The problem of real-time data in CX

There’s a new report out called “The Evolution To Real-Time Customer Experience,” which is a joint production of Forrester Research (consulting firm) and DataStax. There’s also a summary of the report here.

What can we learn?

Real-time data is a problem for customer experience

A whopping 95% of companies indicated they were “unable to make sense” of real-time customer insights. Companies are thus limited in their ability to serve or understand customers in real-time, which has a bottom-line impact. Here’s a relevant pull quote:

“We live in a right-now economy, and deriving real-time insights and acting on customer data has never been more important for organizations to succeed,” said Billy Bosworth, CEO at DataStax. “We believe the results of this study reaffirm the concerns we’ve heard from our customers–that there is an immediate need to provide truly individualized customer experiences. By offering a complete CX data platform, DataStax provides critical technology to power the CX movement.”

The end of that pull quote is a bit of a sale, but let’s move on.

What should companies do?

Well, you do need a way to more effectively tackle customer experience insights in real-time. My concern would be that companies just throw money and technology at this issue. That’s certainly one approach, and having a good platform can help you, but it really begins with people.

This is what I mean: even if you have the best customer experience platform technology in your industry, nothing will work well for you if your leadership team isn’t aligned, if people throughout the organization don’t understand the importance of CX, etc. There needs to be a plan/strategy in place. Technology and other tools work best when they support a strategy. When they are the strategy, they don’t work as well.

Somehow I’m 53 episodes into my customer experience podcast (it’s been so fun, but a lot of work), and every interview — from a variety of industries — we talk about tactics before tools. Tools are great, but they need to be in the service of a strategy.

Bottom line: if you want real-time insights on your customers, that’s awesome and very noble. But make sure these boxes are checked:

  • Why do you need the real-time information?
  • What are you going to do with it?
  • How will it affect your decision-making?
  • What is the revenue potential?

Only when you understand questions like that should you begin hunting for the tech.

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