CX professionals may different ideas of what should serve as the “single source of truth” that guides their efforts, but execs with firms ranging from Comcast to Discover agree that consolidating data is just the first step in determining how to improve the experiences their companies deliver.
Speaking in a session as part of the recent DX Summit that was held online, Dana Crandall said Comcast has been focusing its digital transformation by being more mindful of what affects metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS). This can be easier said than done, however, according to the VP of CX in the telco’s residential division.
“What we’ve really found is that in order to take all of these different interactions — knowing that customers don’t start in one channel and finish there, they’re transiting the ecosystem — you have to have that one place where you know everything about the customer,” she said.
That data can range from what services a customer bought, how they bought it, if they’re having service issues and how Comcast is marketing to them, Crandall said. Assuming all that customer “truth” can be put together, the emphasis is then on using that data to become a focus one how to interact with them in the best possible way.”
New Platforms vs. Existing Tech Stacks
There are some companies, like Atlanta-based FullStory, that have created platforms to closely track and monitor customer activity across digital channels. Realistically, though, CX leaders need to recognize that there are many applications in any organization’s tech stack that could be part of a firm’s source of truth.
Agata Bugaj, FullStory’s head of product management, gave examples of customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Salesforce’s Sales Cloud or customer service systems from Zendesk as some of the common areas where the customer “truth” can be found. That’s why CX leaders need to ensure all those systems are well-integrated, she said.
“In our company, Salesforce is a place where customer feedback comes in, and we log it so we’ll have access to it,” she said. “But the PM that relies on hat data, they’re not hanging out on Salesforce. They might be hanging out on Slack.”
Jeff Bielski, vice-president Acquisition Marketing, Consumer Card at Riverwoods, Ill.-based Discover, said his financial services firm is among those who are tackling the issue by deploying a customer data platform (CDP).
Bielski said Discover wanted to use the CDP for “journey orchestration,” where Discover will be able to more readily ingest customer signals and the enhance its experience across the most relevant channels.
Bielski didn’t mention the vendor but companies ranging from BlueVenn to SAP have been offering them as a potential single source of truth.
“It’s not just a matter of putting a platform in place but making sure there’s the right training for those users and the right culture to take advantage of those tools as well,” he said, noting that in Discover’s case the customers are often internal. “We can’t deliver those (use cases) fast enough to those business units. The toolset is going to solve the biggest business challenges that are in front of our stakeholders.”
Why The Truth Should Be Put To The Test
Another alternative for the single source of truth in CX are cloud-based data warehouses, according to Jeremy Levy, CEO of New York-based Indicative. His firm aims to put behavioral analytics in the hands of product managers, empowering them to map, analyze, and optimize the customer journey across every customer touchpoint.
Though cloud computing’s potential value to the data warehouse sector has been discussed for years, Levy said it is only recently that the technology is living up to the hype and aggregating multiple inputs into a repository that can be used for contextual analytics.
That said, Levy suggested the single source of truth may not make a tangible difference in CX if it is seen as a panacea.
“(They’re studying) which campaigns are working, what features, which payment plans, how to price your tiers. Any of these types of questions can be trialed and A/B tested before rolling out to the wider audience. You can effectively know the efficacy of the changes you’re going to be making by taking that approach.”
Candrall agreed and said that was Comcast’s approach. A good example might be looking at common questions or problems that comes into the firm’s call centre, she said, where Comcast can then not only provide agents with training but the authority to do what they need to do to get issues resolved more quickly.
“The more that you chop the experience up — the more you’re handing the customer off to multiple places — the faster it’s going to degrade,” she said.
Many firms assume that good CX means engaging with customers more often, but Crandall said another goal might be looking at urgent CX needs from a single source of truth and trying to figure out how the company could take unnecessary interactions out.
“If I can make a change and you see it as positive, and you don’t pick up the phone and call me or chat with me or reach out asking for a credit, those are all positive things for the business,” she said.
Shane Schick tells stories that help people innovate, and to manage the change innovation brings. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and Yahoo Canada and is the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.