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PHOTO: Laura Chouette | unsplash

For over a decade now companies have been capitalizing on the three V's of big data: volume, variety and velocity. The ready availability of customer data — in theory — translated into a goldmine of insights for businesses. Yet according to a recent Teradata report, even though companies collect ever-increasing amounts of data on customers, many still have a difficult time discerning how to use that data to provide better CX.

More specifically, though 82% of respondents said their firms are trying to collect more types of customer data, 61% went on to admit that capturing and making sense of digital customer data is difficult for them and 55% said  understanding customers across all touchpoints and lifecycle stages is challenging.

Steps to Get More Out of Customer Data 

Companies can take the following steps to make better use of data they are collecting, said Eric Bradlow, GBK Collective co-founder and vice dean of analytics at The Wharton School.

  • Focus on better data, not big data. An ongoing challenge organizations face today is what we call “better data, not big data.” Too often companies are collecting data for data’s sake, rather than taking a lean approach where they only collect data when it helps optimize the experience for their target customers, or better prediction of future behaviors. Data collection is in no one’s interest when it’s not meaningfully tied to strategy.
  • Clearly define the business problem. To identify better data, you also need to develop a well-scoped overview of the business problem and customer need you intend to solve for, and understand how it maps to your overall strategy. Many brands invest materially in data and marketing science teams that don’t produce intended value, either due to lacking the right data, or not guiding the analytics by well-scoped business objectives or questions. This can render your efforts unproductive while concurrently draining your budget. 
  • The key collecting meaningful data is asking the right questions up front (i.e., what data is truly needed to improve CX and customer lifetime value over time). Another key is supplementing your internal data with external data, like surveys or third-party data, to help ensure the analysis accounts for a broader aperture of what is happening beyond your brand’s boundaries.
  • Optimize and experiment to improve customer value and results. Improving ROI for marketing analytics requires constant learning and experimentation to separate the signal from noise. There’s no better way to learn about your customer than to see what actually works and what doesn’t. While big data and machine learning are great to business intelligence, a well-controlled experiment can deliver far more value. Finding the most impactful experiments to run starts with asking the right questions and maintaining a test and learn mindset where you’re constantly evolving to improve the experience for customers. The iterative adaptation based on these experiments builds momentum.

Related Article: The Data-Driven Organization Is an Endangered Species

Know Your Customers: Segment Buyers From Lookers

The most valuable data comes from separating details of those who engaged, then purchased from your company, and those who did not, said Amy Troutman, head of business operations at Resourceful Compliance.

“Most people focus on where they were lost and not why. For example maybe you are losing browsers on the checkout. You may say that you need a better checkout, but instead link it to the data of those particular customers,” Troutman explained. “Why did those particular customers leave? Then you can look into other reasons behind the situation such as whether the description on certain products is not clear and making the buyer pause for thought.”

Linking data sets with Google Analytics 4 and Universal Analytics can help provide a more complete picture of a customer’s journey, Troutman said.

Other valuable journey information can be found in differences in purchases between mobile and desktop users, Troutman added. If a much lower percentage buy on mobile, it could be an indication that the way a company offers deals or the descriptions for mobile need to be much more succinct because a mobile user tends to spend less time in making purchase decisions.

Related Article: What Marketers Need to Know About Google Analytics 4

Check the Boxes

“Most companies are not making the most out of the data they collect through the services they provide and the work they do,” said Lindsay Allard, CEO and co-founder of PlaybookUX. “Any and everything can be used to better your company, and it’s all about figuring out what data really moves the needle and how you can make the most out of it."

So a company should determine:

  • What data provides the most information for you? 
  • What data can consistently be collected?
  • What data can you trust?
  • What data can potentially help you make more money and reach new people?
  • What data might be valuable to your customers or the people you work with?

“Once you realize what data you can access and what data can actually help you, you need to figure out a solid system for the collection, comparison and keeping it,” Allard said. Find a solid routine and process to acquire the data you need and help you. You need to consistently get data from the same place and continue to use it on an ongoing basis for the best results.