How to unify customer data for the best customer experience

We hope you are doing well during the pandemic and this series was written prior to the pandemic, and we think it will be of help as you seek to glean insights towards maximum value and impact using your data. Now, we have written about customer experience versus user experience here, explaining how the two concepts work together to create a unified whole. Good customer experience begins before your customer has even heard of your company. It’s everything from seamless web design to a follow-up note after purchase. It’s ensuring that the purchase or service experience with that business is pleasing, so the customer comes back again and again, creating brand loyalty.

With so much data readily available and the switch to AI-first, gathering and understanding your customer data is a way not only to gain insights into your customers but also to create opportunities for you to serve them better, creating an even better and more engaging customer experience than ever before. Here’s how to unify customer data for the best CX.

What separates you from your competitors?

What makes your company special, when compared to your competitors? Why do your customers return to you and not to them? Some companies create finishing flourishes, beautiful packaging, personal notes. Others create the best online user experience where it’s fast and easy to check out and get what you want (i.e. Amazon) and the unify that with a generally good customer experience (i.e. fast delivery, easy returns without labels, and so on). 

On the other hand, have you ever shopped from a retailer who made it so difficult for you to find your item, order it, and then when it came to returning the item, they made it so much of a hassle that you couldn’t be bothered? How often did you shop with that retailer again? Most likely, not often.

How do you create a seamless customer experience? 

What makes Amazon different from this other retailer? Most likely, it’ll come down to data. Amazon reminds you in your inbox of what products you’ve been looking at or what products you might be interested in. They keep your entire shopping history. If you click on a product you’ve purchased, Amazon will tell you the date you last purchased this item. They’ll make wish lists, shopping lists, save for laters, one-click shopping; they’ll have tracking ads on your social media in case you ever forget that you forgot to buy that replacement phone charger! They create almost an annoying easy and unified shopping experience. They are pervasive. But, at the end of the day, they give customers the kind of experience other companies try to emulate. And how many people order from other companies and wonder why their product can’t be there the same afternoon or the next day by 9 pm? 

Amazon is nothing if not consistent. And this consistency creates a seamless experience. So, how can you do that for your industry and your sector?

How do I unify my customer data?

If at this point you aren’t collecting some sort of data on your customers and potential customers, you need to start. You can use analytics tools such as Data Studio and others to collect analytics. You can create landing pages with data-collection forms. You can conduct user-testing and surveys. There are multiple ways to collect customer data and you should be collecting as much information on your potential customers as you can.

If you have no idea who your customer is and what they want, how can you keep them happy? If you never receive feedback or respond to customer praise and complaints, how can you improve? 

Once you’ve collected data–or begun to–you need to put it all in one place. You’ll need to put your data dashboards, your CRM technology metrics, your email campaigns, billing data, your website metrics, and any other relevant data in once place to analyze. 

Follow your buyer journey and track the data

How does your customer begin and end their journey with you? The point of purchase (whether you’re a service or retainer) should not be the endpoint. In fact, it’s cheaper to retain existing (already converted) customers than it is to attract new ones, so a smart business will work on customer retention and continuing to adapt to what your customer base wants.

Create a data strategy that can track your customer journey from beginning to end and to the retention stage. Tracking this data can help you know where to spend your ad money or where to invest more in content marketing, for example. Data helps you understand where to spend your marketing dollars and invest and, conversely, where to pull the plug on less successful ventures.

What is a Customer Data Platform?

Consider using a Customer Data Platform (CDP), which is a software solution that creates a centralized repository of customer data by combining databases and information from disparate sources. A CDP is essential to have in order to be able to then create a holistic customer experience management program and to consider every data point along the customer journey, towards human-centered, relationship-based customer experience transformation. For more, see this read on unifying customer data for positive customer experience here.

How can I get started?

If you want a data and customer experience management or transformation strategy in place for this upcoming year, connect with Key Medium today. We can help you understand your customer journey, your buyer persona, your recommended target keywords, how to track your website analytics by connecting your existing or rebuilt site to Google Data Studio, and kickoff your Customer Experience Transformation and CX program. From web design and development to branding, CX consulting, analytics, and much more, we can deliver the service you want to help you grow.

Elaine, an SEO Specialist and Content Writer

Elaine Frieman holds a Master’s Degree and is a UK-based professional editor, educational writer, and former marketing agency content writer where she wrote articles for disparate clients using SEO best practice. She enjoys reading, writing, walking in the countryside, traveling, spending time with other people’s cats, and going for afternoon tea.