“The customer is always right.” That is a common saying everyone is familiar with, but what about their experience? Regardless of the outcome of transactions with customers, how you get to the end result has a big impact on business.
With 86% of buyers willing to pay more for a great customer experience, providing for your customers is an important aspect of any business. Using data to gather this information is an effective way to gauge how your customers feel about their interactions with you.
With insights from data specialists, we look at how you can be using data to level up your customer experience.
The importance of data
Using data in relation to customer experience gives insights that you previously may not have been able to see. Knowing what your customer wants is a core element of any business. This is where data comes into play.
James Slattery, Sales Manager at Zendesk, says “customer expectations have changed rapidly over the years, with convenience ultimately becoming king. Customers want service that is timely, efficient and gives them what they want. Digitisation has changed everything – there is an expectation among customers that online transactions will be completed quickly and effortlessly.”
Data can also provide large-scale metrics on customer satisfaction and help pinpoint gaps in the customer experience journey.
“Data represents the voice of the customer,” says Edward Ho, Lead Data Scientist at Optus. “Without individually surveying each customer, through well-structured data, we can learn a lot about what makes our customers satisfied with our range of products.”
“Data can also help us detect changes in customer needs due to new technologies made available in telecommunication devices. For us to maintain and exceed the customer’s expectation of the quality of services we provide, we need to continually listen to our customers through data.”
Katarina Dulanovic, General Manager of the Data Office at Allianz, says “digital customers have come to expect advanced technology solutions that will make doing business easy, timely and efficient. They expect you to know them, what products and services they desire and be tailoring your offers to them, not for a mass market.”
Putting data into practice
A study by Aberdeen Group found that companies using analytics to understand customer engagement are better off than those that don’t. The study found significantly higher cross-sell and upsell revenues, better returns on marketing investment and higher annual profits in businesses utilising data.
Here’s how leading companies are using data to understand their customers and provide a better experience.
For Zendesk, data revealed that customers especially value self-service. “The latest Zendesk CX Trends Report found that customers now highly value companies with online resources, predominantly features that enable them to answer their own questions through self-service before getting in touch with customer support”, says Slattery. “Customers are almost four times as likely to use self-service as a company is to offer it. Only about 10% of agent teams are offering self-service.”
“We are also starting to measure customer effort scores. This means quantifying how difficult or easy it is for a customer to contact a business via their preferred channel, at a time that is convenient to them.”
Zendesk is also looking into emerging technologies that can help improve the customer experience.
“We’ve seen a move to more messaging-based customer service via platforms such as WhatsApp. These platforms drive a more efficient two-way conversation that customers now expect,” says Slattery.
“These core technologies have existed for a while, but are now becoming smarter and are able to identify gaps in knowledge bases. Live chat tools are incredibly agile. Businesses can implement them on their websites in a matter of minutes with a short piece of coding.”
Slattery goes on to explain how Zendesk is working to understand customers’ needs to better the customer experience.
“We have cultivated a great culture of rigorous research and curiosity in relation to what customers want. Knowing that you can’t assume anymore, as customer expectations are rapidly changing, helps us to better our practices. We have always been agile and adaptive to these trends. Being forward-thinking in predicting where customer experience is going is key to staying ahead.”
At Optus, utilising data starts with ensuring everyone has a solid understanding of data science and practices.
“Optus is committed to upskilling data literacy across the organisation with many facilitated internal training courses,” says Ho. “We even have our data professionals running ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions on specific topics or newly developed data products.”
“We are seeing an increasing trend amongst all levels of marketing, sales, commercial, customer experience and service getting their hands into data to learn more about our customers. I have even seen some marketers getting quite hands-on with SQL programming to reach deeper for data.”
Ho also breaks down the many disciplines and uses for data at Optus.
“The realm of data has so much more to offer than data science. Data projects have a much greater chance of success when working together with other specialisations. Analytics Analysts, Data Engineers, Business Intelligence, Visualisation Specialists and Data Governance teams can all meaningfully contribute to these tasks. Many of my colleagues are self-taught individuals driven by curiosity and passion for data.”
By investing in a suite of data-related initiatives, Allianz is using data to empower its customers and bring value to the business.
“We are delivering performance dashboards that are available directly to our corporate clients so they can see all their insurance policies and claims,” says Dulanovic. “Including historical data across all client-related locations across Australia enables them to manage their costs.”
And the benefits don’t stop there.
“Using data to analyse our customers’ experience accounts for greater customer retention and growth,” explains Dulanovic.
“Data in my organisation is seen as an asset. Our strategy is highly dependent on data that will deliver digital by design, support our growth strategy and ensure we protect and grow our market share.”
There are many roles that benefit from data literacy. Allianz sees the importance of this and is proactive in bettering everyone’s data knowledge.
“We see data across our organisation as being everybody’s business,” Dulanovic says. “Every person in our organisation is a data citizen. With that in mind, data literacy and data culture is part of our ongoing data literacy training open for all roles in our industry.”