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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

5 Ways to Make Better Business Decisions with CX

Five ways your organization can successfully combine CX and BI data while empowering all employees to take data-driven action.

How many times this week have you heard or read the phrase data-driven decisions? Probably quite a few times. It makes sense. Of course you want to make the right decision and having plenty of data on hand is surely a bonus.

For Further Reading:

Master Data Management: The Next Frontier in Managing Your Customer’s Experience

How Do You Make Decisions? (4-Part Series)

How the Trust Gap Is Holding Back Data-Driven Decisions

Well, sort of.

The problem is that becoming truly data-driven is easier said than done. Your organization is flooded with data but is it accurate, relevant, and up to date? Can you actually make sense of it? Is your data measurably driving better decisions? Are customers at the heart of the business intelligence (BI) process? Is a more customer-focused strategy creating tangible business improvements?

The key to success is adding customer experience (CX) insights to the BI toolkit. CX is all about how customers perceive their interactions with your organization. CX management is the process of monitoring and improving customer interactions across all channels and mediums to retain customers, generate positive word of mouth, and ultimately drive business change and increase revenue.

CX programs are built on collecting customer feedback, whether it’s through surveys, comments, reviews, or social media feedback. Leading CX teams will capture and integrate feedback from customers, employees, partners, and vendors, as well as financial and operational data to understand CX through all channels and throughout the entire customer journey.

CX programs affect more than just marketing and customer service. CX insights are powerful for strategic decision making for the entire business. Below are five ways organizations can successfully combine CX data with BI data while empowering all employees to take data-driven action.

Before we dive in, I want to make one observation. Data-driven anything is great, but so are people. What we are talking about is ensuring that people have access to the right insights in the right format and at the right time. Those people are then in a position to bring their brilliant human insight into the mix -- adding human intuition and data points that AI isn’t aware of. We might not quite understand gut instinct, but we are missing benefits if we dismiss its power and relevance.

When we engage our teams with making decisions, they are much more likely to take action as a result of that decision. Use insights to empower your teams, not turn them into robots.

1. Make Connections

BI solutions specialize in collecting information from a variety of sources to provide a comprehensive range of data and a true 360-degree view of the business. If these solutions don’t include both customer and employee feedback, businesses are missing something significant. Most balanced scorecards will now include some measure of the customer experience, but if this is limited to just one headline metric such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) you are shortchanging your analysis. The “customer feeling” measure is only one measure. We need to balance this with their actual behavior.

In the past, we sent long, sprawling surveys to customers because we simply did not have data available regarding their actual behavior. We’d ask: how likely are you to buy from us again, how likely are you to recommend us, and so on. Today, this data is often already available; we just need to make the connections, bring the data together, and run the analysis. However, the customer is only one perspective on CX. Align it with team members’ perspective and you will gain more value. Finally, bring CX data to life -- again through connections with financial and operational data and make CX insights human through the use of quotes and video.

2. Take Action

Too many organizations think reports are the final step. Although reports and shiny dashboards might spark discussion and decisions among leadership, programs need to push the envelope further to truly enhance the customer experience. How do you achieve this? By leveraging all the information to make data-driven, actionable decisions and operationalizing this process across the organization. We have all been in meetings when we get to a consensus, breathe a sigh of relief, assume action will be taken, but find at the next meeting that nothing has changed. Measure the action that follows and the impact on business results. With a keen eye on performance, your organization can optimize decision making at scale in a consistent, measurable, and systematic fashion.

3. Get Everyone Involved

Increasingly, businesses understand that all employees must be tied to CX. After all, the customers pay their wages! A great customer experience involves all team members in the creative and decision-making processes. A BI approach that integrates CX data to get the right information into the right hands across the organization at the right time may sound like common sense but it represents an important competitive differentiator. Make sure other departments can visualize the data that matters to their team members. Empower employees to act on that information so they can see the impact and measure the results of their actions.

4. Capture the Full Experience

What’s the best way to get feedback? Ask for it. Ask key stakeholders, ask customers, ask employees, and ask partners and suppliers to look at the entire journey behind better business decisions. Be careful -- if you ask too often for data that is not relevant or that you should already have, you are going to kill a golden data source. The full experience ecosystem, integrated with financial and operational data, holds the greatest value to drive tangible business change. To get the entire picture, capture these different perspectives and integrate them.

5. Be Forward Thinking

The C-suite is often criticized for getting caught up in short-term revenue growth schemes or jumping on the bandwagon of the latest buzzworthy technology. Integrating CX into the BI toolkit validates choices with a clear link between business decisions and business outcomes -- an executive’s dream! BI and CX solutions are constantly introducing new techniques, making it easier than ever for every business to find a perfect, customizable approach that makes sense for their overall goals. It is important to innovate and find new ways to pull data together. Just make sure they are linked to action, not just new reports and findings.

Final Thoughts

Customer experience must not be viewed as a just a subset of marketing or customer service. CX is a strategic business function that empowers and enables an organization to make data-driven decisions that improve the entire business. Along with a comprehensive BI strategy, CX programs provide the level of detailed feedback necessary for faster, better decisions in all areas of an organization. Together, CX and BI are a critical piece in driving customer-centric, sustainable growth.

About the Author

Claire Sporton is SVP, customer experience innovation for Confirmit, a leading SaaS vendor for multichannel customer experience, employee engagement, and market research solutions. Claire is responsible for ensuring Confirmit delivers the expertise and technology businesses need. You can contact the author via email or on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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