Brands trying to get an accurate read on the customer experience can often waste precious time sifting through numerous types of data—financial, POS, contact center, CRM, and more—attempting to put it all together to get to actionable insights. In today’s omnichannel world, data is coming from all directions, but all that information means nothing if you can’t make sense of it.
Now more than ever, companies need a solid strategy for managing disparate data and understanding how each source of information relates to one another. Here are 4 recommendations for establishing a productive integration strategy:
1. Know what’s essential + how to put it all together
Data storage used to be cost-prohibitive, but now that it’s gotten significantly cheaper, there’s a ton of data being collected and stored by organizations striving to make more informed business decisions. But just because businesses are collecting more data than ever, it doesn’t mean they’re using that information effectively. Too often, organizations start with data collection strategies, assuming they’ll figure out how to integrate it all somewhere down the road.
That leads to CX data getting siloed, separated from other relevant datasets and having little impact on the customer experience. Looking at various data separately shows only part of the picture—but through proper integration, brands can gain more holistic insights on how each functional area of the business impacts the customer. When organizations are equipped to view each dataset through the lens of how customers will be affected, it makes it that much easier to make customer-centric business decisions.
2. Open up to open architecture
FTP sites are slowly going away. Many large, multi-unit organizations may be slow to this change or have a lack of IT investment on their side in order to make the necessary adjustments. But there needs to be a shift towards efficient data architecture to truly get the benefits of data integration. In order to keep up, successful companies need to adapt to, and implement, data management best practices.
Adopting a flexible, API-centric open architecture provides an infrastructure of technologies working together to help clients ingest and process data more effectively. More importantly, it allows for robust, scalable systems built for organizations with thousands of users requiring immediate access to real-time data.
3. Establish a need-to-know basis
There is such a thing as too much information—and it can lead to analysis paralysis. It’s vital to pare down data so users aren’t overwhelmed by irrelevant metrics, and can focus their attention on applicable, actionable data. Make sure your data integration strategy reflects your organizational hierarchy, so you can designate levels of access and make sure users get exactly the level of information needed to perform their jobs effectively.
For example, by looping in financial data with CX survey data, a shift manager could get a more accurate read on how staff friendliness affects the average ticket. And when that shift manager is able focus the team on friendly service by pointing to tangible business results during the next shift huddle, it makes it that much easier to drive meaningful improvements.
4. Turn information into action
The end goal of any integration strategy is to dig deeper for correlations, look at all data from all angles, and deliver more actionable insights to your front line. But succeeding in those goals looks different from business to business. That’s why, rather than offering a DIY approach, SMG customizes the process to fit each client.
We know data can’t just be of value to your back-office operations—it needs to be communicated to your front line in order for your customers to feel the benefit. We designed the robust, flexible smg360® reporting platform specifically to solve the complex issue of data integration using customizable data views, powerful analytics, and hierarchy sensitivity to enable brands to see the relation between datasets at every level of their organization.
Why does all this matter?
Data integration is an enabler of value—a tool used to put together pieces of a customer experience puzzle. At SMG, we take a hands-on, client-centric approach to deliver a customized process that is meaningful and impactful to your brand.
To learn more about SMG’s data integration capabilities, download our product sheet.