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Customers Are Talking Behind Your Back (And That’s a Good Thing)

Customers Are Talking Behind Your Back (And That’s a Good Thing)

Customers Are Talking Behind Your Back (And That’s a Good Thing)

As part of Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series—a collection of articles written by industry thought leaders in maturing software categories—Ben Lempert, the Director of Web and Content at Heap, explains why customers talking “behind your back” can be a good thing for your company.

In the fast-paced and ever-evolving digital landscape, customers have higher expectations than ever when it comes to their online experiences. The latest Intercom Customer Service Trends Report for 2023 shows that customers want convenience, efficiency, and relevant information.  

The good news is companies no longer have to guess what it will take to improve the customer journey. Your website and mobile app will tell you that. How? Through data. Now, it’s easy for customers to gather informative user behavioral data of the entire customer journey, including what pages your customers are visiting, what products they are interested in, how they are interacting with your website or app, and if there are friction points that prevent them from completing a download, conversion, or sale.

These days, data can tell you what your customers are thinking and feeling. The question is: Are you listening?

Luckily, that’s not so difficult, either. By implementing the following strategies, companies can “see” and “hear” what their customers are saying: 

1) Collect a complete and comprehensive dataset

No matter how sophisticated your analysis is, you can’t do anything with data you don’t have. Ideally, you can collect data from all customer touchpoints, including your website, mobile web, mobile app, social media, and customer support channels. The more comprehensive raw data you collect, the better understanding you will have of your customers’ needs. 

Here is the process for collecting that complete dataset: 

  • Establish a unified source of truth: Centralize your data into a single source of truth. This means creating a centralized database or data warehouse where all the collected data is stored and managed.
  • Connect all customer data sources to the source of truth: Ensure that all the customer data sources are integrated with the unified source of truth. This will enable a complete view of each customer’s interactions across different touchpoints and platforms.
  • Use a tool that supports retroactive tracking: Retroactive tracking refers to the ability to capture historical data even before setting up the data collection process. You want a tool to retroactively collect and integrate past user interactions to create a comprehensive historical data record.
  • Account for data/schema changes: Data formats or schemas may change over time due to system updates or business requirements. Account for these changes and ensure the data integration process can manage updates.
  • Give prospects unique identifiers that can be used across systems: Assigning prospects unique identifiers will help accurately track customer journeys and interactions.

2) Create an information taxonomy

This is where you set up a data layer foundation that describes your users’ interactions with your product or company in the language of your business. This will help you organize your data to find the information you need. Taxonomy should be based on your business goals and your customer’s needs so that it can evolve with your business. 

When building your taxonomy, consider these points: 

  1. Establish naming conventions
  2. Document data structures with examples 
  3. Declare event specifications and data as a business taxonomy. This means defining the key events or customer actions you want to track and mapping them to the data layer’s taxonomy. This will help in structuring data capture in alignment with business objectives.
  4. Determine a process for making changes to this established taxonomy. As your business evolves, the data taxonomy may require updates, so you must select a strategy to manage these changes, ensuring data consistency and accuracy.

3) Determine your ID resolution strategy 

Because data is about the customer, the next step is to define what a user is and how their identity can be carried across their lifecycle. This will help you link together data from various sources to get a complete picture of each customer’s journey. Typically, most companies have four primary life cycles within an experience—a user is unknown, the user gets acquired, the user is engaged with and converts, and the user is nurtured and supported to keep them around.

When determining your ID resolution strategy, make sure to: 

  1. Convey the definition of your user 
  2. Outline specifications of the user lifecycle 
  3. Form an identity resolution strategy 
  4. Determine gaps in resolution projects to fill
  5. Identify the creative assets, tracking mechanisms, and technological tools required to implement your customer data collection and analysis process effectively.
  6. Keep resources and budgetary constraints in mind

4) Formulate hypotheses, analyze, and repeat

Once you have a complete dataset organized around a taxonomy that is meaningful to the business and has determined how to resolve identities across all user interactions, you can formulate hypotheses about your customers’ behavior. After forming hypotheses, you can use data analysis to ask questions, perform tests, and experiment with these hypotheses to identify areas where your customer experience can be improved. This is the fun part for most data product managers. Important: Not having a complete dataset will restrict the analysis you can do!

When conducting and testing hypotheses, consider the following: 

  1. Explore the dataset, ask questions, and develop insights 
  2. Chart new experiments to try. For example, based on the insights gained from the data analysis, create a roadmap of experiments and improvements you plan to implement to enhance the customer experience.
  3. Construct A/B testing. This means testing things on your website, such as call-to-action buttons, content layout, landing pages, and more, to determine which variation performs better. 
  4. Track A/B testing results down to revenue 
  5. Create a log of experiments to track learnings and grow from the findings

5) Monitor progress

The last step is to rinse and repeat. Once you have improved your customer experience, it is essential to monitor your progress and ensure that the changes are having a positive impact. When monitoring and measuring for success, you should constantly be thinking — have we changed the customer experience? The mandate and goal are to change the customer experience for the better. When monitoring for progress, it is essential to: 

  1. Integrate data syndication and orchestration. 
  2. Utilize reporting tools and platforms to view data insights 
  3. Establish a schedule for regular data measurement and analysis to maintain a proactive approach to customer experience improvement. Continue asking if the needle is being moved for the business. 
  4. If able, gather qualitative data and assess it. 

In the era of heightened customer expectations, harnessing the power of user data has become indispensable for businesses aiming to thrive in the digital landscape. By implementing these five key strategies, companies can embark on a journey toward data nirvana.

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