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How to deliver a strong digital customer experience

digital customer service

The power of data

Data helps organizations better understand customers’ needs, providing valuable insights that ensure they deliver the right information, for the right customer, at the right time.

Businesses have been chasing the goal of having a ‘single customer view’ and providing omnichannel experiences for a long time. To deliver innovative and personalized customer experiences with a streamlined and unified view of data across the whole business, there are four steps you should take to help set yourself up for success.

1.  Start with the right team

It’s perhaps trite, but having the right team is critical. Successful teams are those who can clearly articulate the business impact of data decisions to stakeholders who might never have considered customer data in that level of detail before.

Successful projects start with upfront acknowledgement that the organization will have to address more than just the technical aspects of customer data. You need to also examine what data really means to the organization and how you can get the most value from it.

That means open discussion between people who really understand the data and people who have the vision for how the data could be applied to deliver amazing insight and inspiring customer interactions.

2.  Put yourself in your customer’s shoes

What does your customer think about their experiences with your organization? How would they describe their relationship with your brand? Think about whether you will apply probabilistic or deterministic data signals to identify customers or a mixture of both to better link disparate customer interactions.

Putting yourself into the customer’s shoes will influence how you assemble a single customer view. Thinking of your customer’s needs and wants from the outset will help ensure your project stays true to its values and goals, allowing it to have greater impact, quicker.

Finding the right platform is key to success. With built-in security, privacy, and governance, tools like Dynamics 365 Customer Insights will help you maintain full ownership over your data while making it easy to apply compliance and governance rules with your single view.

These are just a snippet of the types of things you will need to think about based on the unique needs of your organization and your customers.

3.  Don't forget the big picture, but focus your scope to drive speed to value

Customer data projects that deliver strong ROI control breadth of scope, not depth. When you pay attention to the details early in a project, it translates into faster realized value and a smoother deployment. It also makes it easy to optimize processes for your employees, making it easier for them to do their work and create innovation.

Some of the details it’s worth focusing on are:

  • What degree of ‘real-time’ is appropriate to deliver business value? Not every data source or interaction needs to be real-time, and batch refreshes can be much more cost effective.
  • How will you make data readily understandable and discoverable to your teams? One organization we worked with had over 7000 calculated customer data variables – it was quicker for users to create a new calculated variable rather than find one of the existing ones. Using clear naming conventions for data variables, adding metadata to make them searchable, and promoting their availability around key users will be essential to success.
  • How will you develop data competencies? Specifically, the skills needed to be able to manage the data lifecycle. A clear competency development plan is key.
  • Think about how you can access the data. Using a platform that works across different devices securely means your employees will be able to work anytime, anywhere, and keep delivering the best experiences to your customers. According to a 2019 Gallup study, engaged employees had 10 percent higher customer ratings.

4. Build your data roadmap

Details don’t have to be at the expense of the big-picture. Successful organizations have a living roadmap for their customer data and their customer data technology projects.

Each step along the customer data journey roadmap should align inputs with outcomes and feedback. This loop continues as you gather data and use these insights to further improve your roadmap.

Think about the actions you want to take and how you want to grow. To do this, identify the data-driven customer interactions you want to provide and the kind of insight you need to inform better decisions.

Once you’ve identified the insights you need, think about the technology you need to gather and harness data to help drive these outcomes. A platform like Dynamics 365 will adapt and extend with your needs, growing alongside your business and help unlock insights and power personalized customer experiences.

Share this roadmap widely among all stakeholders (marketing, IT, sales, customer service, etc.) and update it every time new customer data capability is released to the organization. This helps everyone contribute, feedback, and buy-in to any phasing decisions that are made.

Finally, turn to technology

Doing these first steps before you start using software means you'll understand your customer's needs more and use the power of data to drive better experiences. You'll also have better buy-in from stakeholders and employees when implementing the technology. That means you'll be well placed to streamline how you source, integrate, and assemble data to deliver your single customer view.

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