Businesses have been drowning in data for years, and in the CX space, we’ve developed some bad habits, collecting information without any clear purpose and sending out surveys to ask for feedback at every turn.
Fortunately, we have got better at using business intelligence (BI) solutions and best practices to try to make sense of all the data. The most successful at this have also taken the next step and been able to aggregate and harness the enormous breadth and depth of data to identify the drivers of business performance.
However, over recent years, there has also been a clear shift towards a focus on the customer. Also, while many BI strategies do incorporate customer data, they often don’t cover the full customer lifecycle; qualitative insights about customers; or, more importantly, the customer perspective when it comes to critical decision making.
The rise of successful CX programmes has enabled us to unleash the voice of the customer, providing a much clearer understanding of the impact that decisions will have on the users. It’s for this reason that I suggest that CX should no longer be thought of as ‘a survey programme’ but as a ‘BI programme’.
Why? Because we are getting much better at wrangling the data, even when it is not all quantitative, and the evolution and convergence of BI and Customer Experience solutions means that they can help to trigger the data-driven decision making, which is now a pre-requisite of modern business. Adding the capabilities offered by CX technology and the skills of CX practitioners to the BI arsenal enables businesses to make better business decisions based on the entire experience ecosystem.
As a combined force, businesses can not only harness context-rich customer insight to drive better Customer Experience – they can also leverage the in-depth data and analytics needed to enable faster decision-making across all areas of an organisation, from employee engagement activities and product development through to distribution processes and beyond.
Delivering deeper insights
In other words, the CX and BI evolution is enabling both CX and BI to be viewed from a fresh perspective. It’s no longer ‘just another department’ but instead, it’s a strategic business function that empowers leadership teams to track trends and identify areas for improvement as well as motivating people to make a decision, to initiate and monitor organisational change.
There are two main reasons for this:
- A shift away from a focus on collecting data to one in which the emphasis is placed on connecting data together to add context and make sense of their multiple sources. After all, data on its own, no matter how big or complex, is still just ‘dumb’ information.
- A growing understanding that individuals across an organisation have shared ownership of the Customer Experience – not just those on the front line. As a result, traditional silos of data are being merged – whether that’s from customers, employees, partners, or suppliers; and whether it’s originally sourced as financial, demographic, or operational data.
Integrating and mapping these sources means that organisations are in a much stronger position to make data-driven decisions. Decisions that are enhanced with emotionally rich ‘stories’ or evidence. It means that everyone can visualise data points that are relevant, empowering them to take action within their sphere of control.
That is, after all, what the concept of business intelligence should be. There is no point in collecting data and regarding the reports that have been generated as ‘the result’ or focusing on short-term revenue growth. It’s just the start.
Driving impactful business results
The real benefit lies in providing companies with an increased capability to analyse the impact of actions and to ensure that they are having a positive impact on business results.
That’s because making better decisions is not enough – there needs to be a clear ROI, whether that’s in terms of improved service delivery, time and cost savings, better retention of employee talent, or any other business KPI.
That’s where CX once again steps up as an addition to the BI toolkit. By providing a structured framework for insight analysis, it’s able to provide evidence that demonstrates a clear link between decisions and outcomes. It can also go one step further by enabling organisations to replicate and embed the behaviours that drive good outcomes and minimise those that don’t.
The most deeply embedded CX programmes have the power to ensure that everyone follows through with plans, actions are monitored, experiences shared and impact measured. As part of a robust BI strategy, CX plays a crucial role in keeping the focus on customer-centricity and enabling organisations to better understand how to drive sustainable, customer-led growth.