How to Compile the Right Customer Data for Good Connected Design

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How do you deliver and design a great connected customer experience? You must have the “right” data.

Data is at the heart of designing and delivering a great (connected) customer experience. Without data informing your design and delivery, you are truly flying blind.

But that opening statement leaves us with a few questions, including: How do we do this? And what data?

Let’s look at three things to consider to get started. I will add a fourth later in the article.

1. Use real-time data and customer insights

There are a few types of data you will need to design and deliver this experience. I summarize them with the phrase “customer understanding”, which means that we use three different sources of information and ideas:

  • Listen. These are comments and data. Don’t just ask customers about their experiences via surveys, listen to them too (eg social media, online reviews, etc.). Customers have many different channels and ways to let you know about their needs and desired outcomes, and how you’re performing against their expectations. This also includes the breadcrumb trail of data they leave behind as they interact and transact with your brand. You will have both historical and real-time data to manage.
  • Characterize. Find your customers. Talk to them. Identify their needs, the problems to be solved and the tasks they are trying to do. Compile key personas that represent the different types of prospects and customers who (could) buy from you or use your products or services.
  • Empathy. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to get a clear understanding of the steps they take to complete the work they’re trying to do with your organization. Map their journeys to understand the current state of the experience. Build the service model to understand what happens behind the scenes to create and facilitate the experience.

Related Article: Data Enrichment: Key to Maximizing Customer Experience?

2. Create a single view of the customer

As you can see from my first point, there are many sources of data from and about our customers. The problem is that where the data is collected, that’s often where it stays. It’s in disparate systems, often legacy systems that don’t integrate well with current or newer systems.

Data is not naturally shared between services. And when you have disparate data or data sources that are in no way connected, i.e. siled, employees’ hands are tied and the customer experience suffers. At every touchpoint, customers end up saying, “Wow. You don’t know me at all.” And that equates to a lot more effort for the customer.

In order to deliver the experience that customers expect today across channels, you need to have a source that provides an overview of all the data you’ve collected on each individual customer. So it is a source of truth. You need to consolidate and connect data, connect systems. Data is useless if it is scattered throughout the enterprise.

Related Article: Are You Using the Right Customer Experience Analytics?

3. Provide context and desired outcomes

Designing an experience is pointless without understanding the context for the customer and what their desired outcomes are or what goal they are trying to achieve. To resolve this problem, you must first understand the following:

  • Where is the customer in the journey?
  • What is the customer ultimately trying to achieve?

And then think about what data you have to help you not only understand, but also design and deliver the experience at that time.

So that answers the first question: how do you do that? Now, what about data? What data? I escaped some earlier in the article, but there is an important parameter or adjective to add to that word “data:” though.

You need the good data, first of all. What is good data? It must be contextually relevant. What does that mean? These are data that guarantee that…

  • The good person gets
  • The good content (message, offer, next best action, etc.)
  • At good place
  • At good time
  • In the good size
  • In the good language
  • On the good device

Scott Abel, host of The Content Wrangler webinar series, is the one who compiled this list of seven rights. I just added the precursor that you need to have the right data to get you on the right track. Eight rights don’t hurt; indeed, they will certainly ensure that the experience is one that meets the needs and expectations of your customers.

I mentioned earlier that I would add a fourth element to consider later in the article. Here’s an important consideration when it comes to data at the heart of designing and delivering a great experience: tools.

4. Have the right tools

Data and technology go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Of course, you can generate data without technology, but I can tell you now that you certainly won’t understand it very easily without the right tools. What kinds of tools will you need? Ideally they won’t be disparate but integrated, but here’s what I’m thinking: get a customer data platform (CDP) that pulls in various types of data, including customer feedback, to make sure that c is the case.

Data is the cornerstone of your customer experience strategy. Customers want seamless, consistent, and effortless experiences. Only by using data to inform and deliver the experience customers have will you meet those expectations.


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