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Data is the Foundation for Differentiated Customer Service

Daniel Foppen
CX Service Strategy

Data has always been an important, albeit perhaps boring, aspect of customer experience. In today's world, data is increasingly becoming a mission critical asset for any business. After all, data is the new oil. Within the customer experience (CX) paradigm, data is a source of competitive differentiation when companies can use it to provide better, differentiated customer connections with their brand or service.

However, this is not easy. Most businesses generate more data than they can handle. Companies that execute the right strategy when it comes to data, and leverage that data to offer their customers better experiences, will be best positioned to win.

Enter Customer Service

A crucial part of any successful CX strategy is customer service. The scope of customer service is rapidly expanding due to changing consumer expectations and evolving technologies. Traditional service channels like email or phone remain popular channels while modern digital channels like chat, social messaging, SMS and video chat have grown in popularity, driven by consumer adoption.

Consumer expectations have also changed.  Customers want anyone working for your business to meet any potential need that they have. They do not care about different organizational boundaries. This impacts every touch point that customers may have, whether it’s the field service technician in their living room, the contact center agent, the hotel front-desk employee or the store staff. Consumers expect any and all contacts to be as knowledgeable and helpful as your tier-3 customer service specialist. This makes delivering a consistent customer service experience increasingly difficult. When it comes to delivering great customer service experiences consistently across channels, it becomes crucial to empower everyone in the enterprise to deliver good service by having access to the right information, customers records and processes.

The Internet of Things  (IoT) creates a whole new dimension of customer service. Radically different than traditional customer service, IoT is rapidly becoming a channel by itself. Customer service agents can now connect to devices remotely to troubleshoot, review sensor data, and push new firmware updates. In this realm, we’re also seeing a paradigm shift by moving from reactive customer service to pre-emptive customer service. Connected devices stream sensor data to IoT cloud services that in turn apply machine learning algorithms to identify patterns and anomalies to predict failures that can be prevented by reaching out to customers pro-actively.

All in all, delivering a great customer service today can be tremendously challenging. An essential part to this is having the right data strategy in place to orchestrate this complexity. Data is an important topic for both service and CX leaders, and not something to be outsourced to the CIO.

Data needs to flow unhampered among processes to serve your customers. Ensuring that your customer data is correct increasingly requires a Customer Data Management discipline. Clean customer data in turn is a pre-requisite for AI to deliver on its promise and a fresh look at data-sources beyond the customer service space offers great opportunities for personalization. All this can be summarized under of the idea of data-driven service strategy, which is the name we’ll write this series under.

Stay tuned for the next post in our data-driven service series of posts, in which we’ll talk about the importance of streamlining processes by connecting the front-office with the back-office.



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