How to Shine a Light on Your Dark Data to Improve the Customer Experience

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Strategies to Become a Data-Driven Company

Uncover data analytics benefits and challenges along with actions business leaders can take to establish a data-driven organization.
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Once accessible only to large Fortune 500 enterprises, the technology powering data analytics has not only become affordable and accessible to small and medium-sized organizations, but it’s become a near imperative. The competitive landscape demands organizations of all sizes find new ways to run lean and do more with less while still putting an emphasis on quality of service and customer experience. What many organizations don’t realize is that they already have the data they need to do those things—they just need the understanding and tools to access and utilize it.

What is Dark Data?

The term “dark data” refers to the data that an organization collects, stores, and either underutilizes or does not use at all. Contrary to what the name may imply, there is nothing threatening or sinister about dark data; dark data simply refers to information that organizations collect, process, or store but fail to utilize.

Shining a Light on Dark Data

One example of an organization shining a light on its dark data is by using the data from customer support cases to see which medium a customer used to initiate contact and how long the interaction lasted. Bringing this dark data to the surface allows an organization to determine a customer’s preferred method of contact so they can deliver a better experience in the future.

4 Ways Organizations Can Better Use Data

What exactly does a data analytics practice look like for a small or mid-sized organization? Here are four ways you can infuse data analytics into your team right now.

  1. Track customers throughout different stages of the lifecycle. Use your data to identify a particular segment of customers that are ready to buy (and more importantly, when).
  2. Improve customer service. Integrating multiple data sources into a single source of truth can have huge immediate gains for your team. Additionally, machine learning tools can analyze conversations between sales representatives and customers on channels like email, chat, and social media thus providing a greater level of insight into common issues customers are having. This data can be leveraged to enhance the customer experience with a product, service, or brand.
  3. Identify overarching patterns and trends. For example, if numerous customers are contacting a business and asking the same questions, it might make sense to create a dedicated page that addresses these questions in depth. In effect, this new website page could increase sales as it addresses common questions that potential buyers face or help strengthen a brand's unique selling point (USP), all made possible through data visibility and analytics.
  4. Gain insight into all aspects of your operations. Data analytics provides a detailed analysis of customer behavior and, in turn, allows leadership to learn what motivates consumers to buy their products or services. This is incredibly valuable because your team can then use this information to identify which marketing channels to focus on in the future (i.e., save on marketing spend while increasing revenue at the same time).

The insights from data initiatives help to reduce how much an organization spends on areas that are not driving growth – be it certain marketing activities or product development in the wrong areas. Rather than funneling big money into multiple growth strategies that are only getting minimal results, by using data analytics, organizations can concentrate on just a few proven ones that are generating high-quality leads.

  • Mike Lichtie, CEO of Black Clover, has this advice for organizations: “If you want to scale your business, you’ve got to be able to see it.” Click here to learn more about Black Clover’s data journey.

4 Tools to Help You Turn Data into Insight

No matter the size of your organization, valuable insights are waiting to be discovered through the practice of analyzing your website, customer, and business data. More accessible and customizable technology means that there’s something for everyone, and top tech players have scaled powerful tools to deliver results specifically for organizations of all sizes and industries.

handshake circle iconCustomer Relationship Management: Data gleaned from customer relationship management tools can tell a powerful story about the customer journey and help you make decisions to enhance the customer experience. Forbes Advisor has named Salesforce the most comprehensive CRM for small businesses, citing its ability to keep up with fast-growing organizations. This means that small to mid-sized organizations don’t have to worry about outgrowing their CRM and wasting valuable time and resources on a temporary solution—Salesforce can be your partner for the long haul.

finance circle iconEnterprise Resource Planning: QuickBooks isn’t an ERP, and ERPs aren’t just for enterprises. With the right implementation approach focused on “financials first” in NetSuite, any organization can have more than a simple accounting software; they can gain a high-impact and scalable solution that delivers financial insight for better decision making.

automation circle iconData Warehousing: Big names in the data warehousing space aren’t just for big companies. Snowflake, for example, serves small, mid-market, and enterprise level organizations. G2 named Snowflake the #1 easiest-to-use in the data warehouse software category, making it a popular choice for organizations aiming to consolidate their data and build their data analytics practice.

marketing circle iconData Visualization: Most smaller organizations don’t have a team of analysts on staff, and some of the bigger ones don’t either. With data visualization tools like Tableau, data sources are pulled together to tell a story that business users can understand. Specialty reports allow different users to see the story that is relevant to their business application. These customizable reports can tell a story about sales or operations, enabling leaders to make quick and strategic business decisions.

Data has the power to transform multiple aspects of an organization. Whether it's mimicking the knowledge acquisition of the human brain through machine learning or capitalizing on unused dark data to gain a competitive edge, the new era of data analytics has opened the door for organizations of all sizes and in nearly every industry—private and public—to dive deeper into their data so they can run leaner, make more strategic decisions, and enhance the customer experience.

Are you ready to shine a light on your dark data? Our professionals have the expertise to help you no matter where you are in your data journey.

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