preferences, behaviors and needs?
Data: The Key to Delivering Amazing Customer Experiences
If the customer experience is the heart of every successful business, then data produces the heartbeat. Data is vital information that the “body” needs to support relevant customer experiences at every touchpoint (in other words, to survive). This is exactly why nearly half of businesses this year are working to create a unified view of customer data that is available to all key internal stakeholders—an initiative that only 30 percent of businesses were focusing on back in 2014.
The “customer experience” may not be realistic; however, the process of consistently delivering amazing customer experiences—in which each interaction is meaningful to each individual customer—is possible, but it has to be driven by data.
It seems the majority of companies understand the importance of using data to drive the CX, but do they understand how to actually do so? After all, more data doesn’t necessarily mean better results. Better results happen when you convert data into actionable insights that drive better business outcomes.
So, what are the greatest data challenges affecting companies today? Here’s what our research found:
- Drawing data from individual channels while avoiding silos: Research shows that the average contact center processes data captured through at least eight different channels. More channels mean more data, which leads to greater opportunity to hone in on customers’ wants and needs—but not when you have a siloed data view. A single, unified view of customer data is a must, and it seems many companies struggle to achieve this without the right technology.
- Processing data in a way that enables you to anticipate engagement: You can’t assume to know what your customers are thinking or expecting; rather, you need technology that can help you anticipate this. Predictive analytics allows companies to analyze structured and unstructured data to predict the likelihood of such things as customer spend, retention and churn. Research shows that companies that use predictive analytics are able to retain nearly 30 percent more customers compared to non-users.
- Providing employees with real-time support: Research shows that top-performing contact centers are almost 40 percent more likely to provide agents with real-time guidance to manage customer conversations. Again, this indicates a need for businesses to do more than just collect data but to actionably use it in the form of continual training and coaching.
In today’s CX-driven world, it’s imperative that every business has a clear focus on what the customer experience means. At the end of the day, it all comes down to ensuring your company is centered on the experiences it’s delivering, driven by the right tools and technologies.