Actions speak louder than data: business initiatives and customer experience

There’s a reason for big data’s namesake: it’s big, it’s growing and it’s everywhere. Businesses collect information via text, voice call, online chat and more. However, having access to data and effectively utilising it to drive strategic business initiatives and deliver a stellar customer experience are two different things. An analysis released by IDC predicted that the big data market will reach a $150.8 billion valuation this year—and surpass $210 billion by 2020. Unfortunately, 32 per cent of executives say that massive amounts of data have made things worse, leaving companies struggling to turn customer data into effective sales and retention strategies.

At a time when customer expectations are sky high, an inaction is no longer an option. To be successful, business leaders must extract the right insights and take the appropriate steps to drive sales and build loyalty.

A data-driven customer

Customers are communicating in more ways than ever, creating multiple touchpoints that give companies a glimpse into behaviour, wants and needs. Yet, in spite of customer data being everywhere, Vanson Bourne found that 66 per cent of UK customers believe that companies are using old data about them, and 64 per cent think organisations make assumptions based on a single interaction.

And these customers are right. According to a recent survey, 39 per cent of C-Suite leaders admitted to heavily relying on just one data point as a basis for making changes, and just over half of organisations trust “gut feelings” about customer data rather than analysis. In addition, many businesses aren’t using analytics, primarily because they think it’s too complicated, there are too many data sources or the data doesn’t have any perceived value.

>See also: How the customer experience just got personal with data analytics

So, what’s the root cause? It may just be an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality: 68 per cent of survey respondents admitted to avoiding a major change initiative until there’s a problem. It’s no wonder that 59 per cent of respondents admitted they had led unsuccessful change initiatives within their organisations, and nearly half of those failures were because companies didn’t deliver what customers wanted. All of this points to the fact that companies are looking for customers insights in the all the wrong places. To find the insights in the noise, business leaders must narrow their view to include direct feedback from the very customers they serve.

The complete view

While a quarter of business leaders leverage customer feedback to solve a crucial problem with a product or service, they’re only seeing part of the picture. Their most common sources are ratings and reviews (49 per cent) and social media (40 per cent). Neither source really shows the complete view of customer sentiment across social, email, phone, chat and other communication channels. In an omnichannel world, it’s important for organisations to look across all touchpoints to gain a holistic view of the customer. Only then can leaders pinpoint the right feedback to make necessary changes.

With terabytes of data rolling in daily, it may sound impossible to piece together enough data to understand the customer, but often that data is sitting in plain sight.

>See also: Automation makes customer experience more human 

Every day, agents in the contact centre are communicating with customers across all channels, creating a treasure trove of data that many organisations simply ignore. Contact centre data is often siloed—only 12 per cent of organisations rely on contact centre data to make decisions. However, the contact centre is rich with customer data coming from phone calls, texts, emails and social media. With the help of omnichannel analytics, organisations have access to a wealth of information that is coming directly from the customers themselves. Now it’s a matter of understanding those conversations and taking appropriate action. Only then will data become important.

The contact centre can capture the voice of the customer like no other part of the organisation, so it’s time that the department has a seat at the executive table. Breaking down these data siloes isn’t necessarily a speedy process, but a great way to start is by aligning contact centre priorities with business goals. From there, leaders can gain critical insights without diving into the tidal wave of data. With contact centre insights, all parts of the organisation can finally make informed decisions using direct feedback that clearly defines customer wants and needs.

In this digital world, data isn’t going away. As the amount of data that companies collect increases, businesses must find an efficient way to take action. Otherwise, that data is meaningless. With the help of the contact centre, business leaders have direct access to customer wants and needs. Now it’s just a matter of using that data effectively across the organisation to make the customer experience great.

By Kris McKenzie Senior Vice President and General Manager for EMEA at Calabrio 

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