With customer touchpoints spanning any number of channels and platforms today, businesses need a way to bring all that data together—to unify it within a center of truth that holds a holistic view of customers and their interactions with the company.
But how do you build and operationalize a center of truth that enables your team to provide a better customer experience, convert at a higher rate, and make informed product decisions?
That was the subject of a recent panel discussion, during DX Summit’s spring session, on finding your digital CX center of truth.
The panel featured Indicative CEO Jeremy Levy along with Dana Crandall (Senior VP of Customer Experience Transformation at Comcast), Agata Bugaj (VP of Product at FullStory), Jeff Bielski (VP of Digital Platforms at Discover), and moderator Dom Nicastro (Senior Reporter for CMSWire).
You can watch the full discussion below, or skip ahead for the panel’s insights on:
- Building a digital center of truth
- Operationalizing customer data to boost CX
- Measuring CX and ROI improvements
Building a Digital CX Center of Truth
The modern customer experience is complex. Customers don’t start in one channel and then stay there. They interact with your brand across channels, they use your product across different platforms. Plus, those channels and platforms—and the way customers use them—are changing and evolving every day.
To create a great customer experience, to build the product and features customers need, and to provide great service, you need a holistic view of customer data. That means you need a center of truth that compiles all these different interactions into one place, in a way that allows anyone in the organization to know everything about the customer.
- What they bought
- When they bought
- How they interact with you
- How your product is performing for them
- How you’re marketing to them
You need all of that data in order to focus your team on the best possible way to interact with customers in a way that’s contextually relevant.
Only once you have that center of truth can you push forward and transition to a proactive approach to CX.
The Cloud Data Warehouse as the Center of Truth
At Indicative, our platform exists to integrate Product Analytics into cloud data warehouses—so when we talk about creating a single source of truth for customer data, we’re thinking about cloud data warehouses as the solution and the center of the modern data ecosystem.
Data warehouses have been around for a while now, but the ecosystem around them has only recently matured. Now, cloud data warehouses (CDWs) and the infrastructure around them can live up to the hype that’s built over the years. CDWs enables businesses to:
- Easily aggregate data from multiple sources into a single repository
- Operationalize that customer data
- Enable everyone in the organization, regardless of skill set, to leverage, access, and operationalize this data
Operationalizing Customer Data to Improve CX
Creating a center of truth for your customer data is, of course, just the beginning. Actually improving CX requires that everyone in the organization has a way to access and use the data you have.
“How do you operationalize that data?” Agata asked. “If it’s just sitting in a source of truth, you’re not getting any value.”
“For us,” Jeremy said, “it’s really about how we operationalize the data in a way that puts marketers, product teams, and data analysts in the driver’s seat to be able to ask and answer the questions they have about the customer’s journey at any time.”
In other words, data access is key, and it has to be democratized throughout the org.
For Agata and FullStory, that means relying on an ecosystem of integrations that ensure the whole team has access to the data they need to do their job—and that that access works in the most frictionless way possible.
For Indicative, that means helping companies that struggle to understand the why and how behind the results of their marketing campaigns, conversion of free users to paid ones, feature usage—really any aspect of CX—to map out the customer journey, see where customers are languishing or disengaged, which features they’re using (or not), and where else they’re engaging with the product.
As Jeremy said, “The secret of how to build a better product is about the data you’re sitting on today.”
Companies often struggle with that because they can’t make sense of the data they already have. That’s why customer data isn’t useful unless you can pull insights from it—unless anyone on the team can turn data into decisions.
Enabling Your Team to Operationalize Data
A center of truth for your CX data is a great place to start, and building an ecosystem of tools that enable everyone on your team to access that data is the next step.
“It’s not just a matter of putting a platform in place,” Jeff said. “You have to make sure the training and culture is in place for them to take advantage of those tools.”
Companies need to give employees the training, tools, and—crucially—the authority they need to solve customer issues and proactively improve CX. Because, as Dana pointed out during the panel, the more you chop up the customer experience and hand customers off from one team member to another, the faster CX degrades.
On the support team, for example, when a user writes in, the agent can either:
- Reply to the customer and ask for more detail, going back and forth until they have enough to solve the customer’s issue
- Log into a tool like FullStory to get the empathy and context they need much more quickly, without having to bother the customer for it
Empowering agents with a 360 view of what the customer was experiencing when they raised their hand and said something doesn’t feel right delivers business value, in that they can field customer problems more efficiently, and CX value by reducing the effort required from customers to get to a solution.
“Depending on the tools you have access to, you can not only reduce friction organizationally—by making sure you have the right information to do your job—but you can actually keep the customer at the heart of it and make it as easy as possible for them,” Agata underscored.
Measuring Customer Experience and Return on Investment
When you use customer data to create a better CX, there are really two ways to measure the ROI of that work:
- Customer satisfaction
- Business efficiency
The first is obvious—a better customer experience improves customer satisfaction and all the lagging indicators of it. But great CX also minimizes the number of unnecessary interactions your team has with customers, making the business more efficient, too.
At FullStory, Agata and the team focus on two questions: What problem are we trying to solve? And how do we know it’s a problem?
It’s that second question that helps with prioritizing and measuring CX improvements. You can ensure you’re focusing on the right things, the things that matter, the things that will move the needle.
But, crucially, when you focus on how you know it’s a problem, you already have the inputs you need to answer the third, vital question: did we actually move the needle?
CX Is a Continuous Process
“While measurement is the key to determining ROI,” Jeremy noted, “the smartest companies are using hypothesis testing, measurement, and iteration as part of an ongoing process.”
When you’re thinking about investing in new campaigns or product changes, you want to know you’re doing it with the best possible chance of success, and you want to be able to measure whether it worked or not.
When you take a data-driven approach, that measurement is much easier, and you can create a continuous feedback loop to drive efforts.
Which campaigns are working?
Which features should you prioritize?
How should you price tiers?
All of these decisions will impact CX and ROI—and all of those questions can be trialed and tested before rolling out changes to the wider audience. You can know the efficacy of the changes you’re making before you make them en masse.