Data Driven CX in 7 Steps
Updated: Oct 24, 2018
In a previous post, I suggested a checklist for creating effective touch-points and continuous customer experiences.
One of the underlying assumptions behind that checklist is, that we “Know” our customers and have a good understanding of their needs and of the value they expect to gain, in their interaction with our brand. This knowledge is the basis for any CX program. Knowing our customer requires an infrastructure of methods, tools and processes. In this post I’d like to present a 7 step process, which is designed as a starter kit, for building the required infrastructure to enable the creation of great, data driven, customer experiences.
Step 1: Map your customer’s life
This is the starting line. We need to understand the person we would like to interact with. Traditionally, we tend to describe our customer in demographic and socio-economic terms: We’ll often use specifications like: “ Women, 25-45, Household income $40k-$60k…”. This makes it very difficult to actually understand the specific person’s needs, motivations, attitudes, expectations and tendencies. Luckily, we are living in the information age, where data is at our fingertips, in rapidly growing quantity, resolution and quality. So, our job, in this regard, is to use as much relevant data as possible, like shades of paint for an artist, to paint the highest possible definition picture, of our customer.
There are various methods and tools which can be used for the purpose of describing our customer. I may go deeper into these in a later post. For now, I would like to suggest just a few methods:
Make sure you and every member of your team, actively speaks with real customers, on a regular basis. This hands on knowledge comes in very handy when we go about characterising our customers.
Use information from your core systems: CRM data, ERP data - Where do they live?, what have they purchased?, what’s their marital status?
Use Web, Mobile and social data. What are they interested in?, Are they active on social? Where?
Ask your front-line employees - They usually know best.
Conduct structured persona definition sessions. I plan to cover this more extensively in
Step 2: Find where you fit in
Now you have a pretty good picture of who your customer is and what their life looks like. It may be shocking, but most of their life has nothing to do with your brand. Having said that, it is still your job to use the little time we have with them in order to create the most fruitful and long lasting relationship. So, the next step is to find where, in that customer’s life, is there a good place for us. At which times? in which place? at what occasions? in which media? At what frequency? What’s their attention span at each point? What kind of value are they looking for?
For example, If you’re Dominos, and your customer is a Footy (Australian Football) fan, and the finals are this weekend , then maybe it’s a good idea to reach out, with an offer for “Pizza for the finals”, via text message, just before he is about to leave work, on Friday afternoon. Your guy will appreciate your helping him to “Finish the week”, your shared enthusiasm about Footy and your help with the logistics of feeding his friends.
If you try to send the same message first thing Monday morning, your guy would, most probably, erase it and might even resent you for bothering him at that time.
Step 3: Define the CCX as a continuum of data points
A quick reminder: CCX is short for “Continuous Customer Experience”. It is a collection of touch points that, when connected, form the complete customer journeys. These are, by no means, linear paths. They may have quite a few forks with several contingencies at every one of them.
When we find all of the opportune points of interaction, in our customer’s life, we can then define them as touchpoints. The task ahead is to collect all the helpful data, about each of these touchpoints, in order to be able to design each of them, in a way that will deliver the right value to our customer. So what is the data we want to collect?
Let’s go back to the Dominos text message example: What data would we like to extract here, in order to know if this message is doing its job? We’d probably want to know if this offer is reaching the right people? If people like it? If it creates sales? Each of these items is a defined data point.
If we take into account the whole customer journey of “Entertaining friends for Footy finals”, then we have quite a few touch points and many data points, that comprise this journey.
Step 4: Break those down to parameters
Next, we go about the task of defining measurable parameters for each of the data points. Relevant parameters, for collection and measurement, in this case, can be:
The number of people who open the message? The time in which it’s opened? Number of click throughs for the link? Number of actual orders? Number of Opt-outs Etc.
At the end of the day, following the behaviour of these parameters, will give us good answers to the questions we asked, at every data point.
Step 5: Create a collection process for every parameter
Different types of data are derived from different places. The information regarding the number of service tickets opened by a customer, will most likely be taken from the CRM system, where the data regarding the number of brand related interactions on Instagram, will probably be harvested from Instagram itself or from some sort of social listening tool.
A very important part of defining a parameter, is defining where and how it is going to be collected. Data harvesting is a topic for a whole separate post, but there are a few high level pointers:
Personal data (Contact info, ID info, medical info etc.), Transactional data (Service calls, purchases etc.) and Financial data, about current customers, will usually be harvested from internal systems like, CRM, ERP, Billing. It is important to create processes for collection, maintenance, extraction and analysis of data, from all of the relevant systems, in the organization.
Data is nothing if it’s not up to date, accurate and definite. So don’t just collect data, make sure it’s taken care of.
Marketing touchpoints, either owned media (site, social profile, app…) or bought media (online ads, promoted content,video pre-roles…), are a great source of behavioural data. It is important that the design of every touchpoint, includes an analytics layer.
Privacy is a big issue. Make sure all your data related processes are compliant with all the relevant privacy protection regulations.
Step 6: Choose a data platform
This is not just a tech issue. All of the previous steps can assist in the formulation of the decision regarding the organizational system/s that will serve as the data infrastructure for the data driven CX. There are definite tech decision points, but also many issues that have to do with data needs of the different internal data consumers (management, marketing, sales, CS etc.).
Most CRM systems can serve as a data platform for initial stages. Larger organizations or companies which are data oriented, may need a more robust, multi-level platform.
Important pointers for this stage are:
You will need to migrate data from various existing platforms to your new, unified, platform. Make sure the elected system allows for a full and easy data migration process.
The data is there to serve the continuous customer experience. For this purpose, its important that data extraction and analysis, are user friendly processes, in the chosen platform.
Plan for the future. Types of data, volumes of data and the reaction speed requirements, will grow exponentially. Your system should be built for flexibility and growth.
Step 7: Have everyone working with the same data set
The most important part of the continuous CX approach, is that every part of the organization, relates to the same customer , and recognizes the customer entity , in exactly the same way.
So last, but not least, it is crucial that all parts of the company use the same data system.
We all know that the current situation, in most companies, is that there are different versions of customer data, in different systems. This leads to annoying friction for clients - Like having to enter your ID number in the IVR interface, only to be asked to provide the same number again by the rep that answers the call.
I will probably elaborate on many of these points in future posts.
These Seven steps are a good place to start or a great reference for the processes which are already in the works, at your company.
Please share this, if you think it can be helpful to other people and add your comments so we can all learn from each other.