CX Excellence starts with getting our first party data right

There’s a common thread that runs through organisations that achieve CX Excellence — first-party data. Great CX requires surfacing accurate customer data in a timely way through critical moments in the customer journey. Here are some practical ways that organisations can do this.

Simon Breed

Simon Breed

CX Excellence starts with getting our first party data right

First-Party Data is critical to excellence in CX

First-Party Data is the good oil of digital experience and excellent CX execution. It is going to become increasingly important in coming years too as cookies become obsolete.

Be relevant, not creepy!

Think carefully about the fine line between personalised communications and being plain creepy. Our purpose is to build trust. Be transparent, use the data wisely and put the customer in control.

First-party data - the good oil of CX 

The CX Framework is a valuable reference for best practice customer experience. Developed by The CX Academy* in Ireland, it highlights six emotional drivers for CX excellence and advocacy:

1) I trust you
2) You know me
3) You make it easy
4) You get me
5) You deliver on your promise
6) You fix things

The CX Framework by permission of The CX Academy

Organisations that perform the best around CX often embrace these drivers, whether overtly or not, to create an enduring bond with customers to give them a commercial advantage.  

There’s a common thread that runs through each of these drivers — first-party data. Great CX requires surfacing accurate data in a timely way through critical moments in the customer journey. Here are some of the ways that organisations can do this.

Build first-party data currency

First-Party Data is the good oil of digital experience and excellent CX execution. It relates to information held about our customers and prospects, describing the relationship and aspects of behaviour. It is the all-important feedback loop source around how people respond to our brand, products, services, and communications.

The catch? It must be clean, accurate and current to be truly valuable. Get the basics right by cleaning up essential fields – simple things like first names (“You know me” starts with using my name correctly). Clear data out if it is likely to be wrong. Merge, purge and dedupe records from disparate systems, prioritising the data that is most likely to be accurate to keep.

Check-in with your customers to get it right

Data deteriorates quickly. Customers move, sell their cars, change their phones. Having cleaned your data, reach out to your customer base and ask them to confirm the data is accurate. Engaging them in the process builds trust and creates a solid foundation for ongoing communications.

Longer-term, put processes in place to return to your customers at least annually to check that the information you hold remains accurate. These check-ins provide an excellent opportunity to ask for snippets of additional information to help you better serve them too.

Surface relevant data in a timely way

You also need to be able to surface relevant information in a timely way. Legacy systems built to manage finances, products, and services don’t often do great with this. That is a poor excuse for inaction, though. Open-API cloud-based CRM and marketing automation tools are standard. They connect sales, marketing, and customer service teams as well as digital customer interfaces. For most Kiwi organisations, there are options aplenty, and set-up need not break the bank. Remember, technology is just the enabler – power it up with the appropriate expertise to reduce risk and fast-track positive returns.

Find the friction to alleviate pain points

Your data captures what behaviours go on: how, where, when, to whom, and how much. Analyse what is happening in your customer journey interactions. Behavioural data can reveal the patterns. Combine it with the tacit knowledge of the business – especially the first-hand experiences of sales and other customer-facing staff. The processes to unlock will be those presenting the most friction or with the most significant gaps in the opportunity.

From what we’ve witnessed, it is better to iterate with this, prioritising no more than two or three programmes of improvement at a time. The data then comes back into its own as a test and learn environment to prove the value of new initiatives.

Be relevant, not creepy

Personal data enables increased relevance, but with this comes both risk and responsibility. Marketers must make judgment calls about the fine line between what is personalised and just plain creepy. As consumers, we expect organisations to use data to improve the experience so long as we feel in control. Using data well makes it easier for people to do business with you, builds trust and demonstrates that you get what they want.

Just start

The last point in the CX Framework is “you fix things”. Your data will never be perfect. People understand if you get it wrong once, so long as you resolve issues that crop up. Make it easy for them to update you and record changes accurately for next time.

What’s important is that your data will improve with use. Invest in it like you would any other resource for the business. Your customers will enjoy a better experience, staff will benefit, and so will your sales. That’s a win-win-win, and that has got to be good, right!

*based in Ireland, The CX Academy offers some of the best training for CX practitioners available in our view (noting there is no financial relationship / incentive for us making this recommendation).

Simon Breed

Simon Breed

Managing Director
Simon cut his teeth in marketing for one of Europe's leading agencies, working on automotive CRM. He set up Twenty in 2006 to bring together data-driven marketing, technology and customer strategy under one roof for NZ brands.
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