Complete and accurate customer profiles are key to business competitiveness, and relevant customer experiences. PwC research has found that consumers are more likely to base purchasing decisions on the quality of customer experience1—even over price considerations. Following that trend, nearly half of surveyed business professionals are moving customer experience (CX) to the top of their priority lists. However, collecting and analyzing customer data is virtually impossible with manual methods, so many businesses are opting to deploy customer data platform (CDP) technology to collect and manage the information they need to build holistic customer profiles.
Data Insight Challenges
Although a CDP can help B2C and B2B companies learn about their customers and market more effectively, challenges commonly arise during planning and implementation. For example, data based on activity from different channels is often siloed and can be formatted differently, making it harder to be brought together in the platform. Businesses also realize that the most meaningful insights result from analyzing data from every touchpoint and interaction—in real time, if possible. A company may also need to use data sources outside the organization, such as selling on business aggregator platforms or social media to understand their customers in meaningful ways.
The Right Way to Implement a Customer Data Platform
Businesses can avoid data insights challenges and progress toward their CX goals more quickly if they build a strategy around their use of a customer data platform that includes:
Developing a clear customer experience vision.
Your customer experience strategy should drive the implementation of the customer data platform, not the other way around. Before launching the platform, put yourself in each buyer persona’s shoes and consider how they interact with your company. Then, plan how you will guide them through the purchase journey. Take note of each touchpoint and determine how data insights could improve interactions each step of the way – this analysis will inform the best ways to use your customer data platform.
Put a solid data quality and governance plan in place.
It’s common for businesses to underestimate the time and resources necessary to prepare data for a CDP. When you identify the types of data needed to achieve your customer experience goals, determine how you will feed the customer data platform with quality data, at the same time taking a macro view and ensuring accuracy and completeness at the database field level.
Numerous factors can impact the time and resources necessary for data preparation. For instance, some data may lack time stamps that make it impossible to compare activity over time. Other data must comply with data privacy regulations, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), regardless of where it’s used, adding a layer of complexity to data governance. Work with your entire organization to understand what it will take to use the data you collect—in a timely and compliant manner—and assign resources that will ensure data prep doesn’t create barriers to the insights you need.
Furthermore, to derive the greatest value from your customer data platform, your data quality and governance plan should include establishing common definitions across all departments, implementing consistent business and validation rules, and eliminating duplicates. Ideally, you’ll have this in place before you implement your CDP. It’s also beneficial to kickstart your project with buy-in from stakeholders who will take ownership of data quality, and ensure you have valuable insights to automate and enhance buying journeys.
Consider all types of data
It’s relatively easy to collect operational data, or “O-data,” from internal systems. This information provides insights into you what’s happening day-to-day in areas such as sales, accounting, and website activity. O-data only tells part of the story, however.
Experience data, or “X-data,” results in even greater insights into what your customers want. This category of data includes survey results, products that customers viewed but didn’t buy, complaints, and verbal feedback. It reflects your customers’ feelings, thus providing essential insights into how to increase customer satisfaction.
Competitive businesses will leverage both categories of data in their analysis to inform decisions about how to craft the best possible experiences.
Orchestrate data flow, use, and storage within your digital ecosystem
In general, three types of information make up your data architecture:
It’s vital to understand the purpose of each type of data and where it should be used. Also, it’s important to factor in the kinds of data you use based on the CDP which best corresponds to your organization. Bear in mind that not all platforms allow you to manage data from various sources independently. The best option for your business is the one that enables you to manage data and insights so that it feeds other systems effectively and without duplications.
Remember content is of the utmost importance
Your data insights team can turn their focus to collecting and preparing data, by integrating your CDP with other systems, and troubleshooting issues. However, it’s essential that they don’t lose sight of the fact that their ultimate objective is optimizing customer experiences – not making technology work. Your team must work closely with other departments to understand buyer personas, stages of the buying journey, customers’ motivations and pain points, and the channels on which customers prefer to consume data and make purchases.
Your data insights team should also test and measure results to ensure customer experiences are enhanced in practice—and not only in theory—and adapt content to get the business results that you intend.
Take Incremental Steps to Your Ultimate Objective
Data insights are key to personalizing service and increasing customer satisfaction, but gaining those insights isn’t as simple as flipping the switch on a technology solution. It takes a well-thought-out plan starting with the types of customer experiences you want to deliver, and the data you need to make it happen.
As with any transformational vision, the best plan is to start simple, choosing one aspect of customer experiences to enhance, and learn as you achieve that objective. Then, you’ll be ready to move on to new ways to personalize service, unlocking even greater potential to optimize customer experiences and operate most competitively. Do you have a project regarding the deployment of a customer data platform? Contact us right away!