We should be asking ourselves daily “How can we keep this customer happy? ...because if we don’t, somebody else will.” Conor Wilcock began his session with this quote from Bill Gates. Conor knows a thing or two about keeping customers happy. As Research Director at B2B International, Conor’s performed market research with hundreds of clients, understanding customer satisfaction, evaluating brands, and assessing markets. As a voice of the customer research specialist, Conor was the perfect person to lead the Cvent CONNECT discussion: Building Lasting Experiences Using Customer Data.
What is customer data?
As Conor explained, big data is misunderstood. While businesses have a greater volume of data, compounded variety, and arriving with increased velocity, we’re not sure what to do with it. While the popularity of big data has increased by over 90% in the past seven years, we’re not that much smarter about how best to apply it to keep customers happy.
Conor discussed data basics including internal versus external, structured and unstructured, as well as fast and slow data. Most importantly though, data should be helping us progress toward empowerment. What does data empowerment look like? It should help answer the following questions:
- What happened?
- Why did it happen?
- What will happen?
- How can we make it happen?
Much like the data, the questions increase in both complexity and value. Many companies can achieve the first two with their data, which are informative and diagnostic. Fewer companies are able to do predictive modeling or figure out how to be prescriptive in their approach. It’s at that point your customer data is truly empowering!
What is customer journey mapping?
Understanding what delights customers and where the pain points are, is at the heart of this topic. Customer journey mapping is a visualized summary of customer motivations and needs through each stage of their interaction. For each stage, the map should identify what customers are doing, how they are feeling, and what their experience is like as they encounter your organization. Creating the journey map should encompass the internal viewpoint validated and challenged against the customer’s viewpoint. Using data for this systematic mapping reveals holes, opportunities, and areas where customers may have higher needs than others. This is an essential tool on your data journey, but remember to follow where the data leads you.
How can we “do more” with data?
When it comes to data, there are a few key areas of opportunity. First, there needs to be a defined data owner. They may have titles like Chief Data Officer or Chief Insights Officer. The critical element is that examining data for insights is a significant piece of the business and should be treated as such – a defined role provides it the level of priority it requires. Organizations should also be sensitive to data access. Siloed data limits how it is used to improve the customer experience. Additionally, all organizations should focus more outwardly on the customer while recognizing that data supports marketing and selling. Excellence in both areas is required to be successful, so understanding where the value or return on marketing opportunity (ROMO) ends and sales tactics begin helps reveal the true value of an investment and the success of your organization overall.