customer experience We’re all concerned about our privacy these days. This is especially critical when it comes to customer experience. Everywhere we turn, we hear about another instance of data incursion invading our lives in ways we don’t always understand.  But, before we condemn data gathering, here are some questions: What are the beneficial uses of data that may actually enrich our personal lives? Should we distinguish uses of data tracking based on intent and benefits to us? Give Me Back My Privacy What worries us most about big data is when we don’t understand the intent or use of the data.  This occurs when we don’t have control and we don’t understand if there is any benefit.  Worse, we worry about what unexpected results can occur from being targeted by data collection. Are we just part of a grand marketer’s scheme and another statistic in a sales opportunity?  In a recent Wall Street Journal ‘Big Data’ report, the lead article discussed data privacy and cited the following alarming statistics:

  • 2000-plus times: The estimated number of times  the online activity of an average internet user is tracked per day
  • 1205: Number of websites among the 2150 most popular in the U.S. where Facebook can track the activity of users
  • $27.61: Estimated annual value to Facebook of a very active U.S. female user’s data ($22.09 for a male)
  • 3,000-plus: Number of shopping tendencies Acxiom says it can measure for nearly every U.S. household

This is startling information. We are definitely not anonymous on the ‘net’. Data Driven for a Better Customer Experience Let’s look at a positive use of data where the intent is to help us obtain a better customer experience. We know that the success of Amazon is in large part is due to being obsessed with customers.  According to a recent article, “One important curiosity that remains is that of all of the great customer service that Amazon provides, it still doesn’t explain why they’re making billions of dollars in sales each quarter. Similar organizations like Costco and Target demonstrate their world-class customer service as well — yet their combined market capitalization trails Amazon’s by $98 billion.”   The answer is: data! When No Data Means Customer Experience Disaster Without collecting key customer data in our customer journeys, failures occur that destroy the experience and the end to end journey.  Here is an example based on a bad experience that a customer had when dealing with a billing problem.  The customer is a frequent buyer with a decent spend rate and might even be considered a blue chip customer, having accounts for home and business.  After speaking with customer service the previous day, the customer calls in again about the same billing problem…

  • Failure #1: The voice response system treats the long time customer like a first time caller, like everyone else.  The customer is not recognized, nor is there any recognition of a problem or recent discussion with Customer Service just the day before.
  • Failure #2: The customer wades through the voice response system to request a live person.  Again, there is no recognition of the issue, or the customer status and they wait in line like everyone else for the next representative.
  • Failure #3: When the customer finally gets to a live person, she is asked who she is and what she wants.  The customer starts over from the beginning as frustration boils over.

When Timely Data Means a Great Experience When data can be leveraged for a specific purpose that is beneficial by helping to personalize the experience and connect the customer journey, it can be transformative.  Here is a different kind of experience:

  • Success #1: The customer calls in and reaches the voice response system, the system asks: “Is this Betty Smith?” Upon responding yes, the automated voice response system asks if she is “calling in about the recent billing transaction”.  It then advises Betty that she will be routed to next available resource.
  • Success #2: Betty is given priority handling due to the customer inconvenience – and routed to an experienced billing specialist.
  • Success #3: The billing specialist receives a screen pop informing them of Betty’s billing issue and intent, and starts off the conversation by apologizing for the inconvenience, creating a positive customer experience.

When is Your Data Beneficial to You? What do you think?  Does this use of data collection make sense when it used for a specific purpose, at precisely a moment of opportunity when it is needed in your customer’s journey? The alternative is going back to a time period, before companies like Amazon, where we were all treated in the same ordinary way with no personalization and no differentiation.  Let’s not go back there! To learn more about how great companies are leveraging data to create great customer experiences across multiple channels, read the white paper Connecting the Dots: Proven Methodologies for Managing Customer Conversations. Follow me @dlarus

Dudley Larus

I'm passionate about improving the customer experience Dudley Larus is a senior principal consultant in the Genesys Professional Services organization working with customers on their cx projects as a business analyst. Previously, he was part of the Genesys Product Marketing...