Want Actionable 360-Degree Customer Views? Start with these 4 Steps

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Consumers are generating incredible amounts of data each day. Consider this: It’s estimated that Google processes over 70,000 search queries every second, which translates to about 5.8 billion searches per day. And between 2018 and 2025, worldwide data will grow 61 percent to 175 zettabytes, according to IDC.

With massive volumes of data out there, organizations have an opportunity (and challenge) to create a 360-degree view of the customer that produces actionable insights and decisions. If this seems like a daunting task—it is—but we’ll discuss strategies for simplifying it and transforming data into meaningful customer insights.

1. Don’t mistake the part for the whole

For many businesses, data is both the key to important insights and an obstacle to getting answers. Case in point: Most businesses have insights into who their customers are, their purchase transactions, and their value to the business. Even small businesses have a robust amount of customer data. But as Susanne Hensel-Goodwin, executive director of analytics for TTEC Digital, explains in the latest issue of the Customer Strategist, “the real challenge is to connect that data to customers’ online activity: site visits, clicks, and browsing activity.”

In other words, don’t mistake part of the picture for the whole picture. And while there isn’t an easy way to connect disparate data, tools that incorporate both structured and unstructured data insights into a master system can go a long way in helping employees present information and make data-driven decisions.

2. Have a partner fill in the gaps

Even companies that are rich in data and analytics may need help optimizing their insights or fixing a data blind spot. For example, a client had a wealth of transactional data and other customer data but lacked digital data, such as browsing data and impression data. We used our Humanify Insights Platform to aggregate a client’s digital and offline customer data into a common architecture and gather a 360-degree view of customer needs, behaviors, and preferences. A comprehensive view delivered more precise insights—the client discovered which customer segments respond to certain offers more often than others for instance—and other valuable next-best actions.

3. Less is more

How do you decide which insights to pursue and when? Instead of setting a broad goal for better insights, remember that less is more. To figure out which types of insights to pursue first and which to place into your backlog, use a prioritization framework to evaluate your needs.

Questions to consider as you fill out your backlog include: What types of insights does your team hope to gain? Which ones are likely to deliver immediate versus future results? What data/channels/sources are available and what holes need to be filled? Which areas of the project can be handled internally and which areas does the organization need help with? Answering these questions early on will make it easier to stay focused on the plan.

4. Make sure employees are ready to act on the insights

Insights gained through analytics are only useful if they’re deployed and implemented. But how many employees are ready to regularly embed analysis, data, and evidence-based reasoning into their decision-making processes?

Not that many, suggests a recent study of more than 1,000 executives conducted by Deloitte. About 67 percent of those surveyed say they are not comfortable accessing or using data from their organization’s tools and resources. A Forrester study commissioned by KPMG had similar findings, that even though organizations are focused on data-driven decision making, business leaders lack confidence in the insights generated by data and analytics.

These findings point to a major opportunity for companies to provide more departments with education and training in data analysis as well as evaluate the user experience of data analytics tools if they hope to lead as data-driven organizations.

The bottom line

Data-driven insights and decision-making can create better customer experiences that differentiate a brand but only if the right strategy, technology, and people are in place. Approaching these three areas holistically is the first step to thriving in the age of data disruption.