Insights | By Howard Tiersky

Where Data Fits into the Customer Experience Building Process

Whether it’s Netflix’s recommendations or FedEx’s shipment tracking, many of the digital features and experiences you love are enabled by massive repositories of data with sophisticated algorithms running on top of them. 

And if your enterprise is like most, you probably have a massive repository of data as well. 

But how do you actually leverage that data to drive the convenience, personalization and massive value that your customers expect? 

Where is the right place to apply data in the process of developing a great customer experience?


First of all, data is very helpful in the process of trying to persuade people to begin the process of digital transformation, because very often that requires convincing. 

And there's a lot of stats that you can for that purpose. 

For instance, a study by the Aberdeen Group found that the top 20% of companies as measured by their “quality of digital customer experience” enjoyed an average year-over-year increase in revenue of over 35%, compared to a 7.7% average for the rest.

In other words, companies that deliver a better digital customer experience are earning more revenue.

Similarly, you can use data to demonstrate that companies with strong customer experience have better profit margins. 

In fact, a study at MIT concluded that “digitally mature companies” are 26% more profitable overall than competitors.

But it’s not just about revenue and profit. It’s also true that for some CEOs, the most important thing is valuation. 

Several studies have shown that digitally driven companies, companies that have outstanding digital experiences, also have higher valuations overall, which aligns to profitability.

Forrester calculated that in recent years, the stock price of “leaders in digital customer experience” grew by nearly 30% more than that of lagging brands.


Harnessing those kinds of stats when building your case for change is certainly a great way to leverage data. 

Another way is to apply your data to actually drive a specific customer experience.

The idea of value chain always comes to mind when we try to conceive what our digital customer experience should be. 

All this means is what you really care about in the end are your business results—increasing your share price, reducing cost, increasing revenue. 

How do you get that? By driving customer behaviors, at least mostly.

Customer behavior is the key to driving successful business results. 

How do you get customer behaviors that you want? How do you make customers buy more, post good feedback, and refer you to their friends? 

It's usually through driving mindsets by the thoughts and feelings you engender in people.

It’s what advertising does—giving customers an idea in their mind that's going to lead to behavior. But it's also what a lot of customer experience is about.

When you go to a great restaurant, you get a fantastic experience that's going to give you memories, thoughts, and feelings, and that leads you to the future behavior of going back to that restaurant again and again. 

We get these thoughts and feelings from experiences, whether it's the experience of dining in a restaurant, watching a TV ad, or buying a product and using it.

Experiences lead to mindsets. Mindsets lead to behaviors. Behaviors lead to business results.


Where does data fit into all this? 

Data helps us figure out what we should be doing in terms of the customer experiences—things like evaluating customers and studying the ways in which they use products. 

In fact, the best way to learn is to put out a minimum viable product as quickly and as inexpensively as possible and get the data of real users. 

Are they complaining? Are they having problems? That helps us refine the experience and craft the touchpoints that we think will work the best.

But you need data even when you’re just starting to conceptualize what the experience should look like.

For example, if you’re going to create a shopping app, then you would want to ask yourself what features it needs, where should it be marketed, in what languages should it be available in, and many other important questions.

If you're entering the market with a new product that’s going to be competing with Uber, then you would want to know what people are saying about what they like least about Uber.

Where's an opportunity to create something that is capitalizing on the downsides or the pain points of customers using Uber or any other company that you're looking to compete with?

There are all kinds of data that’s going to give you the answers.

You can do ethnography, surveys, and customer segmentation. 

You can buy data to understand how different types of customer segments are behaving in the market. 

Today, you can even use social listening to learn what people are saying about things, perhaps to discover where the points of pain are.

You can also use various metrics to try to understand customers’ mindsets. 

You can do a brand impact study and survey users.

You can use tools that look at customer sentiment to see how the experiences are leading to specific thoughts and feelings.

And then, of course, you can measure behavior. 

There are many types of customer behaviors that you can generate data from: the number of times they visit your website, the pages on the website that they look at, whether they buy, whether they return, how their behaviors differ, and so on. 

We have data every step of the process.

There are a lot of ways of analyzing data and a huge number of opportunities for applying data to improve your customer experience. 

And companies that are excellent at using data are the ones most successful in driving better business results today.

I have many more useful stats in my Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance, which details a proven strategy for creating the outstanding customer experience needed to thrive in today’s digital world. 

Along with the book, we're also offering Digital Stats Quarterly, where you can get updated stats that we've sourced from different places. 

You can get it by signing up for a copy of the free chapter of the book at

Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM`s
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
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Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM's
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.