Turning data into decisions | MyCustomerLens Newsletter

Leading Off

It’s been a chilly week up here in Scotland, with snowman building and snowball fighting amongst the most popular ways to stay physically active! The snow’s not slowed the momentum at MyCustomerLens though, and we have another packed newsletter for you.

Our main article looks at the popular topic of turning data into more informed decisions. I’ve been collecting a variety of perspectives on why this is still a challenge, and provided 5 simple tips for making improvements. We’re also delighted to introduce you to our new CTO Mike Evans. Finally, we share another use case for MyCustomerLens and round up a few interesting cross-industry articles.

Thanks for subscribing, and if you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, I’d love to hear from you. Paul

Lead article – Turning data into decisions

“Big data is the oil of the 21st century” wrote Peter Sondergaard from Gartner in 2015. It’s a good comparison because the oil that comes out of the ground won’t make your car move forwards. It would just block up your engine. Oil must be refined before it’s useful. Similarly big piles of raw data are likely to clog up your decision-making. To drive your organisation forwards, data needs refining to create a simple and actionable ‘so what’.

Our need for more informed decision-making

Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking to my network about informed decision-making. I asked some of them a simple question. What do you see preventing organisations from turning data into decisions?
The response has been very interesting. While they come from different countries and industries, they are seeing similar challenges. A disconnect between data and decision-making that is holding organisations back.
Some see it as a cultural problem. Some see it as a skills gap. But they all talked about their passion for this subject. A few even apologised for hopping onto their soap box! So what’s causing these challenges? Why is the current focus on data collection not leading to more informed decisions?

Why is turning data into decisions hard?

The cultural challenge with data
While more data might be available, not everyone is becoming more available to the data. Managers need an open mind to hear what the evidence is saying. This can be hard when new insight conflicts with personal experiences or familiar research. The easy thing is to focus on discrediting the data. It’s like a chef telling a waiter not to report customer complaints about the food, until there is a statistically valid sample size!

Often this problem comes from a lack of conviction. Managers lack the belief that being customer-centric is the best way to succeed. They believe they know better. But left unchecked, this culture will lead to managers making decisions first, then seeking out the data to support them.
The skills challenge with data
Decision-makers can only make evidence-based decisions if they understand what they’re seeing. They must be able to see the business implications. But this skills gap goes deeper than decision-makers.

The people analysing the data must understand the business context. Generic analysis won’t help the decision-makers. The raw data must be refined using business expertise. Only then can it become simple actionable insights.

5 tips for turning data into more informed decisions

Start with a plan
Begin with the end in mind. What decisions do you need to make? What assumptions do you need to test? What customer understanding are you missing? Once your insights have purpose, you can start planning how to get the data you need. Without this purpose, future decisions will be limited by the current data available.
Collect the right data
Don’t settle for making decisions based on current data. Using your insight plan ensure that the right data is collected. The right data is consistent, timely and relevant to the insight plan.
Combine data with expertise
Data becomes insight when it’s made insight-full. When it has a clear ‘so what’ for decision-makers. Different organisations will not respond to the same data in the same way. So organisations need a consistent process for blending data with business expertise.
Share insight widely
For insight to inform decisions, it must get to the right people at the right time. If it can’t, then the size of your data or the sophistication of your analysis doesn’t matter. This step is easier, if you started with a plan. You will know which decisions need insight, and hence who needs to know what by when.
Keep insights alive
Ensure insights follow the decisions they informed. Staff need to understand why decisions are made, as well as the decision itself. If they must assume the logic, they’re unlikely to take consistent action. Plus insights are rarely complete. They need updating as more data is captured and new lessons are learned.

So over to you. Do you see anything preventing your organisation turning more data into more informed decisions?

Meet Mike, our new CTO

We’re delighted to introduce you to Mike Evans, who has joined us as Chief Technical Officer. He will be responsible for building a development team to expand our software-as-a-service offering across sport and related markets.

He has joined us from Cohaesus in Edinburgh, where he worked as a Technical Director to turn client needs into reality. Prior to that he worked at Quorum, Ciqual, Rapid Mobile and GE. He also ran his own app development business, Dilignt Ltd.

Talking about his new role, Mike said: “I’m really excited about the potential I see in MyCustomerLens and I’m looking forward to growing the business together with Paul. “I feel that the technology requirements and roadmap for the company are an excellent match for my skills, and I’m eager and enthused about the challenge ahead, to be able to make a real difference to organisations trying to understand and retain their customers.”

If you’d like to chat to Mike, you can find him on LinkedIn here or you can contact him via info@mycustomerlens.com

Did you see? | Recent articles linked to Customer Led Growth

Lego & Gatorade: innovation as ‘dating’ your customers (Outside-in podcast)
“Sometimes the right way to make your product more valuable is to respect that product, understand what people are trying to do with it, and then innovate around it.”

Customer experience leadership in retail (customerbliss.com)
More & more organisations are appointing Customer Experience heads. For M&S, the goal is to unite leaders around a common vision and turn silos of data into shared actionable insights.

19 signs your customers are just not that into you (cx-journey.com)
Some great food for thought. Signs include not writing reviews or recommending you, and starting to compare their experiences to that with previous brands/organisations.

Featured use case – Group exercise classes / fitness franchise

A problem worth solving
How can we shorten the feedback loop on new classes?
We want to quickly test and evolve new classes, or new elements within the class, and share actionable feedback with our instructors. We know that doing this helps us to keep delivering great class experiences. Experiences that our members will talk about and keep coming back for.

If this sounds like a challenge your organisation is facing, click here to read about how MyCustomerLens is solving it.