Tiffany CarpenterTiffany CarpenterOctober 3, 2018


Tiffany Carpenter is Head of Customer Intelligence Solutions at SAS UK, and is a Judge at the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards.

I’m delighted and excited to be on the judging panel at the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards, which are taking place on October 11.

The entries are in and more than 100 companies have been shortlisted – a clear signal that Customer Experience has gone mainstream and organisations are recognising the positive impact and business value that can ensue.

Having reviewed the entries for the Best use of Insight and Feedback category, I noticed several recurring themes in the submissions that made the shortlist.

There is increasing acceptance that Customer Experience is the new battleground for organisations, and a study by Forrester found that CX leaders delivered compound annual revenue growth rates (CAGR) of 17 percent, compared to just three percent for CX laggards. 

Gartner  also reports that nearly all companies will primarily compete on Customer Experience rather than price in the coming years. Yet many companies struggle to tie their Customer Experience strategies to genuine business results and end up losing momentum in their efforts to optimise the CX as a result.

To secure ongoing investment and achieve the growth rates suggested by Forrester, it’s critical to provide the proof points back to the C-Suite of how investment in Customer Experience initiatives are driving tangible results.

What I noticed about each of the shortlisted organisations in this category was that all had clearly identified the goals and objectives of their customer insight and feedback initiative, and were able to align it to business strategy. What’s more, each of the organisations were able to articulate the major wins from their Customer Experience initiative across a range of metrics including increase in revenue, lifetime value of customers, customer satisfaction and advocacy, reduced churn, and fewer complaints.

These are the operational fundamentals for most businesses, and therefore will not only support ongoing investment but highlight the case for much wider ownership of Customer Experience – including at senior levels, within all organisations.

Another recurring theme was the integrated approach to collection, analysis, distribution, and action across a variety of customer data and feedback. We’ve never had more detailed data about what consumers want, how they act, and what their experience is as they interact with the organisation. Meanwhile, new capabilities such as big data, machine learning, and the Internet of Things are giving companies exciting opportunities to listen to and understand their customers in ways that were not possible just a few years ago.

Yet detail is one thing; clarity and actionable insights that enable organisations to become more responsive to customer needs and deliver more compelling experiences is quite another. The organisations that made the shortlist were able to look beyond the fog of data to identify the insights and actions that would make the biggest difference to their customers and deliver tangible business results.

Companies have been struggling to overcome customer service and data silos for decades. The operating model for most companies is organised around business functions, products, geography, or channels rather than around the customer.

These silos naturally lead to  fragmentation in customer-facing processes and are a significant barrier when it comes to delivering a consistent, end-to-end Customer Experience. The reality is that customers don’t think of organisations in terms of business units and channels, they see the organisation as one single brand and they expect relevant, consistent, personalised, and seamless experiences whenever and however they choose to interact.

So I was very impressed to see the creative ways that customer insights and feedback were being used to break down these organisational silos. Those that were most successful in achieving this had ensured their planning and preparation phase included aligning and influencing stakeholders from both within and external to the organisation, ensuring everyone understood the vision, their role, and that ownership and accountability was clearly agreed.

I’m looking forward to meeting each of these organisations and hearing more detail about their initiatives when they present to the judging panel at the awards finals. My key takeaway from this first round is that those organisations that demonstrate business impact and value are most likely to gain additional investment in Customer Experience, and, crucially, will be poised to win the battle for customer hearts and minds.

Find out how SAS is helping Royal Bank of Scotland transform its organisational processes, improve employee engagement, and deliver excellent customer service.

Tiffany CarpenterTiffany CarpenterJuly 25, 2018


Tiffany Carpenter is Head of Customer Intelligence Solutions at SAS UK, and is a Judge at the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards.


In the ‘Age of Now’, where consumers have more choices than ever and their expectations of brands are higher than before, Customer Experience and being ‘obsessed’ with customers is your only opportunity for competitive advantage.

Remaining relevant in the experience economy

Over the last few years we’ve moved from a product and price-based economy to an experience-based economy, and the experiences that organisations deliver to customers are what drives loyalty and ensures they continue to do business with you. With consumers easily able to compare products and prices in seconds, continuing to compete in this area alone is a race to the bottom.

To avoid this, organisations need to focus more efforts on Customer Experience and that starts with understanding as much as we can about customers – what they want, what they need, what their preferences are, and how they feel.

Avoiding the race to the bottom

Much of this data already exists and is available to organisations today. Every day, across millions of interactions, your customers are sharing valuable insights with you.

Digital channels provide a huge opportunity to capture the digital breadcrumbs or footprints that customers leave with every visit. In fact, technology has advanced far beyond capturing page and content level clicks, to being able to capture granular behavioural and experiential data at individual visitor level, including everything a customer does and everything a customer sees.

Advances in technology and analytics mean it’s easier than ever for organisations to harness this data and glean valuable insights. And what’s more, customers are becoming savvier in this area too. They expect you to know them and deliver relevant and consistent experiences, regardless of the channel they choose to interact with you.

Peering into the past

While many organisations are turning to analytics to better understand customer trends and preferences, the mismatch between perception and reality when it comes to how well they can do this is hampering their ability to deliver on customer expectations.

In our research, more than 90 percent of businesses are unable to use analytics to accurately predict what individual customers will want in future. Yet over half of businesses believe that they are ‘best-in-class’ or even ‘transformational’ when it comes to using customer intelligence to shape their marketing campaigns.

The truth is that most organisations are using customer data and analytics to report on the past. Many of the analytics solutions they rely on are designed to deliver insights as reports, using descriptive and diagnostic analytics. Descriptive analytics tell us what happened, e.g. how many visitors abandoned their basket on our web site last week. Diagnostic analytics try to understand why something happened – why did we see a higher abandoned basket rate?

Both descriptive and diagnostic analytics are very useful, but the information produced in such reports is not actionable. The past has already happened, the customer has already abandoned the website and it’s too late to impact that customer’s experience in a positive way.

Using customer analytics to report on the past is bit like driving a car while only looking in the rear-view mirror: you can see where you’ve been, but you can’t see the road ahead and therefore you’re unable to properly work out your next move.

Closing the gap with predictive analytics

Organisations must become more mature in their use of analytics if they are to compete on Customer Experience. Customer data needs to comes to life by using predictive analytics to anticipate our customers’ next move and behaviours and provide guided experiences that exceed customer expectations.

Predictive analytics identifies patterns in your existing customer data set and extrapolates them to predict what is most likely to happen next. It can be used to quickly and easily drill down to the individual customer level and gives the business the ability to design a tailor-made experience for that customer, with the best likelihood of producing the desired outcome – be that sales, loyalty, or resolution of a complaint.

Apply that ability across every individual in your customer base and you can see how predictive analytics can close the Customer Experience gap.

In an age where Customer Experience is your only competitive advantage, the winners will be those who are able to take action using data faster.

For more information on the 2018 UK Customer Experience Awards finalists, click here.

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