• June 16, 2021
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Data Is the Linchpin for Customer Experience, But Problems Persist, CX Connect Speakers Contend

Customer data is everywhere today, but not a lot of it can be trusted, speakers at day two of the CX Connect online event cautioned.

Kate Adams, senior vice president of marketing at Validity, a data quality solutions provider, said in the day’s opening keynote that at least 25 percent of customer data stored in CRM systems is inaccurate. Additionally, every year at least 30 percent of companies’ customer data decays, and for B2B companies, it could be as high as 70 percent, she said.

"The amount of decay that we are seeing in data only accelerates over time," she added.

Jeff Foley, vice president of product marketing at Validity, further noted that only 5 percent of companies in a recent Validity survey reported no data quality issues. Among those that admitted to having data problems, 69 percent said they have missing or incomplete data, 49 percent said they have duplicate and inaccurate data, and 41 percent said they have expired data.

The good news, though, is that 90 percent of companies claim to be taking steps to tackle their data quality issues.

Foley said there are many things companies can do to address their data quality problems. These include data profiling, standardization, depuplication, verification, enrichment, automation, and maintenance.

"You also want to make sure that you are not capturing data that you don’t need," he added.

Data quality, Adams said, is so important because data is "critical" and should be "the foundation on which you build your business."

To quantify that fact, Adams noted that 67 percent of companies said they rely on CRM data to segment and target customers for marketing.

Data quality initiatives should focus on three pillars, according to Foley. They are data quality, data governance, and leadership support.

And companies with higher data quality had three traits in common, he said. At these companies, leadership was aware of data issues, a governance structure was in place, and data management was the responsibility of a cross-functional team.

Watch the complete Validity keynote here:

Daniel Ziv, vice president of speech and text analytics at Verint, said in another session that artificial intelligence and analytics can help with data issues, but it is a two-way street.

"AI relies on data. Without data, there is no AI," he said.

But data quality issues aren't the only problems plaguing customer-facing parts of businesses, of course. Ziv said most problems fit into one of six categories:

  • Engagement;
  • Policy and compliance;
  • Efficiency and cost;
  • Insight;
  • Revenue and growth; and
  • Remote employees.

Companies, Ziv said, are largely responding to these challenges with greater self-service solutions, such as interactive voice response and intelligent virtual agent systems, cloud-based contact center systems, speech and text analytics, reporting, and analytics-enabled quality management solutions.

Of those, analytics are among the most valuable and versatile, according to Ziv. Verint's analytics solutions, for example, are being used for forecasting and scheduling, quality and compliance, interaction insights, sentiment analysis, customer authentication, upsell and cross-sell opportunity identification, real-time guidance, self-service, case management, knowledge management, experience management, and data management, he said.

All of Verint's analytics products, which include text, speech, desktop/process, quality management, agent assist, and experience management, rely heavily on Verint's DaVinci AI Engine. DaVinci aids companies in biometric authentication, real-time transcription, sentiment analysis, and intent identification, according to Ziv.

Real-time guidance, while very important today, is difficult, but not impossible. While analytics and AI are an important element, context is the key driver, Ziv said. Context comes from linguistic triggers, acoustic triggers, and application triggers.

Watch Daniel Ziv's complete presentation:

Validity's Adams and Foley offered several other strategies to help companies improve customer experiences. A big one, according to Adams, is secret shopping. She suggested company leaders routinely go through their own customer service steps to see how processes can be refined. Then, she said companies should look to eliminate at least one step in the process every few months.

She then gave five plays for improving CX:

  1. Celebrate and commiserate with customers when appropriate.
  2. Follow up.
  3. Champion employees on the move.
  4. Create connections; and
  5. “Share your cape,” making your customers the hero and celebrating their successes with your products.

And again, data is a key component of all CX processes. Technology can automate many data processes that slow down front-line employees, Adams added.

Technology, for example, can verify customer contact information before the agent joins the conversation or find the right accounts and contacts for marketing and sales reps to target, she said.

See more full-session videos from CX Connect 2021.

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