Long before the onset of the pandemic, digital experience pros were running to keep up with consumers’ rapidly changing behaviors online. But for marketers, customer experience teams, and many other digital leaders, the pandemic-induced spike in online shopping and engagement turned that run into an all-out sprint.
In a panel discussion at Forrester CX 2022 in Nashville, five digital experience experts shared insights on the technology and service innovations agile businesses used to deliver on customer expectations in the wake of the pandemic. Panelists included:
Keith Johnston, VP, Group Director, Forrester
Des Cahill, Group Vice President, Global ACX Product Strategy, Oracle Advertising & Customer Experience
Shek Viswanathan, Group Product Director, Qualtrics
Jason Galloway, Principal, Customer Advisory Leader and Marketing Consulting Lead, KPMG U.S.
Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Chief Marketing Officer, FullStory
Here’s a snapshot of three key customer experience data insights from the panel discussion.
1. It’s time for data democratization
The massive shift to remote work that took place in 2020 forced companies of all shapes and sizes to reevaluate internal communications and knowledge sharing. For many, this includes how customer experience data is accessed around an organization.
Where critical data might have once been confined to a data science team, the organizations that invested in the democratization of their data were the ones able to accelerate out of the pandemic, according to Oracle’s Des Cahill.
“The most interesting applications of data democratization we’re seeing are those companies who are empowering employees from all domains to access, explore, and gain insights from the data they’re gathering,” said Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, FullStory CMO.
2. Speaking of data, you should be using autocapture
Democratizing customer experience data is all about empowering teams to generate insights that are relevant to their scope of work. But democratized data is only valuable if the organization is collecting the right data to begin with.
“When you don’t have the data in place to understand who is coming to your website, what their intent is, and what their effort involved was, you’re losing out,” noted Shek Viswanathan, Qualtrics’ Group Product Director.
The easiest way to ensure your organization isn’t missing out on key data points and behavioral trends is through autocapture: a method of data collection that logs every user interaction on your site or app while also allowing for manual tagging when needed.
According to Newbold-Knipp, CX leaders are shifting away from the old paradigm of instrumenting specific events, where you might miss critical data points, in the wake of the pandemic. “Instead, leaders are moving toward a paradigm of automatic capture of all the data points with the ability to structure, index, and make sense of all that data,” she said.
3. Rethinking first vs. third-party data
For many digital experience professionals, the broadening restrictions on using third-party data to understand customers and their behavior sounds a bit scary. How are we going to create personalized customer experiences if we don’t know what our customers need or want?
According to panelists, this shift toward only using first-party data to build digital experiences is actually an opportunity. Their sentiment? You don’t need tons of third-party data to make a great customer experience. You just need to use your first-party data more effectively.
“I’d posit that some of our so-called ‘personalization’ is actually just blind segmentation, and customers see through it,” said Newbold-Knipp. She advocates that focusing on improving the digital experience by removing the friction customers encounter on your site can sometimes be even more valuable than creating a highly personalized experience.
“Instead of trying to divine what it is they might want or buy next, we might simply try to remove friction from what they’re trying to accomplish,” said Newbold-Knipp.
Here’s the bottom line for digital experience pros: Customers want to accomplish what they came to your site to do quickly and easily. When you focus on creating that seamless experience—rather than constantly trying to anticipate the customer’s next move—your digital customer experience can begin to do the heavy lifting of bringing customers back again and again.
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