Striving towards a Better, Simpler Customer Experience through a Unified View of the Customer

For someone like myself in the business of Customer Service, every day is a day dedicated to the building of a better Customer Experience (CX). But today has been named “CX Day” by the global CX Professionals Association in recognition of the work being done around the world to advance and cultivate ideas and strategies for providing customers with quality experiences. So, I’m going to join the party by sharing some thoughts on a CX project that many of us are undertaking—the creation of a unified view of our customers.

Just about a month ago, Forbes contributor Adrian Swinscoe (@adrianswinscoe) revisited a recorded conversation he and I had about the opportunities that exist by gaining a unified view of one’s customers, and the challenges that many organizations face when trying to unify the mountains of customer data they accumulate.

In that conversation, I cautioned against the current focus many have on collecting huge amounts of big data without having a strategy in place to unify that data. Most organizations gather customer information from a variety of sources like purchasing and order information, subscriptions, lead generation systems like Salesforce, and customer service databases. Our team also collects information through surveys, Product Advisory Council meetings and face-to-face conversations. OpenText R&D uses embedded analytics to determine user behavior within our products. We even have a customer in the insurance industry that uses our software to collect information pulled from the cars of their customers, then determine the quality of their drivers and adjust insurance premiums on the fly.

As digital solutions continue to become more prevalent across industries and geographies, our ability to collect more data grows as well. However, while having comprehensive customer information is great, isolated buckets of information can overcomplicate internal processes. This can result in missing, incomprehensible and even contradictory information, and ultimately overcomplicate the customer experience. Conversely, the unified view allows us to provide a simple, tailor made customer experience that gives our customers what they need to achieve their unique business goals as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Luckily, there are ways to unify data right now. With help from OpenText™ Big Data Analytics, global eProcurement solution provider Elcom is able to give their clients a more direct and interactive window into the data they collect from a multitude of sources. Elcom clients have a comprehensive and meaningful breakdown of product pricing and value across facilities and divisions, and can see purchasing data, product shortages and more, which empowers them to make better decisions about what to buy, where to buy, how much to buy, etc. Meanwhile, Elcom can use Big Data Analytics to better understand their clients’ behavior and needs, and adjust their service offerings to provide maximum value.

The bottom line: By giving their clients a unified view of their information and having a unified view of the customer, Elcom is able to better serve their customers, increase long-term value, drive retention and increase revenue.

At OpenText, we’re also constantly working to create a customer experience that is simple, straightforward and effortless. We want to know our customers on a more intimate level so we can tailor the service and support we provide based on their product sets, service requirements and business needs. Like everyone else, we’ve had challenges in bringing all of our customer data together, but progress has already been made to improve the way we serve customers in our Customer Service Portal (the Knowledge Center) and My Support ticket site, and when we interact with our customers through our surveys, communications and processes.

In summary, do not be satisfied with your collection of big data alone. Establish a strategy in which you are able to analyze and understand your data so you can act on that information and effect powerful change within your organization. Simplify, transform and accelerate your business, and cultivate an awesome Customer Experience. The results will speak for themselves.

I invite you all to join me at OpenText Enterprise World 2015 this November, where you will learn more about our CX initiatives and the ways in which we can help you simplify, transform and accelerate your business. We will also highlight new and improved OpenText products like Big Data Analytics, InfoFusion and the Experience Suite, which can help provide you with a unified view of the customer and enable you to deliver quality and targeted digital experiences for your customers.

James McGourlay

James has been with OpenText since 1997 and is Executive Vice President, Worldwide Support. Customer life-time value, and accelerating customers’ time to value are his passion. Throughout the last 18 years, James has been the catalyst for tremendous growth in the OpenText Customer Services team for the Americas. He has sponsored programs such as the Knowledge Center, Partner Support Program, quality audits and enhanced Customer Support programs. He and his team are also spearheading the movement towards integrations management, social engagement support for customers and continued improvements to the customer experience.

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