To optimise the customer experience - find the story within the data

Change Associates’ recent research into the drivers behind creating the optimal customer experience led to a number of discussions around data, as you might expect

Data surrounds us, it’s everywhere, and there’s so much of it. Businesses that collect data can use it to predict future development; the most successful will use the messages from the data to set direction, communicate with teams and set priorities for customer service and experiences.

This is using big data to create simple narratives that everyone can get behind.

That’s why the second driver in creating the best customer experience we identified in 'Optimising the Customer Experience' is ‘Find the Story within the Data’.

Once the story the data is telling you is identified, you can understand, glean insights and predict. And prediction is power. It’s about forward thinking - and as Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory points out: “The alternative would be to think backwards . . . and that’s just remembering.”

Rob Fraser, former CIO at Sainsburys, told us that Justin King, the then CEO, converted monthly data on the best performing products and stores into top line messages for the business, highlighting the narrative behind the data to get a clearer picture. Once that picture is clear, every interaction with the customer is an opportunity to anticipate, understand and meet expectations, and receive feedback.

John Knell, customer experience expert, told us: “the broader shift to social media and omni-channel delivery were seen as natural accelerators of the shared customer view, encouraging the rise of intuitive, anticipatory customer care in which customers will genuinely be able to say “I’m glad you contacted me about that…”

Of course, this presupposes organisations are a) collecting the right data and b) reacting quickly and effectively to ensure the narrative progresses positively. Collecting the right data requires a whole host of other drivers to come into play, such as really knowing your customer. One customer journey doesn’t fit all. 

Collecting the right data
Knowing your customer, being clear about different segments and their expectations, means it’s then possible to start connecting the other pieces of the customer journey together. Hiring people who are passionate about customer data, working in the right ways, sharing the right data with the right people – all this comes in to play to enable the story within the data to be found.

Ensuring the narrative progresses
This is as much an agenda for IT as it is for HR, communications and marketing as they strive to present the best of the business to market and the customer. Much of this depends on the tools available to us to collect the data. Using internal systems, like HRIS, enables organisations to build communities of practice – informal groups of individuals with similar interests – connecting employees around the customer and finding untapped expertise that can be incredibly useful at the right time.

If you’d like a discussion around how to optimise your company’s customer experience, please get in touch with us at Change Associates, or for a bit more information read the research on what other organisations have done.