Data driven
March 25, 2019

5 steps to move along the continuum toward data-driven success

By Annette Franz

All these different roles in a team are fine but does it help my organisation become data driven?

More than once CEO has expressed a similar frustration to me. Whether they have invested in analytics software or a Data Science team, they need to see the return.

So, beyond having the right roles in your team, what wider changes are needed to achieve data-driven success? I am delighted to welcome back guest blogger Annette Franz to share her experience.

As an experienced CX leader and advisor to other businesses, she brings that customer perspective. Here is her advice as to 5 steps which help you achieve actions, from your data & analysis. Over to Annette…

It’s what you do with it that counts

Data is just data until you do something with it, right?

That statement has plagued companies for a long time. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they just don’t know what to do with the data.

I hosted a webinar with Logi Analytics with the title “5 Steps to Making Data Actionable”, in which I shared tips on moving beyond data for the sake of data. This also applies to dashboards for the sake of dashboards. Moving on to recommending insights and outputs that drive action.

So, in this post I thought I’d share some details about one of the areas I covered during my presentation. That’s how data-driven decisions and actions have evolved, particularly for customer experience professionals.

Why steps toward data-driven success are needed

Customer experience professionals know that, in order to deliver a great experience, companies must listen to customers, link customer feedback to transactional (and other) data, and act on what they hear. There’s an old Gartner statistic that I still like to share because I believe it’s relevant to this day:

“95% of companies collect customer feedback, yet only 10% use the feedback to improve, and only 5% tell customers what they are doing in response to what they heard“.

This statistic is a good, high-level representation of how companies have matured or evolved (or haven’t) along the continuum of data-driven success.

5 phases on the Data-Driven Success continuum

Let’s take a closer look at that continuum. And let’s assume that Phase 0 is not listening or looking at data at all.

Phase 1 (Feedback)

This is where we see companies in the primitive stages of understanding the importance of data, i.e., they know they need to listen to their customers, oftentimes because everyone else is doing it. But that’s all they do; they check the box to say, “We listen”. But they’re paralyzed by the reams of data that exist within their systems.

In Phase 2 (Metrics)

Here companies pick up their next bad habit when it comes to customer listening and understanding. They focus on a metric, on making their number, on moving the needle on the score. Doing that, instead of using data to improve the customer experience, is not really progress, and it’s not really a good thing. When you focus on the metric, you reward the behaviors that move the number, not on those that deliver a better experience. those (former, not latter) behaviors are often bad behaviors.

Phase 3 (Insights)

Now we’re starting to make some progress. Companies at this level are interpreting the data, digging for insights, and telling the story of the data. They are making some data-driven improvements, mainly tactical at this point.

Phase 4 (Outcomes)

Here companies realize they cannot just make improvements without linking the findings and the work to be done to operational metrics and business outcomes. They realize they’ll make greater progress and get the resources (human, capital, and more) if they can show that “if we do X, it will impact Y”.

Phase 5 (Innovation)

Finally, we see some real progress! Companies us the data, the insights, and the linkages to make some real, significant, strategic improvements: they use the data to develop new products that solve problems for customers and help them do some job, and they redesign the customer experience to better meet customers’ expectations.

Progressing through those phases

The important component along each phase is, obviously, the data and what is done with the data. Critical to that is the way the data is presented to the one who consumes it and needs to do something with it.

There’s definitely an evolution in analysis and reporting, as well, as companies mature along the continuum. The output goes from basic descriptive statistics to metrics and trends to insights and stories to ROI and financial linkages to predictive and prescriptive recommendations that retain customers.

Consider these things when you’re developing reports and dashboards for customer experience professionals or for those who need to consume customer data in order to improve the experience. The data needs to be presented in a way that’s actionable; more specifically, it needs to tell the user exactly what needs to be done, why, and what the impact of making the change will be.

“There are two goals when presenting data: convey your story and establish credibility” Edward Tufte

How are you transforming your business to be data-driven?

Thanks to Annette for that advice. I always like to see a quote from Edward Tufte as well, a data visualisation guru whose books I have recommended previously.

But what about you? Where would you rate your organisation along those 5 phases or steps? What are you doing to help make progress?

If you have any tips fort achieving a data-driven organisation? If so, please share in our comments box below or on social media. Let’s keep changing the world one data-driven insight at a time…