The first step of customer experience planning should always be data analysis. The slicing and dicing of years and years of complicated data may sound cumbersome, but it’s incredibly valuable. Some of that data is structured and easily quantifiable, such as sales data, CRM, transactional data, and customer demographics. Much of it is unstructured, like website discussion boards or social listening.
Together, the structured and unstructured data gives us the lay of the land by determining the number of different journeys your customers may be on with your brand. Data defines the long-term value of each journey, tying each customer to their revenue stream and allowing us to prioritize the customers who provide the most value or customers whose experiences need the most help.
But we can’t use customer data analysis alone.
While we can pretty accurately see within our heaps of data what each subset of our customer base has done or is doing, we can’t readily see why. In following a customer’s experience, the “why” of things is necessary for both prediction and implementing long-term change to our customer’s self-determined journey.
For that, we need a lens into the motivators that drove the customer to take the actions that resulted in the corresponding data point. Data doesn’t provide that. We want to be aware of any barriers they had to overcome, or in the case of someone deciding not to become a customer, they didn’t overcome. You won’t see that in the data, either.
To get to where we want to be, we use the data analysis to inform strategic qualitative studies by pinpointing areas of focus for deeper discovery. Using each customer’s individual data footprint to guide us, we engage them directly in a deep discussion about why they made the choices they did at each junction. They are pressed to acknowledge their actual behavior and deal in realities. We can get a better understanding of the motivators that drove their actions, and the emotions they felt at each of the points along their journey.
These qualitative insights help to uncover pain points and put meat on the bones that the data provided us. With these two together, we are able to go past just understanding “what” customers do and start to get at that “why.” This research is critical to informing our CX planning. It gives the opportunity to lead, rather than follow, by uncovering experiences that provide value to both the customer and the brand.
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