Share your data the way kids share their toys

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Several months ago, I wrote a blog describing how my 5-year old daughter influenced my thinking in planning sessions I had with various CX leaders. Those interactions got me thinking more about the parallels between the challenges of raising good kids and enabling organizations to deliver great customer experiences.

One parallel that’s recently stood out to me in interactions I’ve had as both a parent and a CX professional involves sharing.

My daughter is generally pretty good about getting along with other kids, but there are times when she struggles to share her toys with friends. Her rationale is usually one of the following:

  • It’s my toy and I want to play with it right now!
  • He or she doesn’t know how to use that toy!
  • He or she might break it!

My response is typically something to the tune of “If you don’t share your toys, nobody will want to be your friend.” Eventually she comes around and shares.

In a recent example, my daughter discovered another benefit of sharing. One of her favorite possessions is a unicorn music box. One day she had a friend over to play and after an initial battle, she agreed to share the music box. Within minutes, her friend discovered a hidden drawer in the side of the music box that she had never noticed before.

My daughter described the “secret” drawer as “the coolest thing ever” and now uses it as a place to stash her other most cherished possessions. If she hadn’t shared, she may have never discovered this magical drawer.

So what does any of this have to do with Customer Experience?

Customers are providing companies with more feedback than ever before, and it represents a valuable source of data which can be used to improve the customer experience. However, in many large organizations, this data simply sits in silos, with teams tending to use the customer data they collect for their own needs only.

For instance, a digital team will use site feedback for website enhancements, while the contact center will use post-call surveys for improving agent performance. Data is rarely shared across departments for the broader purpose of improving the customer experience.

This begs the question, why don’t departments share customer data with each other? Some of the reasons I’ve heard may sound familiar:

  • It’s our data and sharing it with other teams won’t help our immediate goals. (It’s my toy and I want to play with it right now!)
  • That team won’t understand or know how to use our data (He or she doesn’t know how to use that toy!)
  • That team might misinterpret our data and draw inaccurate conclusions (He or she might break it!)

While siloed customer data is (unfortunately) still the norm in most companies, a growing number of organizations are beginning to recognize the value in sharing customer feedback data across departments. I’ve been in a few Voice of the Customer (VoC) meetings lately that have included multiple VoC departments—and the conversations have been fascinating.

In one example, a contact center manager shared their speech analytics data with the digital team, who noticed a common website-specific issue that was leading to both increased calls and digital feedback complaints. This had previously been a low priority item for the digital team, but the speech analytics results revealed the magnitude of the issue and provided more color around specific customer pain points.

The digital team realized they could easily address this issue which would ultimately reduce calls and contact center costs. Both departments are benefiting from this insight, not to mention the customer, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the sharing of data.

Are you proactively sharing your customer data with other departments in your organization?  As I tell my daughter, sharing your “toys” (customer data) with others will earn you more friends “at school” (your organization) and make it more likely that they share with you. In addition, sharing may lead you to discover a few “secret drawers” of your own and that, in my daughter’s words, would be the coolest thing ever.

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