— September 19, 2019
Hidden inside customer data, there are many opportunities to grow and improve your brand, but what if you don’t know what to look for? Say your customer just completed onboarding quicker than the average user, but you missed the chance to recognize their success. How do you build that relationship if your team does not have the right tools to engage intelligently with customers?
If key information like this is passing you by, then your customer data isn’t properly organized and optimized to turn raw information into value-driven customer engagements. Customer data must be actionable or else it is just a heavy collection of wasted opportunities.
The best way to do this is by using a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP works like a living set of customer success instructions. It can produce a detailed, timely picture of your customer’s day-to-day reality that guides customer engagement. A customer data platform benefits both you and your customers, allowing you to turn information into results-oriented, value-driven action.
What is a Customer Data Platform?
The on-demand, customizable nature of today’s digital marketplace means customers have come to expect service providers to know their needs intimately and to meet them routinely. With the bulk of customer value derived over years of renewal, recurring revenue enterprises have to provide new value to customers as their business grows and evolves over time.
A customer data platform is fundamental to that task. It is a reserve of every piece of customer information gathered throughout the customer journey.
It brings together:
- Customer demographics
- Financial information
- Voice of customer information
- Support tickets
- Product usage
- Logged interactions
This information is not only a history of your customer relationship but a guide to future action. Its power lies in its ability to connect the dots of this disparate information and create a detailed assessment of the customer experience.
Customer Data Platform Benefits
Your customer data platform should be the foundation of all your customer success engagements. To maximize its dynamic data collection and presentation potential, however, you have to customize it according to your enterprise’s priorities. To deliver value to customers, gather and analyze information that matters for their business goals.
Your customer data platform should provide several benefits, including:
- Information in Real-Time. Servicing the customer depends on understanding their unique goals and how they are progressing towards them. Your customer data platform can collect, organize, and present information in real-time. Product usage, for example, fluctuates daily and develops over time into a trend line. Carefully monitoring this metric can reveal customer behavior patterns and the use of specific features during key organizational campaigns or seasons.
- Clean Up Messy Data. Customer data doesn’t arrive in neatly organized bytes ready to be categorized and analyzed. Most businesses collect data in various states of imperfection and have to spend resources refining it. Your customer data platform should, however, take an incremental approach to data and adapt its collection methods over time. As your resource builds, you can add additional data streams and refine your customer information so your CDP will provide easily accessible and actionable items.
- Customize Collection and Storage. A customer data platform allows you to customize the way data is collected and stored. It leverages your customer knowledge to prioritize information you know accurately reflects the customer experience or closely relates to the customer’s business goals. Organizing your data to reflect the way your enterprise functions lets you generate metrics and alerts that can be quickly turned into action.
- Cause and Effect. The customer data platform has an insatiable appetite for information gathering. Being able to control the presentation of that information gives you the power to provide deeper context. You can view any data points in direct comparison to each other to understand the cause and effect of a customer engagement, escalation, or the before and after of a targeted campaign.
While all these benefits are crucial, the customer data platform is only the foundation of your customer success strategy.
Making the Most of Your Customer Data Platform
Once customer information is refined and organized within a customer data platform, it can be leveraged into actionable engagements using customer success software. You will need to be able to turn raw data into goals-based metrics and outcomes that guide effective customer success initiatives.
When using these two platforms in tandem, you can keep a close eye on customer health scores. These color-coded representations of the customer experience are drawn directly from customer information. They combine several customizable metrics and KPIs into one comprehensive measurement that gives the customer success team an instantly recognizable understanding of a customer’s status.
You can also establish an early warning system that will instantly notify you of any changes in the customer experience. They act as prompts to capitalize on an opportunity or to ward off potential churn.
To take this data further, you could use software such as Spark to operationalize the data, and Zoe to make data accessible to your entire enterprise.
Using Customer Data to Create Engaged Customers
The real benefit of a customer data platform is it makes it easier to keep your customers happy. It places all the information you’ve gathered at your fingertips, ready for action.
By sharing this information across your enterprise and leveraging it with customer success software, you create a customer-centered environment that is responsive to your customer’s needs. With all this information driving your customer engagements, you’ll be solving problems customers didn’t know they had and delivering value they didn’t realize was possible.
And you’ll never miss another customer milestone.