Guide to Customer Data Platforms: Boosting User Experience

A successful customer experience (CX) strategy depends on a brand’s ability to deliver a seamless customer journey across all their touchpoints. But the average company uses a dozen different customer-interaction management systems, according to Aberdeen Strategy Research, which can lead to a disjointed experience for their customers.

So, how can brands begin to build the foundations of their customer experience strategy?

Any data-driven strategy requires three core things:

  • Data organized into a usable format.
  • An analysis of the data; the insights you derive from this step will lead you into your strategy and implementation plan.
  • Effective execution against that strategy.

Typically, there are three team members involved in these core stages:

  • An engineer who gathers all the data and normalizes it.
  • A data scientist who asks the right questions of the data and analyzes it in a way that supports strategy development.
  • A business analyst or strategist who uses that analysis to create use cases for implementation. 

With a customer data platform (CDP), these processes and the interactions among team members are streamlined. A CDP allows you to coalesce all your siloed data sources, such as your marketing, customer identity, and e-commerce platforms, which are currently disconnected in many enterprises.

Then, the CDP allows you to do that second step of analysis, including creation of different segmentation models and queries. Following that, the CDP allows you to create customer activation journeys and use cases more efficiently, so you can act quickly on your data insights. 

Also see: What is Data Mining? 

Leveraging CDP to Enhance Customer Experience 

One of the biggest challenges to implementing a CDP is knowing where to direct its capabilities first, once the siloed data is unified. The first step should be to create and study the unified view of the customer. That customer view will be the foundation for your CX strategy.

Next, it’s a good idea to start with low-hanging fruit, maybe one KPI that you’re responsible for, such as growth, acquisition cost reduction, or conversion rate increase. The CDP can help you identify steps to take for improvement in these areas. 

A common example of how the CDP can help address problems in the customer journey is in the area of personalized display ads. Many of us have had the experience of being shown a retailer’s ad for a product we’ve already purchased – this can be frustrating and undermines the sense that the retailer knows us well. A CDP can show you why that’s happening. 

For example, a customer might add an item to their online cart, abandon the cart, and then buy the item in-store. Without unified data, the advertising platform won’t know they’ve already made the purchase at a retail location. With a CDP, you can close the gaps across the various touchpoints in the customer journey. This allows you to personalize ad content correctly while optimizing your marketing spend and improving customer satisfaction, retention, and lifetime value.

Once the easiest wins are addressed, you can move on and use CDP analytics to focus on other KPIs, such as customer churn and loyalty. You can also address operational KPIs that relate to CX, such as identifying ways to reduce the number of calls into your call center or to improve inventory efficiency.

Using CDP Analytics for Enterprise Improvements

The value of a CDP extends beyond customer experience. For example, you can use your CDP to find and close gaps in GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and other data-privacy regulations or to find ways to reduce your audit costs. What’s more, as a CDP unifies siloed data, it can also empower different teams to work more efficiently, collaborate more easily, and reduce costs. 

For example, your sales team may want to know if your ads are attracting the right customers, while your marketing team may want to target ads more effectively. Typically, these teams request the datasets they need from IT, which adds to IT costs and reduces their resources for work on technical and security issues.

With a CDP as the single source of data, teams can find the information and analytics they need without filing IT requests, so sales and marketing can get to work solving their problems, and IT can focus on its core functions. Meanwhile, your finance team can tap into the CDP to analyze the return on ad spend and find ways to optimize it. 

Also see: Top Data Visualization Tools 

Choosing the Right CDP for Your Organization

Any customer data platform up for consideration should handle the three core functions of data unification, analytics, and actionable insights.

From an infrastructure perspective, look for a CDP that offers a low-code/no-code environment. A good CDP will also plug into your existing technology stack with built-in connectors. This saves time because you can start unifying your siloed data quickly. It also saves money because you’re not required to upgrade your existing technology before you can start deriving value from your CDP. 

Also, consider the CDP’s ease of use for your engineers, data analysts, and marketing strategists. Many legacy marketing platforms can be convoluted and create a frustrating or confusing user experience. Enterprises that want to get the most value from their talent as well as from their customer data will choose a CDP that delivers an intuitive user experience rather than something that requires weeks or months of training.

An intuitive CDP creates a better employee experience, reduces training and enablement costs, and drives ROI. 

Using Your CDP to Compete in the Experience Economy

As customer expectations for positive experiences continue to increase, companies can no longer compete solely on price or on the quality of their products and services. A CDP makes it possible to deliver the kinds of experiences that customers now demand. They do this by recognizing them appropriately, offering properly personalized messages and offers, and making them feel good about engaging with your brand.

Your CDP can be the source of all the data and insights needed to become a data-driven CX organization and accomplish these goals.

Also see: Top Digital Transformation Trends Shaping 2022

About the Author: 

Scott Ramsey, CX Digital Transformation Leader, Capgemini Americas

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