Data overload is real — especially when you've been tasked with building the first real customer experience (CX) roadmap your company has ever had (which is what a lot of marketing teams are experiencing these days). Where should you look first?

For my team, there were five datasets that were especially helpful in building out a solid CX framework:

1. Psychographics: Behind the 'Why' of Customer Actions

Demographics are important. There's no doubt about that. But mapping out our customers' psychographics has proven to be much more valuable. Finding answers to questions like:

  • What motivates our customers?
  • What do they want to achieve?
  • What are their values, attitudes and lifestyle choices?

Remember — emotion is usually the difference between lost customers and retention. And "neutral" is not an emotion.

When I first started as a CX professional in the waste and recycling field, I assumed that decreased environmental impact and sustainability initiatives would be the big heroes of the day. So, that was the messaging that we pushed.

We quickly learned that stories about our drivers’ acts of kindness are what ultimately ended up capturing the hearts and minds of our customers. Stories like how one of our drivers pulled over and saved the life of someone after witnessing a motorcycle accident, or how one of our drivers used their tip money to buy books for the neighborhood kids on their routes — this is the type of messaging that really resonated with people.

Why? Because these stories ignite a deeply personal emotion. One that runs deeper than what people feel when they read statistics about how we’re reducing our footprint by using cleaner fuel in our trucks.

Don’t get me wrong — sustainability reports are still important. But the fact of the matter is, most customers feel a much more intrinsically personal responsibility to their families and communities than they do to the intangible “environment.”

Related Article: The Importance of Positive Emotional Connections With Customers

2. Referral Sources: How Do Customers Arrive?

Another overlooked dataset today’s top companies are beginning to analyze when starting to build out a CX strategy is how people are finding out about their companies in the first place. If you're getting a lot of referrals from one particular source, it might be worth investigating that avenue further. This data also helps teams understand what type of messaging is resonating with potential customers.

While it will always be important to focus on your core customer base, don’t neglect the importance of reaching new customers. And finding this data is easy. Just start by investigating different avenues such as social media channels — including Twitter hashtags, Facebook business pages/profiles — and your Google rating and reviews.

3. Interaction History: Optimizing All CX Touchpoints

How have your customers interacted with your company in the past (e.g., online chat, phone call, in-person visit)? When did they interact with you? This will show your team how to best reach your customers with proactive answers to questions before they’ve even been asked.

Having a record of interaction history also allows teams to look past customer behavior and instead predict future behavior. What will customers purchase next? How often do they come back for more information? What questions are you not successfully providing answers to? This helps teams anticipate customer needs and optimize each touchpoint of the customer experience accordingly.

Related Article: Connected Customers, Connected Data, Connected Journeys

4. Customer Service Data: Empowering Call Center Agents

Every CX leader should spend their first two weeks on the job in their contact center with customer service agents. There is no quicker or surer way to discover gaps in customer-facing communication.

How do your customers interact with customer service? Do they call, email or chat?

Learning Opportunities

If you find that most of your customers are emailing customer service, for example, make it easier for them to find answers to their questions on your website. Alternatively, if you find that most of your customers are calling customer service, make it easier for them to get in touch with a live person via live chat messaging.

Several top CX players are taking this concept one step further by establishing an insights sharing program for frontline employees. By creating an easily accessible suggestions portal (kind of like a virtual suggestion box), your customer service agents and other frontliners can easily submit new ideas and insights into how to make your company’s CX better.

You could even gamify the process so that every month or every quarter, a new idea is selected for piloting and implementation — and the “winner” who submitted the idea gets a reward or recognition of some kind.

Related Article: Are Your Call Center Operations Making Employees Leave?

5. Website Data: Keep Your Site Fresh

Utilize heat map software that will help you visualize how people interact with your website. What pages do they visit most often? Where do they drop off the most? This will help you determine which buttons and messages to place “above the fold” at the top of your homepage.

This type of insight will also allow you to optimize the features and pages that people are clearly experiencing frustration with. If you find that people are dropping off on your product pages, for example, have your team add more information or make it easier for them to compare products.

Conclusion: Start With Internal Churn, Not Customer Churn

When establishing a new CX program, focus is often placed on customer churn and attrition right out of the gate — but this is a misguided place to start when it comes to creating a CX roadmap. In my experience, employee churn is often a better upfront indicator of CX health.

Employee experience (EX) and CX alignment is critical because customer success is directly tied to EX. The average customer service representative between ages 20 and 34 stays on the job for just over one year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average call center turnover rate is as high as 45% — at least twice the average turnover in other departments.

Technology, process implementation and quality training empower employees to deliver the level of service customers expect. Employees need to have their day-to-day optimized and feel supported to operate at the speed of the customer. Improving CX and driving growth are initiatives that are directly tied to optimizing EX.

The data-driven approach to CX is not a new one. But sometimes we tend to start with the easily accessible datasets when we should be paying attention to more fundamental metrics.

After all, in order to build a solid program, you have to start with the foundation.

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