CX insight Magazine

January 2020

How Big Data is Impacting the Role of the CX Executive

By: Execs In The Know

Not long ago, customer experience (CX) executives focused on straight forward KPI data like call volume and resolution rate, but as customer needs and technology have evolved – the role of the average CX executive has become more complex. As data has grown more advanced and it’s coming from disparate systems, the pressure to cross reference this data and turn it into actionable insights has become stronger.

“Data analytics differentiates between causation and correlation,” said Thomas Siebert, Consulting Director – Contact Center Strategy & Operations, TBS Inc. “When leadership fails to understand the difference between causation and correlation, they can’t possibly improve performance as they don’t understand the root cause.”

Executives are investing more money into data and analytics in hopes of improving their bottom lines and generating better KPIs throughout their call centers. A recent Gartner survey revealed that 75% of companies increased CX technology investments in 2018, with customer analytics serving as one of the biggest investments at 52%.

The ultimate goal of the increase in tech spending is to get a better overall understanding of the customer’s needs and where their priorities are. With the right systems in place, it is easier than ever to address customer pain points using modern technology – but what good are these systems without the executive know how to collect and interpret the advanced information now available? When it comes to data analysis, how has the role of the CX leader changed in recent years, and what KPIs are being prioritized in 2020?


What Do We Make of All This Data?

One of the recurring topics of discussion we notice during Customer Response Summit sessions and within our Know It All community is how many organizations have data collection systems in place but were unsure of the best ways to utilize it to generate KPIs. It shows a dichotomy of how even though certain aspects of data sourcing have withstood the test of time, (surveys, employee feedback, word-of-mouth reviews), there are emerging areas execs need to focus on such as social media data and web analytics.

Execs’ scope of work has become wider due to emerging areas of data sourcing, but with advancements in data, companies simply have more information that supports the customer’s pain points and all the available ways to fix them. Brandon Linton, VP at Marriott, touched on this subject and explained how Marriott’s contact center strategy trickled into other silos within the company.

“In the past, we had many different data warehouses and reports (due to organization structure, increasing complexity, and acquisitions). Over the past few years, we have consolidated and enhanced the systems creating data (e.g. Workforce Management, Telephony, Case Management), and our data warehouse, data management tools, and reporting tools,” said Linton. “This has allowed increased automation of data processing – not just in traditional analytics, but also in other departments around the company. These efforts have also made our data more consistent and our reports easier to understand. We’ve used the capacity freed up from automation and management of redundant systems to begin experimenting with advanced analytics, for example, machine learning.”

Data sourcing is the foundation of modern analytics strategies, and its place in CX isn’t going anywhere. Gartner predicts that 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to some aspect of customer experience by 2020. As companies in all industries continue to take on a more data-driven mindset, the execs at the top have to think in ways they never did in past decades to make sure data is at the core of every CX solution from the call center on up.


Execs Can’t Ignore Marketing’s Place in CX

An exec who is well-versed in data analytics is not only a strong asset when it comes to CX, but in marketing as well.

Data-driven marketing solutions are leverages to personalize messaging, identify actionable insights, operate a multi-channel strategy, enhance experiences, and inform project improvements. Because of this, the modern CX exec must be tech-savvy enough to know how to leverage advanced marketing technologies to maximize overall impact, and empathetic enough to reach customers on their terms.

According to Econsultancy and SAP Customer Experience’s report, CX leaders invest in marketing technology to capture insights about customers more often than their mainstream counterparts. A strong CX leader in 2020 knows how to use modern marketing technologies to make the customer’s experience more personal and engaging.

Execs who are able to make the leap from being functional to strategic are the ones who will provide the most value in 2020. CX practitioners who holistically look beyond just serving customers better and focus on strategic projects and initiatives backed by big data will have the leg up on the competition in 2020.


Humanizing Data to Benefit the Customer

Knowing how to control marketing platforms and data analysis are vital weapons at the modern CX leader’s disposal, and these initiatives are best paired with an empathetic approach to the customer journey.

Having empathy plays right into predictive analytics, consumer psychology, and behavioral economics. To understand the customer’s pain points and implement a better journey map, CX leaders must have more empathy than in years past while also learning to use data to evaluate what impact customers’ emotions have on the buying process and the overall customer experience.

Technology created more touchpoints – thus, creating more pain points for the customer. Combining data analysis with an empathetic omnichannel approach becomes more important when customers have so many more ways of getting in touch with a company.

When we spoke with Siebert, he pointed out the KPIs he focuses on most often in 2020 – and they aren’t anything too far out of left field. “If customer satisfaction is low, and/or dissatisfaction is high, yet your QA is 87%, it means you are executing as required and customers do not like your policies, procedures and/or product,” he added. “When this occurs, you can create a pain point document highlighting to your executive team which products/services are causing customers pain and why, and a recommendation to improve.”

Siebert also champions First Contact Resolution (FCR) and Net Promoter Score (NPS), and overall quality (from an agent level) as pivotal KPIs in modern day CX. These KPIs, along with call lengths, escalations, and many others all shed light on the difference between causation and correlation to paint a clearer picture for executives when it comes to where they need to allocate their budget and resources for data.

Humanizing data to bridge the emotional gap nurtures lifelong, loyal customers who are excited to tell other people about your product. The CX leader who acts as a behavioral expert to get inside the customer’s mind and analyze more advanced analytics – such as hovers and scrolls – will be more equipped to handle the nonstop evolution of customer needs.

Dynatrace conducted a global survey of 800 ICOs and determined that 73% felt the desire for speed in digital innovation has put customer experience at risk. It represents an often-overlooked area of modern CX in the sense that too much focus on data and technology can easily make the human element feel less important. Empathy and behavioral analysis still remain at the core of an all-encompassing, data-driven CX strategy despite the uprising of new technologies and data sources.


To Summarize

The modern CX leader who is best positioned to thrive in the future knows how to incorporate soft and hard skills, remain flexible to keep up with emerging technologies, and add to his or her skill sets in ways past CX leaders never did. With a bevy of KPIs to prioritize, both old and new, data has never been more predictive or customizable than it is today. This gives 2020’s CX leaders plenty of tools to arm their call centers with.

The chief experience officers of tomorrow will be even better at leveraging data and analytics to not only improve the bottom line, but to improve budget and resource allocation in-house all with the common goal of providing more value to the customer by anticipating and solving future problems.