One of the biggest challenges facing businesses when it comes to customer data is finding ways to make it actionable. Indeed, despite the increased investment in customer experience over the last several years, many businesses are yet to see real impact.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, overall satisfaction levels (across all industries) have risen modestly from 74.8 (out of 100) in 1994 to 77 in 2017. Too often what happens, is that management becomes obsessed with metrics and loses sight of what actually needs to be done to improve the customer experience. In other instances, departments can become paralyzed by the change that’s required for a true organizational transformation. On the upside, brands that do create personalized experiences by integrating technology see revenue increase two to three times faster than brands that don’t.

Here are 5 ways that you can begin taking action.

1. Work backwards from what your ultimate customer experience is

What does the ideal customer journey look like from the time they arrive on property to the time they leave? What are they doing, thinking and feeling along the way? What interactions do they have in person and with other touchpoints? How does this journey change on different occasions or for different individuals? Once your ideal customer experience is mapped out, figure out what you need to make that happen, ie how will you know what they’re doing, thinking and feeling and how will you respond in the moment?

2. Map out the ‘offline interactions’

Compare your ideal customer journey with your actual customer journey. What’s missing? What opportunities are there for staff to interact with the customer in a more personalized way? List the opportunities that apply to most visits and decide what the ideal action should be for each.  Do you have the resources required for these interactions (time and/or money is usually involved) and is your staff empowered to take the required action? Finally, how will you close the loop and validate that the customer has been followed up with?

3. Involve all levels of your organization

To affect meaningful change, it’s crucial to have buy-in from all levels of the organization. A cross-functional steering committee can help, but its involvement should be restricted to a strategic level. When it comes to front-line teams, motivation is important. Staff need to be reminded of the impact they can create. Beware of using incentives though – this can result in customers being pressured to leave good reviews, or customer review results otherwise being ‘rigged’.

4. Focus on the most relevant data points only

Decide whether the information gathered is for tactical, operational or strategic insight purposes. When it comes to tactical data, there needs to be a clear action associated with the data point, such as speaking to a customer who is unhappy with the service they received. Operational data points have an implied action, such as a hotel customer who needs an extra room key – the immediate required action being to deliver a key. Strategic insights require further analysis by people with real curiosity into understanding customer behaviour at large.

5. Choose real-time technology platforms that integrate with your data sets

In order to maintain the integrity of your customer experience, your CRM needs to show the full picture, including the points that you identified as key to creating a personalized experience. If your data sets sit in silos, find out how you can bring the relevant points together with a platform that is dynamic and can send alerts to the right people within your organization, at the right time.

A social CRM that can be accessed by all the required teams (sales, customer service, operations, marketing) whether they’re on the go or at a desk means that staff are free to be where they are needed while staying in touch with what is happening. Learn about how Local Measure can help your business build better customer experiences.