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Why data and analytics are your secret weapon for exceptional customer experiences

It’s an accepted truth in CX – and business in general – that successful differentiation relies on delivering exceptional customer experiences. When we think of delivering exceptional customer experiences, we often focus on delivering service with warmth, compassion, and competency – but in today’s omnichannel realm it goes way beyond that.

We have to optimize and personalize every customer touchpoint – whether that’s in person or via machine. To do that at scale you need strong data practices, because when your employees and technology systems know more about your customers, they’re equipped to provide better service, better support, and more personalized experiences.

Your organization is probably already gathering, processing, and tracking countless data points every day, through every single interaction with your customers. But all that data is of little use unless you have a process for harnessing the insights it can produce.

You need a strategy. Data and analytics strategy drives your business forward, helping you understand your customers’ emotional and relational needs and wants. Companies that capture and leverage customer experience KPIs are better positioned to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, which translates to higher earnings overall.

Which Customer Experience KPIs Should Organizations Leverage?

To get the most out of your customer data, there are three main types of KPIs to focus on: operational, sentiment, and loyalty.

Operational Data

This data represents the logistical end of your customer experience, benchmarking the strengths and weaknesses of your efforts to attract and retain customers. Where are your customers experiencing friction or dropping out of the sales funnel due to technological frustrations?

Some elements to investigate:

  • Website experience. Is the user experience on your website intuitive and easy to use? If your bounce rate is high, it probably isn’t.
  • Shopping cart abandonment rates. If your offering relies on ecommerce, high shopping cart abandonment rates are a red flag.
  • Issue resolution efficiency. This metric refers to how quickly and effectively your team addresses and fixes reported issues.
  • Multichannel touchpoint usage. If you offer multiple customer contact points – like email, text, telephone, etc. it’s important to know how each channel is being used.

Sentiment Data

These data points are focused on a customer’s emotional connection to your brand. How do they feel when they engage with your organization? Is their experience with your brand leaving a lasting positive impression, maybe even replacing their last best experience?

Sentiment data points may include:

  • Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI). CSI measures your customers’ overall satisfaction with your product, service, or experience. This metric lets you know how well you’re meeting customer expectations and find areas for improvement.
  • Customer Effort Score (CES). CES is typically measured by asking customers questions about their difficulty level in resolving an issue. The lower the score, the easier it is to interact with your brand.

Loyalty Data

Loyalty data points provide a measure of how long your customers stick around, whether they come back to your brand again and again, and how likely they are to recommend your organization to their friends and families. Loyalty data goes beyond the one-time experience to assess your long-term relationships with your customers.

Key loyalty data points are:

  • Customer Retention Rates. This is a big one because as we all know, it’s typically less expensive to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new customers.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS). This is a big metric to look at when assessing customer loyalty because it’s based on a single question: “On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or colleague?” The higher your score, the more likely you are to have not just customers, but loyal brand ambassadors.

5 Ways Data and Analytics Enhance Your Customer Experience

Now what? Now that you know the best data points to collect and continuously measure, how use that data to create more efficient, frictionless, and personalized customer experiences? You put that data into action. Here’s how:

1. Journey mapping. Customer journey mapping offers an in-depth view of what your customers are doing and where they’re going, which helps you build an understanding of their patterns and any issues that might arise across various channels and touchpoints. Using data to improve your journey mapping can help make your customer understanding more robust and accurate, enabling you to make meaningful improvements where necessary.

2. Data unification. Adopting a customer data platform that unifies all your customer data into a single location enables you to churn out a singular record for each customer, which in turn allows your agents and technology to view each customer holistically. This means that, even when a customer engages with two different agents or channels about the same issue, there’s no gap in understanding – they’re able to pick up where they left off.

3. Informed technology investments. By leveraging data, you can easily identify what improvements could be made to your data collection and analysis process and your overall customer experience, which leads to a better sense of where to invest your resources.

4. Personalization. With better data and analytics, you’ll be able to establish a more well-rounded picture of customers’ wants and needs, which will enable you to deliver hyper-targeted messages and offers that take personalization far beyond addressing your customer by name.

5. Data reporting. Great data reporting makes data clear, accessible, understandable, and shareable to every member of your business. And the easier the data is to review, the more actionable insights can be gleaned from it.

The Takeaway

The ability to make informed, data-driven decisions is an essential part of business success, and customer experience is no exception. The better your data and analytics, the deeper your understanding of your customers, and therefore the higher the quality of the experiences you’re able to deliver.