A story about how data powers your customer experience

I was trying to engage a colleague in the supposition that the most engaging and addictive customer experiences tend to be the most data driven.  My colleague (an ardent fan of delivering customer delight) looked at me strangely and asked, “surely the best customer experiences are driven through the human interaction with customer success rockstars?” I reflected – surely a human being engaging with a customer is always going to deliver the best experience?

“How long have you been married?”, I ask.

“27 years”, came the reply.

“How was the first date?”

My colleague shares an embarrassing first date story.  I blush.

“But I bet that 6 months later, it was quite different?”, I ask.

“Oh yes, when we had got to know each other, it felt great, we were meant for each other”, replies colleague.

“And after a year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 27 years, it must have got better and better?”, I suggest.

My colleague agrees.

“So on the first date, your internal data warehouse was pretty empty, not a lot of data points.  Most of the data points are unknown.  After some time, your internal data warehouse has more reference points.  You are more confident on buying a birthday present, or cooking their favourite meal.  After a lot of time, your internal data warehouse is really full of data, and you feel confident in predicting how they might react to scenarios, etc.”

Colleague slowly nods their head.  The penny drops.

In fact, your memories and experiences are not at all dissimilar to a data warehouse.  The data is collected in isolation, but connected together through logic.  It starts with binary responses – Bob does not like shellfish – and grows into insight and ability to predict outcomes – if Bob does not like shellfish, he probably won’t enjoy langoustine, even though he never tried them.

The more data points you can create, validate and link, the more likely you are to be able to interpret, predict and respond to a customer action.  Far from being customer fan’s nemesis, data is in fact our best friend.  You own the desired outcome – the data helps you determine HOW to achieve it.

An article I recently read pointed out that we aren’t looking to make customers happy – happy customers still leave.  In fact, we are looking to make customers successful (moving through our customer journey) – successful customer achieve value, form habits with our product and become fans – driving advocacy, renewal and cross-sell / up-sell.





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