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3 reasons why CX pros need to get chummy with their Data Team

So, you've done your journey maps (well done), got your service design to support each journey (pat on the back), got qual and quant data on customers experience (bravo) and even designed your future state environment to support your people to deliver a great experience for customers (rockin' it!).

Now your senior leaders ask "So... now that we have all these assets, how do we know when we should actively pursue someone to buy and when do we know when someone might leave us?". Legit question, especially for you the CX pro. No doubt this was going to be your next step anyways: to see if the environment you've designed can deliver a great customer experience.

So, you start looking at patterns in behaviour and copious amounts of data. Foot traffic in a store, length of time in a store, purchasing patterns, online activity, most wish-listed item, delivery timeframes, first-time call resolution rates, etc. All these points across the journey. Then, you start looking at how these data points show a pattern. You start looking at the first row of this data set and start looking at..... the.... endless... list... of... data... points...

Now, of course you may have a sophisticated system that can put all this data together. No doubt that most larger organisations have access to sophisticated tools using R or Tableau for data viz and maybe even a sentiment analysis engine to do all the analysis for you. For those who don't have access to these tools, well... it's not so easy.

That is until you meet someone all CX professionals should make friends with on day one: the Data Team.

A good Data Team is a CX pros best friend. They can provide you insights into data, where it came from, why the data point exists, how the data has evolved, etc. In essence, a good data team can tell you a story about the customer using data alone (oh, and good analysis skills of course).

Still not convinced? Here are 3 reasons why a good data team is a CX pros best friend:

1) They can help you use machine learning to predict CX performance

I'm not going to explain what machine learning is as there are more qualified and experienced people out there that can do a much better job than I can. My simpleton definition: a human learn patterns (e.g. cause and effect, correlation of data points, etc.) over a long period of time, however, machines can learn it in a much shorter space of time (and using a lot more data).

This is where a good data team can help you: they can create algorithms to identify patterns in the combination of data points, coupled with the results of the combination, be able to predict with a level of certainty on the outcome. Now, it's not going to be accurate all the time, but it should give you a basis of certainty, especially if the pattern is over a long period of time with lots of datasets.

Say that one of your recommendations is to improve certain customer interaction points throughout their journey: a good data team can put these data points into an algorithm and monitor if the expected outcome is reached. This is important for the ROI part of CX that most don't delve in (not as sexy compared to Design Thinking and running ideation workshops I suppose).

2) The help CX pros validate/invalidate "gut feel" or anecdotal data

Reading back on that title makes it sound like data people don't care about what people think. On the contrary, they do listen and take "gut feel" and anecdotal feedback on board, however, they don't use it as a primary source of evidence. They will help you validate/invalidate the "gut feel" so that you can make more measured decisions for your organisation.

This is important for CX pros as we do rely on qualitative data as it provides a different perspective on customer sentiment that otherwise not available in data sets. However, coupling your qual with quant data provided by the data team can help convince senior leaders in your organisation much easier than just with either data set on its own.

3) They help CX pros to constantly improve the customer experience

Actionable insights are important for a CX pro and this is where a good data team is worth their weight in gold. They can not only use the data sets we've identified throughout the journey as markers, but they can also look at emerging data trends that we haven't considered (and sometimes these emerge after you deployed your CX initiative).

Having them in arms with you when monitoring and tracking customer behaviour post-deployment of an improvement initiative is key. They will also become advocates for you when you use their data to support the customers "actual" experience.

So, for all you CX pros out there here's my advice: look out for that data team and say hi. Become friends with them. Drop by with a box of chocs. Shout them a drink after work. Better yet, showcase their data to every executive you meet so that they appreciate the work the data team provides. Trust me when I say that they will make your life a lot easier with them on your side.

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