Moving from data collection to knowledge to wisdom

“Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears”


-John Lennon

In last week’s blog in our Reimagining Insights series, Lou and I shared Experience Management Absolute #2: Shift your focus from rational to unconscious thought, building an emotional motif for both customers and employees. 

We focused on the power of “deep metaphors” and understanding how customers’ unconscious thoughts and emotions shape their perceptions of the peaks and valleys along their journeys. 

We also introduced the concept of an “emotional motif,” a set of 3-5 core emotions that you’d like your customers to feel about themselves on their journey with your brand. These are core building blocks to engineering experiences that are congruent with your brand strategy and that turn customers into loyal brand advocates.

In this week’s blog we dive deeper into Experience Management Absolute #3: Moving from data collection to knowledge to wisdom. This will help you amplify value from your investments in experience management, doing the right things exceptionally well rather than just fixing a set of pain points and driving smaller, incremental improvements. We’ll also address the role of AI and more modern approaches to CX listening that are key to making the shift to becoming a more Adaptive Enterprise.

We are advocating and participating in the advancement of the optimization of AI and Machine Learning as it applies to Experience Management. But we are applying this to create greater impact by focusing on the forest and not just the trees. 

To start, what’s the difference between data, knowledge, and wisdom? Data are signals that you can listen to along the customer journey. Data can either be about what customers are doing, which tends to be tracked by measuring specific behaviors along the customer journey (often called O data as you can track it in your operational systems), or it can be what your customers are thinking, feeling, and saying about their experience (often called X data). 

Your X data can be generated by provoking feedback (e.g., surveys, ratings, and reviews, etc.) as well as by mining conversations that occur organically along the journey that are either positive or negative experiences for the customer (e.g., calls to your call center, social media interactions, in-app messaging, etc.). 

Knowledge is making meaning out of noise, creating models that allow you to make better decisions. As I learned in a philosophy class in college, knowledge is “justified true belief,” and it is very hard to come by and prove that you have it! Wisdom is using your knowledge well to have an impact aligned with your values. Brands that connect well with the values of their customers and employees deliver substantially more value, tapping into the collective wisdom of their leaders, managers, and frontline employees.

Research from Qualtrics shows that more than 90% of data is unstructured, and these data sets are rapidly growing as a share of your customer listening signals. So, the key question then is how can you best turn this X data together with your O data signals, too, into more actionable and valuable knowledge and ultimately wisdom?

In the Industrial Age, we made meaning out of data through more labor-intensive processes with significant investments in time from highly skilled humans, both employees at the company and outsiders hired to work on specific initiatives. These investments, while valuable, were expensive and had long lead times. As companies make the transition to the Experience Economy and become Adaptive Enterprises, they are tapping into more tech-enabled approaches that combine AI with effective application and automation of what previously had to be done by highly specialized experts. 

Note that the use of AI here is not a brute force approach to mine large amounts of data. To truly get the most value, it is best to generate more valuable insights upfront about the deep metaphors your customers are using on their journey and focus your AI investments on generating actionable insights that align to your emotional motif. Once you generate and align on these upfront insights, they not only make your CX vision and roadmap of initiatives more valuable but also provide a framework for ongoing generation of insights and measurement to guide your continuous improvement efforts.

There are significant advances in AI to make meaning out of this data, including measuring the emotional intensity of how customers are feeling at every touchpoint along the customer journey. Your approach to measuring CX is best done in a holistic way that integrates across data sets and combines insights from both structured and unstructured data signals. Moreover, there are significant advances in how to integrate across CX and EX data signals and see the linkages to business outcomes as you drive continuous improvement efforts.

To make the shift complete, you need to apply these insights regularly for a focused set of CX use cases (If we do A, then B will be the outcome). To get to knowledge (justified true belief) you need to be able to demonstrate the linkage between your actions and outcomes. And to get from knowledge to wisdom, you need to enroll your customers and employees together to have an impact in ways that are aligned to their shared values. In future blogs, we’ll focus more on how to build a movement in your talent as part of your CX investments, creating a true customer-driven culture that engages and empowers your employees to help build further knowledge and wisdom as part of your continuous improvement cycle.

Stay tuned for Experience Management Absolute #4: Elevate the clue consciousness of your organization.

We're looking forward to the conversations!