Data is the new oil – the world’s and business’ most valuable asset. I’m not sure if I’m the first person to say this. But this seems to be even more relevant today than ever before. Although we are seeing the AI and machine learning industry becoming more present in the data discussion the improvement of customer experience is dependent on an enterprises ability to collect the data from multiple sources and integrate the data in their existing systems. Customer experience has become a strategic imperative for all organizations wanting to create sustainability and grow their businesses. However, Big Data insights have typically been the primary data source to try to understand customer’s behavior and we are finally seeing a change in the consumption of data sources.
The Big Data blind-spot: predictability
There’s no question that Big Data has an important place in an organization and a critical function in customer experience initiatives, but it has a major blind-spot which is a key ingredient to any sustainable business model: predictability. If a brand owner is unable to accurately anticipate and predict how their customers will behave then they will not be able to initiate growth opportunities that can provide them with a competitive advantage.
We recently commissioned a study with Forrester Consulting to help brands understand what data they need to build the right kind of customer experiences that can drive repeat business, loyalty and advocacy. The results were conclusive, if brands don’t know WHY their customer buys, they can’t create the meaningful experiences that foster sustainable business results.
The study, ‘How Customers Think, Feel, And Act: The Paradigm of Business Outcomes‘, identified that the way customers think and feel about a brand predicts why they act. In fact, Forrester found that feeling is 1.5x stronger in influencing customer buying decisions and loyalty, outweighing any other factor measured in the study. When a brand understands their Customer Truth™ – how they think, feel and act – they can connect their story to their customer’s story, create the right customer experience and drive business outcomes like revenue, advocacy and loyalty upward.
If you think that your organization’s Big Data strategies will help your team achieve these objectives, you’re not alone, but you are mistaken. The study found that a brand’s behavioral Big Data is not a statistically relevant indicator of future loyalty or advocacy. In fact, brand qualities like trust, helpfulness, and value were found to play the strongest role in driving action.
What does this mean for the CEO?
Marketing departments have traditionally been tasked with the ownership of customer experience initiates, but our study results indicate that these are business critical success goals that are directly influenced by all parts of an organization, across every customer touch point. To truly operationalize a successful customer experience strategy it requires a relentless company-wide commitment to understand and react to the fluid nature of what a customer thinks, how they feel, and why they act. Which means that all departments and employees should be accountable to an overarching customer experience goal. An organization’s measure of experience success should be defined by their customer’s expectation of what makes a great experience. This is their Customer Truth™ which should be a singular company-wide goal, supported by tactical departmental KPI’s.
Essentially, the success of Customer Experience should really begin with decisions made by the CEO. Only through this unified pursuit of Customer Truth™ will brands be able to create and operationalize a sustainable and predictable business model for the future, and a brand experience which is valued by their customer.
Download a copy of the full Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by FocusVision: “How Customers Think, Feel and Act: The Paradigm of Business Outcomes” See for yourself.