Problem 2: Despite What You Think, It’s a Data Problem

Problem 2: Despite What You Think,
It’s a Data Problem

We now know that a main reason for CX program failure is lack of useful data.

As we said in the first article in this series Problem 1 – Unrealized Potential, most customer experience strategies, initiatives and Net Promoter implementations fail. Our experience with over a thousand implementations shows just that.

Strategy, including CX strategy, is about the allocation of scarce resources. Without unlimited resources, armies, chess players and senior executives have to choose. Where should they put their people, cash and other assets to crush their competitors? In CX and NPS strategies, effective resource allocation almost never happens, usually because the CX team cannot credibly convince management.

The key question is: why?

“If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will
grow and which will not…”


What senior leaders have to say

When we asked senior leaders about the shortcomings of CX initiatives, one issue stood out. To make the kind of sweeping changes that CX proponents want, management teams must have high confidence in those changes. They must believe that the changes will create quantifiable, financially attractive outcomes. Those outcomes must be more attractive than other investment proposals. Furthermore, the actions required must be clear, operational in nature, and do-able in a reasonably short timeframe.

In other words, management must know that the organization can be tasked with clear goals and actions. Those goals and actions must be understood, achievable, and with clarity of financial benefit. In the majority of CX programs, leadership sees their CX program falling short of that standard. To be specific, they need quality data, analytics and insights to support strategic actions. They do not get them.

We estimate that CX programs have less than 5% of the minimal data required.

It starts with a data failure

It may not be obvious, but the shortcomings of most programs start with a data failure. We estimate that the programs have less than 5% of the minimal data required to support good decision making. But the issue as stated by leadership isn’t about the data. It’s about the insights, or the analytics. Leadership’s refrain is that the actions to be taken are not clear, or that analytics fail to provide clarity.

Leadership is correct, but the root cause lies below, with the data. No good data means no good analytics. No good analytics means credible insight is improbable. Absent credible insight, sound decisions and actions are impossible.


Too dependent on customer surveys

Data fails in CX programs because it depends on an outdated approach: the primary source of data remains the humble survey. Sure, there have been efforts to replace the survey, most noticeably in the contact center. There, natural language processing has been used to gauge the sentiment of customers who call in or chat. However, while it is valuable to understand service performance, it is not the same as to understand customer experience. We hope most of your customers don’t need to call for help! Moreover, those who do need help don’t fully attribute their loyalty or lack of loyalty to the support service experience and result.

In practice, the survey remains the backbone of CX data. It is a very limited solution that is getting more so.


Data frequency issues

In just about every other management decision system, you expect to have data about your customers refreshed, at the least, weekly. And you expect to have data about every customer. With CX surveys at the overall brand level, you typically get data on 5% or less of your customers and only once every six months. That’s not just poor-quality data, that’s unusable data.

In an era of big data, with customer data analytics tracking every element of behavior, CX operates with a horse in place of an engine. And yes, we are talking about you. Or rather, we are talking about 95% of you. Buggy whip in hand, you wonder why the rest of your company has the latest, new-fangled mode of transport while you barely trot along.


Our vision

We know this can change. Our vision of CX data is of models of customer behavior capable of predicting the health of any customer, any account, at any time. We call this Spectrum NPS. Prediction is not far removed from the extrapolation that underpins survey sampling. But it is a far more modern offspring of that approach. Getting from 1% to 100% of the data you need will be the foundation of CX programs in the future.

You should be unhappy with what you currently have. We want you to be unhappy. It is critical to your future success.

Check out our next article in this series Analytics Need a Reboot for the Modern Age.


OCX Cognition delivers the future of NPS. We ensure customer experience success by combining technology and data science with programmatic consulting. In our Insights section, we present a comprehensive and evolving collection of resources based on our research and expertise, collected for CX leaders committed to delivering business outcomes.