Let’s face it: Data is the beating heart of the modern world. There’s even data to be gathered when you walk through the park, meet a friend for dinner, or read a good book. That’s excellent news for companies like yours, because it means there’s always more to learn about your customers—and more ways to encourage them to engage with your brand.
But there’s bad news, too: If you don’t leverage that customer data to create actionable insights, it’s all but useless.
Don’t waste time gathering information only to let it sit alone in a corner. Instead, check out the highlights from our webinar. Let Jeremy Bowler, SVP of Research and Consulting at Escalent, show you how to put data to work!
When data isn’t enough
Many companies think data is the answer to all their problems. They’re not entirely wrong; after all, data is an important part of any customer relationship. However, collecting this information is just one step—and if you don’t take the others, you’ll never get anywhere.
There are two main reasons businesses like yours can get stuck in the data capture phase:
- Customers create an incredible amount of information every day
- Collecting this information takes a lot of work, which means it can easily masquerade as a complete process in itself rather than the initial activity in a much bigger strategy
Think of customer data like a pile of puzzle pieces. Until you put those pieces together, there’s no picture. To tell meaningful, relevant, impactful stories, you need to turn that data into something bigger. Unfortunately, there are two big challenges inherent to this process:
- Prioritization: You need valuable data in a timely manner, but you also need that data to be accurate and reliable. This means you’re left to find the balance between speed and quality.
- Manipulation: Moving data from system to system can jeopardize the quality and create months-long delays. Manipulation, therefore, is all but impossible.
The good news is that there’s a tool ready and waiting to help overcome these challenges. As Jeremy explains, that’s where dashboards come in.
Putting your data to work
If data is like an incomplete puzzle, a dashboard is the table you sit at when it’s time to put everything together. It’s your foundation, your home base, and your way of keeping all that disparate information in one place. According to Jeremy, “Dashboarding, in its essence, is selecting the information that matters and integrating it with operational metrics.”
Put simply, this is the secret to leveraging customer data.
This tool should prepare you and your organization to consume large datasets and turn them into insights. At Alida, we believe that requires a few key elements:
Customers have a lot to say, and they’re almost always ready to say it. That means a dashboard should be capable of gathering and displaying real-time data so you can respond as soon as possible. Better yet, that data should always be accurate because it’s straight from the source (which means no more balancing between speed and reliability).
Qualitative and quantitative analysis
You have a variety of tools in your customer feedback utility belt. Your dashboard must allow you to unite them, putting qualitative and quantitative data side-by-side to create a full view of your audience. Even better, you should be able to aggregate and compare this data across multiple sources, all in one place.
A dashboard should be fully customizable, integrating smoothly into your existing customer relationship approach or helping you design a new one. That way, user data fits organically into the story of your brand and can be effectively utilized by your teams.
When a dashboard offers these three things, you know you have what you need to turn information into insights. As Jeremy explains, “The ability to fuse external data with internal metrics has really been a game-changer in terms of injecting the voice of the customer into day-to-day business operations.”
Best practices for leveraging customer data
Dashboards are a highly effective tool for putting all those puzzle pieces together. However, even a puzzle master can tell you that best practices will help along the way. Here’s what Jeremy recommends:
Understand your users
Jeremy tells us it’s best to begin by understanding what success will look like in the eyes of the end-user. That way, when you start to implement their feedback, you can show them something that matches their vision of success.
One thing that brings brands and customers together is the ability to capture verbatim comments using a dashboard. When users can express themselves in their own words, they feel heard—and for the people relying on that data, this kind of honesty is what Jeremy calls a game-changer. In this way, he says, “customer feedback becomes just one more vital element of a successful operation.”
Understand your goal
Another way to get the most out of your dashboard and the data it aggregates is to understand what you want to gain from this process. Here are a few things to consider when framing this goal:
- Which questions are you trying to answer?
- Which demographics are interested in your brand and why?
- Who’s using your feedback dashboard?
- How can you best communicate your findings?
- What type of interaction will offer the larger scope for creativity and organic thought on your customers’ part?
Understand your insights
As Jeremy explains, “The most critical information often prompts additional questions.” That means you can develop an insight only to realize there’s even more to the story.
For this reason, it’s especially important to keep track of changes, updates, or new information in your dashboard. When you can clearly see what you’re learning from customer data and how this impacts your business, it’s much easier to pivot based on new information from a customer.