5 Ways to Use Data to Boost Customer Experience

By Cleo Haynal

Published on April 11, 2023

A graphic featuring a customer wanting to use data to boost her experience while she sits at her desk with a calculator, an ipad, and her opened laptop while different connected symbols overlay the image

What was your last interaction with a business? Was it through a phone call, chatbot, email, or social media? How did it make you feel about the company?

That interaction is called the customer experience (or CX for short). Simply put, customer experience refers to a customer’s interactions with a company and how they feel about the brand. This is also sometimes referred to as the customer journey, with each stage of the journey known as a touchpoint.

For businesses, creating a positive customer experience is crucial. In fact, 64% of consumers say that they have stopped doing business with a company due to a poor CX.

Bar graph from Verint asking the question, “Have you ever stopped doing business with a company due to a poor customer experience?”

What’s worse, negative customer experience can do real damage to your brand. The National Customer Rage Survey found that 9% of Americans who had negative experiences publicly shamed the businesses responsible via social media or in public.

How can brands respond? Today, modern technology presents an opportunity to improve CX, offering convenience for consumers and brand consistency for companies.

Customer experience is now widely considered to be the most important component to business growth, with 95% of organizations citing it as higher than any other job role. And one crucial way to improve your CX is through data.

Why does the customer experience matter?

A positive experience keeps customers loyal by winning hearts and minds. This is crucial in today’s digital economy, where consumers have more choices about where to shop.

One of the best ways to ensure you are making the most of your interactions with customers is by collecting data about them, such as their demographics, likes, dislikes, and purchasing behavior. Collating this information gives you solid insight from which to improve as a business.

Such a campaign may prove costly. However, with various surveys showing that people are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, it’s easy to see a return on investment for customer experience.

Think about a time you were persuaded to buy a product. This may have been through upselling or cross-selling based on data collected about you with a sprinkling of personalization. Maybe Amazon enticed you with its “products related to this item” section, or an invitation to “buy it again!” Impulse buying of this nature can mean big profits for a company.

Bar graph from Marketingcharts.com showing the Impact of Customer Experience on Loyalty.

How does data measure the customer experience?

Data can illustrate key moments, pain points, and tipping points in the buyer’s journey. It can also reveal unique customer desires. This is sometimes called customer 360 and will be more crucial going into the future. When it comes to CX, data can help you:

  • Identify customer needs

  • Create seamless omnichannel systems

  • Make your customers feel heard

  • Learn how customers engage with your company

  • Understand how you perform against your competitors

With a data intelligence platform of helpful and contextualized customer information, you can gain immediate value from your data to improve CX.

Where do you begin?

Understand your customers

To utilize data to improve the customer experience, you first need to understand your customers and how they engage with your brand. By collecting customer data, you can discover their ages and occupations, as well as their hobbies and lifestyle choices.

With a bit more digging, you will start to understand their shopping habits, allowing you to deduce what influences their decisions, how often they buy things, and the types of purchases they make.

Collect data effectively

In the past, data was seen in a relatively linear way. In truth, the process that leads to a sale is far more varied and individual – and data can help you understand that.

Consider collecting subscription lists from websites, app users, and your email database. Look back at your customer support history and see what you find, or use cloud call centers and AI chatbots to transcribe calls and messages in real-time. Look for patterns in how customers communicate: What do they like about your brand? What do they struggle with or seek that you don’t offer? Analyzing this feedback will give you a well-rounded understanding of your client base and their pain points.

Moving forward, consider adding surveys to your emails or asking for opinions after transactions have been completed. This can help you streamline the process for future customers. However, it’s important to remember that such surveys should not be too intrusive. Questions must be brief and on-brand while providing space for open-ended responses.

Another important metric to consider is the Net Promoter Score, which helps you understand how satisfied and loyal customers are. This also gives you an idea of how likely they would be to recommend your brand.

Finally, let customers know why their feedback is needed to increase brand loyalty. All of this data can then be presented by using customer journey map templates.

Linear map graph from Uplandsoftware.com displaying the digital touchpoints and physical touchpoints of a customer journey.
Make the most of your data

To truly benefit from your data, it’s a good idea to collate it in a single place. This is where a data catalog comes in, accelerating the time to find and understand data and allowing you to find patterns more quickly and efficiently.

Furthermore, a data intelligence platform (or catalog) will help you identify gaps in your data and surface the most popular assets across the organization. Finally, an appropriate sales platform that suits your company’s requirements will help you track progress effectively.

5 ways to use data to improve the customer experience

1. Put your customer first

When you collect data, it would be easy to think of customers as information rather than people. Instead, think of the data as a way to prioritize your customers ahead of the business itself. Known as customer centricity, this strategy is slowly becoming a central feature of many company’s CX orgs.

Customer centricity is about placing customers at the heart of your decision making. That is where your collection of data (and deep understanding of your customers) will come in handy.

In the end, this will allow you to make the best first impression to a potential customer, and even help you win back those who feel unsatisfied.

From a marketing standpoint, businesses should consider offering personalized recommendations to customers based on their past purchases and browsing history. By analyzing customer profiles and preferences, businesses can suggest relevant digital downloads to their customers, enhancing the customer experience and potentially increasing sales.

2. Retain customers

Every company needs a customer retention strategy, with a winback plan in the event that a customer disengages or has a negative experience.

Personalization is proven to retain customers. A recent statista study found that over 60% of people said brands who didn’t make information more pertinent to them would lose their support.

There are many customer touchpoint examples, including customer service records, which you can use to record and analyze the customer journey to help you meet their expectations.

All this would be nearly impossible without data about the customer’s journey.

Circle graph showcasing the top 3 reasons why businesses proactively manage and invest in customer experience.
3. Research your competitive landscape

Creating a business strategy without data is like trying to cross a highway blindfolded. You greatly reduce your chances of success without your eyes open to the existing landscape.

Market research will allow you to obtain fantastic insights into brand awareness. It will tell you the likelihood of your brand being recommended and reveal general customer satisfaction. Even more helpfully, it will reveal gaps in your offerings and customer service and uncover avenues worth exploring, from marketing, to CX, to product offerings..

4. Understand the digital customer experience

Digital markets will continue to grow at an average rate of 21.1% over the next five years; to adapt, companies must understand customer trends online in a more dynamic way. Collecting data and using it well will enable you to make the most out of this lucrative market.

Recent developments in omnichannel communication and the increasing use of AI and chatbots have revolutionized the customer service industry and the experience people have with it. Many people prefer to get answers immediately from a chatbot instead of waiting to speak to a person.

That said, research does suggest that people still like human contact. The digital market needs to blend both physical and digital mediums to obtain the best customer experience.

5. Map and analyze customer profiles

With customer data collected and curated, you can separate your customers into various categories based on their demographics and lifestyle choices. This will allow you to clearly spot trends between groups, target particular kinds of people, and personalize your marketing and sales campaigns to suit specific needs. Indeed, consumers increasingly expect personalized experiences.

Bar graph from Verint showing how personalization of the customer experience is the top priority.

With robust customer data, you can analyze the customer journey in smaller pieces. Perhaps there are several complaints about the user interface on your app, so making this more user-friendly would be an excellent way to improve the customer experience.

How Data Powers CX: The Very Group

The number of customers — and experiences — a company has to manage can be staggering. The Very Group, a multi-brand online retailer and financial services provider in the UK and Ireland, services 4.4 million customers with a mission to “delight customers and empower colleagues with trusted data products and services.”

That means not just communicating the value of what they offer, but also listening to what their customers want — in part through 1.8 million daily site visits and the 344,000 customer queries Very’s chatbot resolves each month.

As Very’s CDO Steve Pimblett described on the Data Radicals podcast, with “data as products or data as the service, if no one’s using your product, or no one’s using your service, then you’ve got all this cost that you’ve built for no reason,” regardless of all the “data work” that’s accomplished.

One element of the customer experience that Pimblett cites is as simple as having enough stock on hand. “One OKR is about increasing our return on stock,” he shares. “Are we buying the right stock at the right volume to make sure we don’t have any out-of-stocks or as few as possible? And also, we don’t want to over-order stock. There’s an OKR wrapped around stock availability, return on stock, and more accurate ways of forecasting the stock that we need to purchase against the customer base that we’ve got.”

Because Very offers hundreds of thousands of products from 2,000 brands, having data that’s reliable, trusted, and quickly updated is paramount to ensuring the customer experience isn’t impacted by unavailable stock.

Start using your data today

In today’s digital world where customer behavior and trends are evolving, data allows you to measure and adapt your practices, making it easier to set clear goals and performance indicators.

For any strategy to be successful, it’s crucial to follow best practices, keep up with trends, and ensure staff are well trained. Today, forward-thinking companies are putting data, analytics and AI at the heart of their business, using these areas to guide their customer experience strategy.

Curious to learn more? Learn how the team at Albertsons used customer data to deliver personalized digital coupons and drive additional funded redemptions totalling $300,000.

  • Why does the customer experience matter?
  • How does data measure the customer experience?
  • Where do you begin?
  • 5 ways to use data to improve the customer experience
  • How Data Powers CX: The Very Group
  • Start using your data today
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