This article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of DOCUMENT Strategy magazine.
In terms of high-flying innovations, 2023 looks to be an amazing year for space technology, with more than 150 launches scheduled to blast off from China, French Guiana, India, Japan, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. Space technology is fast becoming reusable, just like your data and technology is more reusable as your digital transformation initiatives progress. There are three noteworthy types of available customer data that can be creatively combined to launch customer experience (CX) improvements. Ready to start the countdown?
T minus 3. Third-party customer data: Third-party data is purchased from an outside source that specializes in selling data. While most people initially think of purchased prospect lists, third-party data is often purchased to enrich existing data with demographic, financial, behavioral, purchases, attitudes or other valuable targeting data. Governance for third-party data will require more and more effort, as third-party data requires that you ensure your vendors are compliant with laws like GDPR and CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). As leading browsers remove support for third-party cookies, you may want to prioritize other data sources.
2. Second-party data consists of your partners’ customer data that is exchanged for mutual benefit due to overlapping audiences or aligned business interests. For example, a utility may have an agreement with a smart home retailer to share customer names (with a well-governed partner opt-in permission policy) for a campaign to promote energy efficiency to defer a power plant investment. Your customers may see this as the checkbox for “sharing data with partners” or some text deep in a click-through on common digital interactions. Second-party data is often used for audience sharing and can be a great source of prospect validation or data augmentation for existing customer records.
1. That brings us to first-party data, which is data collected by you about your customers’ interactions with your business, but not deliberately provided to you by your customers. Some examples of first-party data include purchase history, website visitation stats, CRM data, returns or exchanges information, customer lifetime value, synthetic NPS scores, read/unread email status, contact center data, location data, payment data, corrected address information, contact information and social media stats. This is data that you’ve collected about your customers from your side of the engagement. While not explicitly provided by the customer, it is a direct result of something you do for them or possibly a by-product of your normal operations.
0. Zero-party data: It’s time to get the most important type of data off the launch pad. Zero-party data is about to become the most important type of data in your organization as regulations create new rights for your customers and corresponding obligations for your organization. Zero-party data is explicitly and knowingly provided to your organization by your customer. This includes their communication preferences, text provided with chatbot interactions, preferred pronouns, bank account information, verbatims from call recordings, favorite color, answers to online quizzes, star ratings, NPS survey responses, images uploaded or other self-reported personal information.
Just like in a rocket launch, the work doesn’t get any easier at the end of the countdown. There’s a lot of heat, light and noise. To use the data, you must know that it exists. Then, you have to find the data. Once it’s discovered, it must be accessible. If it’s accessible, then it must be governed to ensure compliance. Once it’s governed, it can be integrated and used to improve customer experience.
Your customer experience teams should be aware of the myriad data sources in your organization at a superficial level. Look beyond your CRM system for useful customer data. Check your knowledge platforms, support systems, chatbot logs, survey platforms, warranty claims, marketing bounce back lists and social media reports. Most of these data sources live in silos and the silos often exist for good reasons of governance, technical capabilities, budget ownership, acquisitions or other business reasons.
At Quadient, we routinely look for interesting patterns across systems. Recently, we checked our customer certification program data from our knowledge management platform against data from the CRM system and customer support systems to identify customers who earned technical certifications from previous employers. This CX project improved long-term engagement with Inspire users who had attained certificates at multiple employers. Using all four types of data within strict governance policies, this project boosted the experience of current users by recognizing the achievements made over the entire arc of their careers. Many of your customers, just like many of our CCM technology users, have years of experience that may span multiple employers, but to make this connection you must know your data, find your data, govern your data and create integrations that turn that data into meaningful experiences.
When you have a complete understanding of the customer data available to you, you can provide out-of-this-world customer experiences.
Scott Draeger, CCXP, M-EDP, is Customer Experience Officer at Quadient. He joined the digital document industry in 1997, after graduating from UNLV. He started as a document designer using a collection of hardware and software technologies, before moving to the software side of the industry. His broad experience includes helping clients improve customer communications in over 20 countries. He earned his MBA in 2007 from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.