Destructive data mistakes in customer experience

CX Network looks at two data mistakes that hinder customer experiences: Data silos and the big data myth.

It is a fact of business that poor data practices have the ability to do real damage to customer relationships. After all, as Emmanuel Obadia , VP of Marketing at Oracle, states: “Data is the foundation upon which you can build the entire customer experience (CX) effort. It’s blood to CX. If you don’t have data, you can’t go anywhere.”

When customer data resides in several isolated pockets in a portfolio, the conflicted customer view can trip up multiplay providers when they attempt to identify a customer across multiple lines of a business. If a brand fails to recognise that a customer is simultaneously subscribed to various products they could send communications that are anything but targeted: For instance, sending a customer an enticing offer for a product they already have at a lower price point than they paid for it. During a time where people expect convenience and personalisation, this sort of insulting mistake can do real damage to a customer’s perception of a brand and even push them to switch to a competitor company.

It’s not just a lack of data integration that can be harmful; too much integration can be damaging when you have several groups in a company capturing data. Flimsy governance procedures could result in customers suffering from “creepy” experiences where they are unsettled by unexpected preemptive actions. This can occur when data is borrowed or cross-referenced between divisions in a company. Safeguarding procedures are needed to ensure that customers retain control.

Poor data practices like these will hold companies back from progressing to providing sophisticated predictive customer experiences. A truly unified view of customer data is integral to unleashing the power of artificial intelligence (AI), or more specifically, machine learning in a compliant manner.

In this article we look at two data mistakes that are hindering customer experiences: Data silos and the big data myth.

Data silos

Data silos were labelled as the top customer experience challenge by CX Network members in our latest research. Many organisations across the world struggle to bring innovation into their businesses because of legacy systems. A lack of interoperability between systems results in data being trapped within individual sections of the tech stack. This forces companies to compromise on the quality of the end product and experience due to antiquated (but well-embedded) technology. Despite it being a tall challenge, especially in larger companies, it is a mistake for brands to ignore the value of breaking down data silos.


How to overcome silos 

Betty Chuah, senior manager of EMEA retailer consumer insights at Volvo Cars, notes the importance of having a global CX team with the global responsibility to govern the CX vision and battle silos.

“In many companies the IT department was founded many years ago to handle all the information from customers and today they are in separate departments,” she explains. “I [have] seen some companies have combined digital and customer experience departments and are striving towards having one customer dataset to have the complete customer journey map out and control all the data.”

Darya Vselubsky customer success manager at travel software start-up Triptease, agrees that transparency is vital to defeating data silos and innovation blocks.

“Transparency is the key to overcoming any data silos and listening to the customer needs,” Vselubsky remarks. “Customer success teams in general are really crucial as they’re the glue that will connect customers to data to product.

“Product teams may have an idea of customer needs and some of the things that they can do with data. But unless there is transparent communication, which is of course nurtured by customer success teams, there will be misunderstandings that could lead to product development that’s not easy to use or necessary, which will lead to churn and product failure.”


Overcoming silos 

In the eyes of James Alexander, Decisioning Director at London based media company Sky, the key to enhancing the digital customer experience for connected customers starts around the concept of identity, gluing together all the different interactions as much as possible into an actionable profile.

Alexander explains: “First of all, it allows you to get much better visibility of what’s going on with your customers. In particular, how they interact with you on your websites, your apps, your call centre and other channels across all of those silos in the organisation. Combining this with key bits of core customer data provides an incredibly rich asset that allows you to really understand your customers.

“Typically, as you integrate the data and marketing technologies to construct the customer profile, it also allows you to go in the other direction and execute a tailored experience at the individual account level.”


Big data myth

Another data mistake that causes fragmented experiences is the misconception that quantity is more important than quality. ‘Big data’ as a phrase isn’t as prevalent as it was a few years ago. As mentioned by CX expert Shep Hyken in The Big Book of Customer Insight, Data and Analytics 2018: “Big data is really another way of saying too much data, and when you have too much it gets confusing.” In fact Sherif Mityas, Chief Experience Officer at TGI Fridays, believes the quantity-over-quality viewpoint is perhaps the biggest data mistake a company can make.

Mityas says: “The biggest mistake is thinking you need to have all the data. When we first started TGI Fridays, everyone told us: ‘You have to collect all the data, create the data links and put all the data into one system.’ There was the assumption that more data was better, but this is false. More data is just more noise; it’s not relevant and it’s expensive.

“Instead, it’s about collecting the right data, the data that will create a difference in the action you want to deliver. Data that will inform your AI tools to create a better, relevant and more personalised message.”

A blind focus on data quantity over quality could have damaging results when it comes to AI. Thierry Derungs, Chief Digital Officer at BNP Paribas Wealth Management, acknowledges that AI is always starving for data and “its hunger is gastronomic”, but he maintains that data quality is still compulsory.

“[The classic phrase is] garbage in = garbage out, but with AI it is even stronger because it’s garbage in = total mess out,” remarks Derungs. “You really need to understand what your intelligence is doing, especially if you have machine learning or deep learning. If you cannot be sure that your data at the entry is of the top quality, then understanding what your intelligence is indicating or building as a model will be very difficult.”


The power of data quality over quantity

Shep Hyken notes that the best people in marketing analytics will be aware that they only need a few select, but crucial, pieces of data to complete their objectives.

“You’ve got to look at who are we going after and what data is important, and recognise that you can’t be all things to all people,” Hyken explains.

“Systems today are more powerful than ever and have made it easier than ever to understand your different customer segments,” he adds. “Most companies typically have four to six main types of customers. When you understand what those four to six are, then you recognise you don’t need to be everything to everybody, but be as much as you can to those four to six groups of customers and split them up, market to them appropriately and service them appropriately.”

Interested in conquering your data mistakes? Join hundreds of other CX practitioners at CXN Live: Customer Insights and Analytics for exclusive data strategies from the likes of Paypal, TGI Fridays and start-up Triptease. 

Now and Later: How Present Business Intelligence Impacts Future CX Decisions

Companies are constantly inundated with data. Yet, despite regular advancements in analytical strategies, said information often pours in too quickly to comprehend. Business Intelligence (BI), however, offers leaders an effective way to generate actionable information about critical business operations, including company and customer experience management (CEM) specific data, in an effort to bring structure and meaning to the knowledge that would otherwise remain just slightly out of reach.

According to Mary K. Pratt’s definition for CIO, “Business intelligence (BI) leverages software and services to transform data into actionable intelligence that informs an organization’s strategic and tactical business decisions. BI tools access and analyze data sets and present analytical findings in reports, summaries, dashboards, graphs, charts and maps to provide users with detailed intelligence about the state of the business.”

Thus, before companies can understand and implement Business Intelligence reports and results to the fullest extent, leaders must lay the foundation necessary to bring the insights gleaned to action.

When it comes to segmenting business intelligence—an essential step when determining which data points to act upon first—leaders must break said information down into the two key fundamental, actionable components necessary to drive continued customer loyalty. Therefore, they must segment information by account type and contact type:

Account Type—

1.     Tier I: Accounts that provide the highest revenue and are strategic accounts (i.e. 80/20 rule—80 percent of your revenue, representing 20 percent of your customers)
2.      Tier II: Accounts representing the next 10 percent of revenue
3.      Tier III – Tier ‘N’: Your remaining accounts (last 10 percent of your revenue)

Contact Type—

1.      Identify the Decision Makers Title: – Executive Management
2.      Identify the Recommenders Title: – Middle Management
3.      Identify the Influencers Title: – Frontline (Select Key Employees only)

Business Intelligence reports, of course, are typically presented in dashboard format, as they are accessible to everyone across the organization. Dashboards include gauges, charts, and other graphical representations that deliver at-a-glance views of critical metrics. Dashboards also offer drill-downs, which enable leaders to take a more in-depth look at specific information regarding products, organization/function, and country/region/district/branch or individual. BI reports also include multi-dimensional cubes, which allow for correlated analysis by multiple areas, such as customer, product revenue, and timeframe. Other BI report types include:

  • Delta analysis
  • Vulnerability Index
  • Key driver analysis
  • CRMI ScoreBoard Index
  • Balanced ScoreCard
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPI)


Leaders know that smart decisions require reliable data. But, before they can begin to consider the future, they must first analyze the actions of both the present and the past. That’s where BI comes into play.

“In its most basic form, business intelligence encompasses the analysis of a company’s raw data and analytics, to produce actionable takeaways,” Chris Lukasiak, senior vice president of MyHealthDirect, a health-tech company that offers a SaaS platform for online scheduling and digital care coordination, writes for Forbes. “Data analyzed might include current sales figures, customer shopping habits or operations costs. With more data at our hands, business intelligence is critical to making informed business decisions and can be a key component of forming predictive analyses for the future of a company.”

Business Intelligence reports provide companies with historical and present views of business operations, which subsequently inform their predictive views of the organization. Essentially, BI tells leaders what once was and what is in an effort to help them determine what will be down the road. Examining said data helps leaders understand pervasive trends and derive actionable insights that influence better business decisions in both the short and long term.

“Careful analysis of your data will help you understand customer behavior and even give you the power to better detect what your customers would like in the future,” Lukasiak adds. “From predictive analytics to data that reveals service or product gaps, business intelligence findings have the power to help companies stay ahead of the curveball.”

While brands across industries are decidedly enamored by the concept of predictive analytics, many lose sight of the importance of Business Intelligence and data that explores the past and present of their given organizations. Before companies can determine where they are headed, they need to establish where they have been. Countless organizations invest in analytics that forecast future moves or outcomes, yet leaders often neglect to recognize how past initiatives and present programs influence the customer experience. They need to pause and audit what’s worked and what hasn’t in an effort to proceed in the most lucrative way possible.

Business Intelligence ultimately empowers companies to focus on the ‘now’ so they can truly succeed when ‘later’ becomes the new normal. Leaders need to know where the organization has been if they hope to live up to their titles and adequately lead their companies toward the future they’ve predicted for themselves all along.

On the Road to Key Account Management, Customer Journey Maps Pave the Path

Prior to the introduction of social media and smartphones, the customer journey was typically linear. Consumers often traveled from the top of funnel to the point of sale with nary a detour. But, now that there are numerous inlets for onboarding, leaders must ensure that each available touchpoint offers customers a coherent brand experience at every stage of the average lifecycle. That’s where customer journey mapping comes into play.

Originally, companies used customer journey maps as an opportunity to nail down any customer experience issues that might arise. However, customer journey maps have become an integral part of the customer experience development process, as these tools offer leaders insight into how consumers might perceive and interact with the brand at all points of entry. Analyzing the customer journey from the initial point of contact to the inevitable point of sale can help leaders determine the best way to nurture such accounts along their path to purchase.

While discovering customer pain points will always prove useful, the fruits of these labors can’t be reaped if leaders don’t have the appropriate guidelines in place to rectify issues and alleviate strain. Thus, customer journey maps provide each member of an organization—from the C-suite to the frontline—with insight into how to manage every single account at the most basic level. Customers now expect instant results, after all, so companies must be prepared to serve every need in real time at any point along the customer journey.
To ensure that customers don’t encounter any obstacles on their path to purchase, companies need to hone their key account management strategies. Because customers and clients can now enter the funnel at multiple touchpoints simultaneously, leaders must integrate methods that’ll guarantee consistency and relevancy in an environment where disparate channels can limit the brand’s ability to satisfy the customer’s wants and needs from the moment of first contact.
Before companies can achieve effective key account management, leaders must first recognize that it’s difficult to treat all customers and clients equally. While everyone deserves top-notch customer service, leaders must segment their client base in order to determine which accounts are the most crucial for their brand’s continued success. Segmentation, as it stands, empowers leaders to assess and categorize customer relationships in an effort to deliver appropriate levels of service at critical moments throughout the customer journey.

Typically, basic account segmentation falls into one of three categories:

Tier I: Significant annual revenue and/or strategic value
Tier II: Potential significant annual growth and/or customer lifetime value
Tier III: All remaining customer accounts

Ultimately, resources can become strained if employees are forced to devote equal amounts of time to clients that don’t ultimately yield the same level of profit. Thus, forming more targeted customer relationships affords companies the opportunity to boost loyalty, sales, and profits. Of course, while exceptional service must be the standard for every client, companies must use this baseline to take relationships with key accounts to the next level.

Segmentation certainly isn’t an exact science, but this process enables organizations to break customers into manageable groups as leaders work to make sense of an increasingly saturated market. Despite the allure, leaders must not become distracted by those accounts that promise the greatest revenue gains, as relationship value must also be derived from the client’s potential for strategic partnerships over time. It’s easy for brands to become preoccupied with the “shiny” prospects that pose the highest potential for profitability. However, it’s important to start small and proceed with caution so as not to strain your resources—or your client’s resources—as you work to establish a synergy that empowers both companies to succeed.

To guarantee that both new and existing customer relationships flourish, leaders will want to train key account managers, as they will become the client’s first point of contact for any service needs they might have throughout their lifecycle. Because they’re responsible for nurturing said strategic, long-term relationships, they must be well equipped with an intimate knowledge of the client and their personal goals, as collaboration remains the cornerstone of any effective, proactive partnership.

But, with the help of customer journey mapping, companies have the capacity to understand clients in new ways as they work to hone their key account management strategies. With critical information in hand, companies have the tools they need to acquaint themselves with prospects right from the start and use data from these early interactions to tailor engagements to meet prospects’ needs in an effort to convert and retain clients. Every interaction matters, especially in a market with ample competitors. By knowing precisely what the client hopes to accomplish, key account managers can provide personalized service that ultimately benefits both parties every step of the way, thereby carving a path that leads to profitability for all involved.

It’s Not as Easy to Do Business With You as You’d Like to Think It Is

Your executive team is committed to customer experience (CX) success. On paper, your customer journey map looks strong. But that doesn’t mean your organization is easy to do business with.

The proliferation of new channels and touchpoints brings ever greater complexity to customer interactions—yours included. Plus, your current processes and silos may create bottlenecks for customers trying to make a purchase, get service, or expand their business with you.

You can use all the shiny objects you want to add glitter to your marketing and service interactions. But it’s only putting lipstick on a pig if your organization isn’t easy to do business with. Maybe you’ve added more mobile app functionality, for example, but your customers are pinching, swiping, and scrolling to the point of frustration to accomplish a basic task. Or you’ve launched an attractive marketing promotion, but your contact center agents don’t have any information on it for customers who call with questions.

Whether your organization is easy to do business with cuts to the core of the customer experience. It can give you a leading indicator of future trends for customer relationships. After all, your organization can have a great product, a great brand, and even great intentions for CX, yet still be difficult to do business with.

Perhaps most important, “Are you easy to do business with?” is a question that if explored and measured thoroughly, can quickly reveal whether the various pieces of the CX puzzle are working together as they should.

In fact, once you’ve examined whether customers think your organization is easy to do business with and use the resulting feedback to improve, you’ll find that it’s one of the best ways to ensure that your organization’s customer-facing operations (as well as those that support them) are living up to the spirit of your CRM and CX efforts.

Following are three lessons I learned while exploring that pivotal question, “Are you easy to do business with?”

Truly understand, and measure on a regular basis, whether customers think that your organization is easy to do business with.
Internal naysayers will claim that, of course you’re easy to do business with. After all, the CX efforts are refined, leadership is customer-focused, and the company puts the customer first in everything it does.

But, wait, not so fast…

Whether a company is easy to do business with is not solely determined by the efficiency of processes and programs it has in place. Instead, it’s a reflection of customer perceptions that can rarely be gleaned from operational data. To find out whether customers really believe that your organization is easy to work with requires a dedicated effort.

Ideally, you can attain this view of your customers’ true perceptions through a combination of methods. Surveys and one-on-one interviews with customers—preferably through a third party to ensure that feedback is candid—are exceptionally valuable and powerful tools to gather external perspectives. Speech and text analytics tools that make real-time sense of customer feedback, moods, and reactions are also extremely helpful. Customer-initiated digital feedback offers a goldmine of information, as do online communities that marketers and customer experience leaders can use as a listening tool. Use as many of them as you can to really understand where your organization falls on the “easy to do business with” spectrum.

Define what “easy to do business with” means for every
customer-facing role.

One of my aha moments in CX was when a particularly savvy customer-facing employee confided that she didn’t know if she had the ability to make it easier for customers to do business with the company, or even what that would entail. And she was right! Most people don’t intuitively know what something as encompassing as “easy to do business with” means.

To address this reality, we instituted a series of workshops across all departments throughout the company. These interactive sessions begin by exploring why it’s important for us to be easy to do business with. We then delve into what that means for each person in the room, and more specifically, which behaviors for each role will make the company’s vision come to life. Through these workshops, our employees helped to define what it meant to be “easy to do business with” and how to achieve it. Defining expectations is important, because most people have different interpretations of what makes an organization easy to do business with.

Apply what you learn across the organization.

Once you know the customer perception of the ease of doing business with your organization, you’ve defined what that ease means for various departments, and you have a framework in place that outlines required behaviors for specific roles, it’s time to use that information throughout the company to guide other decisions and processes. This includes hiring the right people, rewarding the right behaviors, and creating processes that complement them.

Perhaps, most important, institutionalizing these practices and encouraging these behaviors ultimately creates and nurtures a true, customer-centric culture that not only rewards behaviors that make it easy for customers, but also inherently encourages them among all employees.

Asking your customers if your organization is easy to do business with, and seeking candid answers, isn’t easy. But it’s one of the most powerful ways to ensure not only that the customer relationship and CX programs you oversee are working well, and that they’re being successfully applied where it matters most: with customers.


About the Author
Nancy Porte, CCXP, is the vice president of Global Customer Experience at Verint, a board member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association and a frequent speaker at industry events where often presents on her passion: developing meaningful customer experiences through the collaboration of numerous business functions and effective employee engagement.

Is Your Communications Customer Experience Digital Enough for Young Consumers?

Is Your Communications Customer Experience Digital Enough for Young Consumers?

Millennial and Gen Zers expects businesses to be responsive and relevant, according to “The Digital Lives of Millennials and Gen Z.” The study, conducted by LivePerson, surveyed more than 4,000 people ages 18 to 34 from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the United States.

The study found that, on average globally, 65% of respondents communicate more digitally (e.g., via text, social, and email) than they do in person. In the U.S., it jumps to 73.7%. This is the case whether they’re interacting with friends and family or with businesses. For many of the respondents, a call to customer service is often a last resort when they’re looking for information or have a service issue. Using a company’s app or visiting its website it the number one way respondents try to get a question answered from a brand. This is followed by live chat/messaging, social media, and then calling a toll-free number.

Rank how you typically like to get a question answered from a brand


Even so, when the 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed for the study need assistance from a business, many trust human interactions over technology-driven ones. According to the study, 84.9% of respondents globally would trust a human over a bot for accuracy in responding to an inquiry.

And, when it comes to communicating with businesses, those surveyed expect responsiveness. For example, when inquiring about an item priced at up to $20, 73% of respondents will give up on the purchase if they don’t receive a response in 10 minutes or less; 12% will wait up to 15 minutes, and only 14.6% have the patience to wait more than 15 minutes.

They also prefer relevant communications or no outreach at all when it comes to hearing from brands. About a quarter of respondents globally (25.1%) are open to receiving whatever text messages/SMS a company may send for sales or retention. Most (39.5%), however, are open to receiving messages only if they’re relevant. And 35.4% don’t want to receive text messages/SMS from brands at all that are sending them for sales or retention.

What kind of communications experience do your 18- to 34-year-old customers expect? Now is the time to use your voice of the customer strategy to find out—before your customers click away, hang up, or opt out.


Ginger Conlon, MKTGinsightAbout the Author
Ginger Conlon, chief editor and marketing alchemist at MKTGinsight, catalyzes change in marketing organizations. Previously, she served as chief editor of Direct Marketing News, 1to1, and CRM magazines. She was honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the marketing industry, and was cited as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter” and one of the “Top 25 CRM Influencers You Should Be Following.”

Focus on Outcomes to Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

Focus on the Outcomes to Deliver an Outstanding Customer Experience

Customer experience. It’s the key to any successful business, and that’s not changing anytime soon. Putting the customer first and providing seamless service are table stakes across industries, but nowhere are they more prevalent than among businesses with field service organizations. Customers depend on the men and women who service their machines — from HVACs to oil rigs — to keep their homes, jobs, and communities running. Delays in service can result in frustration so great it can devastate your bottom line.

So, what’s a field service team to do? Luckily, technology is evolving every day with customers as the focus. As industries and field service organizations transform and embrace a more technologically connected future, field service organizations are poised to deliver outstanding customer experience in innovative ways. Here are three approaches that you can adapt to enhance your company’s field service experience.


Be proactive with service delivery

Field service organizations were once pen-and-paper operations. They were reactive, and often slow. The companies that were quickest to get on the proactive trend thrived, and years later we see that the demand for responsive, painless service hasn’t changed at all.

What has changed? Service organizations’ ability to offer proactive service. Realizing the potential for the Internet of Things to transform their business, field service providers can now monitor their equipment and collect better data to predict and prevent failures. In other words, they can eliminate issues before a customer even thinks to ask. As a result, better technology and proactive service have ushered in a new industry standard for efficiency and productivity, saving customers precious costs and time.

Take, for example medical device company Elekta, responsible for radiation machines and medical equipment in hospitals across the country. The danger of an outage is massive in this industry — it could be the difference between life and death. So, Elekta orchestrated a proactive service model, monitoring data streaming in from its connected devices to discover patterns, anticipate outages, and, ultimately, lower downtime.


Focus on the outcome
Stemming from this transition towards proactive service is a novel focus on what we call outcomes-based service. In this model, manufacturers sell a business outcome rather than simply a product that includes service. It makes sense — a company doesn’t buy wind turbines because they make for beautiful landscapes (though, many would argue they do!). They invest in the equipment because they want to use the energy that it generates. They invest in the outcomes.

By aligning service delivery with signals and data around how well the system is performing, technicians can be on hand to proactively service the wind turbines before they break down, and ensure that there is no down period for what their customer ultimately wants: energy. When technicians focus on the outcome, their customers are less likely to face the frustration and loss of business that would otherwise result from their machines breaking down and their outcomes being delayed. The result of this shift in strategy for field service teams is that the customer relationship is strengthened, and everyone wins.


Remember to be human
Technology is evolving and transforming field service for the better. But when it comes to building lasting customer relationships, data will never replace human-to-human interactions. For field service organizations, the technician is the first point of contact between the customer and the brand. The best, most proactive service should fade into the background — the more seamless the experience, the more invisible it is to the customer because it’s so painless.

Field service has never lost this human touch, and no amount of technology — be it mobile apps, AI, or automated data collection — will ever replace the human connection and trust on which this industry is built. At their core, field service teams are human teams. These are the relationships that grow and scale a business, and these are the faces that will continue delivering outstanding customer experiences into the future.


Patrice EberlineAbout the Author
Patrice Eberline is Vice President of Global Customer Transformation at ServiceMax, from GE Digital, where she uses her years of service delivery experience working with prospects and customers to fully leverage the value of ServiceMax to their field service organizations. Previously, Patrice was with SuccessFactors, serving as Global Director of SMB Professional Services, as well as SuccessFactors University. Prior to SuccessFactors, she was VP of Professional Services at Infor, where she led a global staff of consultants across four discrete Corporate Performance Management practices and hosted operations.

The Impact of Customer Experience, the Differentiator in Today’s Marketplace

The Impact of Customer Experience, the Differentiator in Today’s Marketplace

In today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, customers have more choices than ever before in how to acquire products and services. And, they expect the shopping experience, the buying process, and the subsequent support for those products and services to be as frictionless as possible.

That end-to-end customer experience (CX), which I view as the totality of the lifecycle between the customer and the provider, is now viewed by many organizations as the key differentiator between themselves and their competitors. In fact, a recent report by Gartner surmises that companies see themselves in an “customer experience battlefield.” Not surprisingly, 89 percent of the executive polled for that report believe that CX will prove to be the primary basis for competition in the coming years.

We’ve all heard and read the compelling statistics around the revenue impact of satisfying the customer. A recent McKinsey study, for example, found that e-commerce spending for new customers averaged $24.50—and more than doubled to $52.50 on average for repeat e-commerce customers. But it doesn’t take a data scientist to know that is it’s easier and more profitable to retain existing customers than it is to find new ones. As the adage says, “Customers vote with their feet.” In the brick-and-mortar world, customers simply walk out and find another business that will meet their expectations.

Today, they’re also just as likely to let everyone else know how they voted by posting that poor experience on social media. Consumers are likely to post a positive customer experience on social media about 30% of the time, but tend to post about negative experiences 45% of the time, according to a recent study conducted by Dimensional Research for ZenDesk.

In today’s digital world consumers rely on a variety of channels to interact with the organizations they choose to do business with. Understanding customers’ preferred contact channels and then aligning the appropriate resources and assets are essential to meeting customers’ expectations and maintaining strong relationships. Consider the contact center and how interaction analytics can help optimize the customer experience.

Achieving ideal customer outcomes is the result of getting the balance right between all the elements associated with customer’s interactions in your contact center. Interaction analytics play a powerful role in uncovering how to optimize a customer’s experience.

Common factors that can influence the customer’s degree of satisfaction when dealing with an organization’s contact center include:

  • Agent competency issues
  • Systematic issues (IVR, telephony, etc.)
  • Process issues
  • Unpredicted or predicted product, service or event issues
  • Billing issues
  • Technical support, password resets, etc.


Interaction analytics can uncover these issues so companies can address them. But organizations also need to recognize and respond to the unique expectations customers have based on the contact intent, such as customer support, sales, or financial services. The matrix below show some common customer expectations by function objective, along with the key performance metrics that interaction analytics measures to determine strong and weak points in agents’ activities and the impact each has on outcomes.



This is great, right? Analytics can reveal why customers are calling—and how your operations, processes, systems and, specifically, your agents are handling issues. But how can you leverage this technology to improve customer experience and outcomes? CallMiner has an online ROI calculator that can provide you with a glimpse into how interaction analytics can help optimize your contact center customer experience.

But first, let’s look at some examples of interaction analytics in action:

One company in the tourism industry using speech and text analytics was able to correlate talk and handle times and then make adjustments that led to a lift of 26% in its customer satisfaction score and increase its average revenue per booking—while simultaneously reducing its cancelation rate. As one executive in the organization said, “We turned our contact centers from an operational expense to a profit center.”

An organization in the exercise equipment industry used interaction analytics to dramatically reduce average call handle time and call abandonment rates. This, in turn, improved the company’s call/agent handling ratios. These operational efficiencies led to an 8% reduction in manpower cost per shift for headcount to manage call volumes.

The contact center is just one touchpoint where analytics can reveal opportunities to optimize CX and boost profitability in the process. So, it’s easy to see that improving customer experience across channels can lead to significant increases in customer retention rate and revenue per customer, and provide better overall outcomes.

About the Author
Brian LaRoche is Director, Account Based Marketing, and is responsible for direct and channel outbound marketing programs for CallMiner. In addition to his marketing responsibilities, he is the host and moderator of CallMiner’s popular Monthly Education Webinar series. LaRoche, a call center industry veteran, is a frequent guest speaker, panelist, and guest columnist on myriad customer service, technical, collections, sales, and leadership topics related to the analytics field.

Three Barriers to Integrating CX Into a Company’s DNA

Three Barriers to Integrating CX Into a B2B Company’s DNA

One of my favorite commercials of all time is from United Airlines. In this powerful, one-minute segment, a CEO is in a conference room with all his managers. He informs them that their oldest customer just fired them because the customer felt he didn’t know them anymore. “Things have to change,” the CEO says. “We can’t hide on the phone any longer. We are going to go see every customer we have.” He then hands out United Airline tickets for the management team to visit over 200 cities beginning the same day.

This is a wonderful vignette around the power of a customer-centric strategy and how to incorporate it into the DNA of a company. This commercial was shot in 1990 during a wave of discussion and research around the value of a customer-centric strategy. From a business perspective, analysts such as Don Pepper and Martha Rogers were conducting research into customer-led strategies. Authors Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersma published “The Discipline of Market Leaders.” In academic research, models for defining and measuring customer focus (MKTOR) and determining the value of such a strategy to businesses were also being deeply explored.

The customer is in firm control

The net is we’ve known and been clear about the value of a customer-centric strategy since the 1990s. We have evidence and case studies that show results of a customer-centric approach include higher margins, higher client satisfaction scores, reductions in cost to serve, improved revenue growth, and an increase in employee satisfaction.

What has changed since the 1990s is the how much power and control the customer now has in the digital age. The pressure from customers being in firm control of their buying process is finally affecting the adoption of customer-centric strategies by B2B firms. Whether B2B firms lost or never had customer focus, it is becoming apparent that a customer-centric strategy is now required to win. Pivoting from a product-centric or operational-centric strategy to a customer-centric strategy pays off.

While there is a lot of excitement around the return to customer-focus, there are unique challenges to changing company DNA to be reflective of a customer-centered pivot. Three main challenges include leadership, defining customer ownership, and how marketing uses technology.


In practical terms, customer focus must be pervasive and measured to have the desired effect. It starts with the CEO and the executive team and trickles down to every person in the company. Customer focus must move from “talk” to “walk,” and having KPIs and MBOs for every part of the company associated to customer delight are ways to measure adoption. It’s not possible to transform into a customer-centric organization without belief and behavior starting at the top and cascading to every part of the organization. Just like the CEO in the United Airlines commercial. His flight was to go see the customer who fired them.

Gut Check: Are the behaviors of your company’s executives indicative of a customer-focus?

Who owns the customer?

Coming to terms with “who owns the customer” is a battle in many companies. In companies that are sales led (like many B2B companies), the sales organization often takes great exception to marketing telling them about the customer. The sales organization has always had firsthand and often the only relevant knowledge about the customer. Those days are gone. Marketing now has the most knowledge about the customer through millions of digital interactions. Marketing takes a leadership role in understanding customers as it acquires more knowledge about them and is instrumental in creating customer engagement throughout the entire life cycle. In this scenario, marketing works with every part of the company that touches the customer to create one view of each customer and to create a flawless customer experience.

Gut Check: Do you have a defined and agreed upon customer life cycle map in which each part of the organization understands its role and all actions are orchestrated to create a flawless experience for the customer?

Technology as the enabler

Technology is at the center of operationalizing a customer centric strategy. It is the enabler for consumer and customer control of the buying journey. It is creating the pressure to pivot to a customer-centric strategy. And, it is the answer to operationalizing a customer-centric strategy. In this technology-rich environment, the marketing operations group has emerged to use technology and data to detail and provide relevant customer insights to the CMO and to the organization. In large part, it is the work of the marketing operations group that allows marketing to be the “expert” on the customer.

Gut Check: Is your marketing operations function customer-driven and do it provide key customer insights for organizational decision making?

Take action

I most often see companies tackle CX in silos and with disparate processes and technologies. I also see this same scenario within marketing departments. Once they begin these one-off projects, they begin to claim they are now customer-centric.

Nothing could be further from the truth. To integrate CX into the DNA of a company requires belief and action from the top that trickles down to every person in the organization. It requires some tough talks between customer-facing teams such as marketing, sales, and customer service around who owns the customer—and the answer should be: We all do.

Finally, it requires a customer-centric marketing operations group that is customer-focused and proves it by sharing customer data and insights for improved organizational decision making.



Debbie QaqishAbout the Author:

Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, and The Queen of Revenue Marketing,™ a term she coined in 2011. Debbie manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives.

Debbie is author of Rise of the Revenue Marketer, Chancellor of Revenue Marketing University, and host of WRMR Power TalkRadio for Revenue Marketing Leaders, which showcases marketing executives from companies like GE and Microsoft sharing advice on marketing transformation. A PhD candidate, Debbie teaches an MBA course at College of William & Mary on Revenue Marketing.

In March 2016, Kapost named Debbie among the Top 40 Most Inspiring Women in Marketing. For the last five years, Debbie has been named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management. She has also won SLMA’s Top 20 Women to Watch distinction. In 2014 FierceCMO Magazine named Debbie one of the Top 10 Women CMOs to Watch.

Connect with Debbie via LinkedIn, email: or phone: 770-331-4443. And, to learn more about what it takes to integrate CX into the company DNA, read “7 Hallmarks of Transformation.”


4 Requirements for Linking CX to ROI

Linking CX and ROI

Eighty-one percent of consumers are willing to pay for a better experience, according to the Capgemini’s study “The Disconnected Customer.” Yet, customers don’t feel that companies are delivering high quality customer experience (CX), and one in five consumers stopped purchasing from a company after a poor experience, Capgemini’s research found.

In our own ERDM learnings from more than 16,000 hours of VoC research interviews, consumers were emphatic that short-term sales-focused tactics were irritating, brand damaging, and undermined loyalty. As empowered consumers, they expected engagement oriented communications and experiences.

Here is a representative quote from the research: “You marketers don’t understand that personalized engagement post-sale is valuable for the customer and… forges strong ties with your company that serve as a ‘grace account’ upon which to draw when there is the almost-certain problem or outreach from competition.”

Chris Hull, Chief Merchandising Officer at the iconic American luxury lifestyle brand Shinola, puts it this way, “Consumers are looking for meaningful experiences that differentiate one brand from another. One way we do this is by designing our stores to engage the five senses:

  • Sight – see team members build bicycles or do personalized embossing;
  • Sound – a warm welcome and vinyl playing on our Runwell Turntable;
  • Touch – well-crafted products, such as watches and leather bags;
  • Taste – a complimentary bottle of Shinola Cola;
  • Smell – the smell from our Shinola candles lit throughout the store.

This is all part of conveying our distinctive handcrafted products and has resulted in higher engagement, satisfaction, and conversion rates.”

With this in mind, here are four factors that will help you link CX to improved ROI:

1. CX strategies must align with consumer demands

Too often sales strategies are spray painted to look like CX strategies. However, customers are smart and know the difference between sales pitches posing as engagement and true CX. They resent when marketers think that customers are too naïve to know the difference.

According to Nike Chief Executive Mark Parke in comments about CX strategy development, “The important thing to point out is that changes are being driven by the consumer…. They want it fast, easy, and [they want] personal service.” Nike has implemented measures to drive personalization and has seen sales improvements in a landscape where so many other retailers and brands are failing.

2. Accurate data is essential for driving CX initiatives

As Jim Conning, managing director at Royal Mail Data Services so aptly puts it, data accuracy is non-negotiable for ROI: “CMOs and marketing directors all understand the importance of accurate customer data, but I’m not sure that more inexperienced members of the team understand the increased ROI of more accurate data.”  The company’s research indicated that 34% of marketers fail to fully understand the financial impact of poor quality data; 70% of the 300 companies surveyed admit to having incomplete or out-of-date customer data; and 6% of annual revenue is being lost through poor quality data.

An important, related finding from ERDM’s VoC research: B2B and B2C customers want to shape their own customer experience by providing trusted brands with deep business and personal information in exchange for meaningful, relationship-building experiences.

  1. ROI also requires CX-focused content

Irrelevant content hurts your brand, so stop sending spray-and-pray blasts!

This quote from our VoC research is a blunt reminder. “When I receive generic emails, it’s obvious that you do not care enough to understand my individual needs. Instead, you are trying distill my complex needs into simple generalities to make your email blast easier for you…and useless to me!”

Consider this from a Salsify Study: “If you provide superior content, and a competitive price, you have the opportunity to both close the sale and build long-term consumer loyalty.” The study found that…

  • 88% of consumers say that product content is extremely or very important to their purchase decision
  • Price matters, but it’s product content that gets consumers to buy
  1. Establish CX-oriented metrics and compensate accordingly

New and additional metrics are required to track and compensate for CX-oriented behaviors. Too many companies fail to change metrics to reflect their CX strategies and still compensate based on legacy “sell ‘em and forget ‘em” models.

In this blog post , Michael Klein, director of industry strategy for the Adobe Marketing Cloud, presents some effective soltuions that brands can implement to select the optimal CX metrics. One, from Epsilon’s Rob Cantave, especially stood out: “CRM data helps us understand what current customers are interested in seeing. Combining that with our third-party data lets us better understand what clusters of customers have in common. We present that information to the automated models and have them test and ultimately identify the product, categories, or content most likely to be of interest to returning customers and brand new unknown users who’ve been seen elsewhere in our network.”

Linking CX to ROI is a complex, multiphased, and corporate-wide pursuit. Remember:

  • CX requires company-wide consistency and communication so employees understand and are trained on the goals and behaviors they need to demonstrate every single day.
  • It also requires an omnichannel, data-driven strategy that’s based on meeting the requirements consumers indicate are important—to them. CX is useless without a consumer-focused approach because it will be observed as sales-y and meaningless.
  • Similarly, irrelevant content is perceived as demonstrating that a brand does not care about developing long-term customer relationships.

To achieve maximum ROI, companies need to rethink how they view CX and build impactful and sustainable strategies to satisfy customer needs over the customer lifecycle.



Ernan RomanAbout the Author
Ernan Roman (@ernanroman) is president of ERDM Corp., leaders in conducting VoC research for major brands. His latest book is Voice of the Customer Marketing. He was inducted into the DMA Marketing Hall of Fame, named by the Online Marketing Institute as one of the “2014 Top 40 Digital Luminaries,” and named by Crain’s BtoB magazine as one of the “100 most influential people in business marketing.”

What?! Another Poor Customer Experience?

How often do you encounter this situation? You’re working with a reputable and reliable company and the event quickly turns into a fiasco. It moves so far from delivering customer success that you ask yourself if this could be the same company.

To make matters worse, it’s often a company that prides itself on delivering the highest level of customer experience (CX). Doesn’t it make you wonder how much substance or truth is behind their claim?

My recent misfortune, which I will describe shortly, reinforces the message I continually deliver to clients: Every company looking to maintain loyalty and grow financially should continually ask themselves, “Would our customer’s experience be considered easy and effective?” and “When was the last time we looked at our customer journey?”

I will share with you some proven ideas to become better connected with your customers, and deliver loyalty-building and profit-growing results. But, before I begin, I’ll set the stage with the story that precipitated this article.

I needed to contact a company for TV support. When I did, as in the past, I am addressed as a preferred customer and they thank me profusely. Oh yes, I have worked with them for more than 12 years. By now, you would think, my confirmation information, my issue, etc., will travel with me regardless of where I’m transferred during the interaction. After 4 transfers and repeating the issue each time, I was able to resolve the issue. Or, so I thought. After I hung up, the issue recurred. So, I called again…three more transfers…resolution, finally—and an email confirmation, which wasn’t part of the process the first time.

It’s about the customer experience…delivery and results

I wonder how many companies really follow through on the CX strategy they’ve put in place. Why? Think about how often companies fail to deliver a quality customer experience regardless the investment they’ve made.

It’s clear from my recent experience that the TV support process has never been thoroughly vetted from a customer’s perspective, which is where the customer journey map process would be so useful. This is evidenced by the complexity of my having to weave through multiple barriers to resolution and the company’s poor execution. It makes me wonder how many other companies own CX strategies are built on a house of cards.

The path to delivering positive customer experiences begins with understanding the customer journey

Delivering a consistently satisfactory customer experience is more challenging than one realizes. Organizations learn that there is much more to the job of engaging and retaining customers than just putting some processes in place and moving on to the next challenge. While they may recognize the need to provide easy and rewarding experiences, they’re challenged with designing, developing, executing, and delivering an integrated customer experience strategy. In fact, many businesses still do not walk the journey from their customer’s view.

Today, there are still far too many of you who feel you already know what needs to be done and how to do it without taking time to walk it from your customer’s side. Well, let me help you: That is simply not going to work!

Know how to ask the right questions about your process

The challenge is to move your game to the next level by taking an approach that links strategy, vision, measurements, technology, organization, engagement, and the like. At the same time, nail down customers’ outcomes and then design around it. You can no longer be good at CX; you have to be better—even best at it. Any less than this no longer suffices.

I like customer journey mapping as a powerful tool of choice. Customer journey mapping is a proven tool that allows you to focus on the customers’ experiences with your company. This way, you learn more about your customer: how they define success, how to deliver successful customer experiences, and how to make them happy while growing your profits.

To move from delivering a good experience to a better or great experience requires that you set aside past practices and consider some changes. These are 12 that I share with clients:

  1. Have your processes been customer journey mapped?
  2. Have the barriers to successful performance been identified and removed?
  3. Has the journey map allowed a good look at your internal technology, is that technology easy to use, and does it make the right information available to the right people when they need it?
  4. Is there organizational alignment?
  5. Has the journey map added clarity to your rules of channel engagement?
  6. Has the journey map provided the clarity needed to demonstrate why your silos must melt away and set the course for a mind-set that foregoes silo thinking to facilitating customer success?
  7. Are your customer processes aligned to metrics that gather insight to move forward?
  8. What personas are you addressing?
  9. What type of feedback do you want to collect, and how will you engage customers to obtain it?
  10. Is your organization robust with passionate employees who are engaged?
  11. Has the journey mapping effort given you the needed focus on the customer segments, micro-experiences, and channel details that are at the core of your strategic business processes?
  12. How will you measure success?

My takeaway

How you answer these questions will give you insight into whether your CX effort is built on a house of cards, like too many businesses today, or built to deliver those customer loyalty–building experiences—or, as I like to say, that aha customer moment, one that delights your customer as it delivers customer success.


Dennis GershowitzAbout the Author
Dennis Gershowitz is founder and principal of DG Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in driving service revenues and profits through the development and implementation of customer experience management (CEM) strategy and service operations improvements. Contact Dennis at