Benefits of Data-Driven Customer Experience Are Wide-Ranging, Says New Study  

According to a new report by Forbes Insights and SAS, "Data Elevates the Customer Experience: New Ways of Discovering and Applying Customer Insights," the benefits of brands evolving to data-driven customer experiences (data-driven CX) are wide-ranging. The study notes data-driven methods enhance revenue generation and enable cost reduction, as well as accelerate process efficiencies and quality improvements.

A Forbes Insights global survey of 357 executives of large organizations found that data-driven CX also enables organizations to better target and optimize for specific customers, as well as to deliver consistency and context across various channels. To achieve this, however, there needs to be greater alignment of people, processes and technology across enterprises—involving not only sales and marketing teams, but also other key players behind customer experience, including information technology, purchasing and production.

“This report underlines the importance of having people and analytics work smoothly to deliver a superior customer experience,” said Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media. “Your data must be accessible, and your organization must be aligned to orchestrate the process.”

“Winning at customer experience today requires a combination of individualized insights, contextualized interactions, and fluid processes to engage the customer in their channels of choice,” said Wilson Raj, Global Director of Customer Intelligence at SAS. “It requires new ways of exploring and exploiting data to create rich dialogues between customers and brands.”

Other key findings include:

  • To meet the challenges of delivering superior customer experiences, organizations are turning to analytics to better understand customer trends and preferences. For three in 10 enterprises, data-driven CX is already delivering a significant shift in elevating customer experiences. Many more executives who are still in the early stages of development anticipate results over the next two years.
  • For a majority of enterprises, their data-driven CX efforts are already delivering benefits in two key areas: decision making, and more actionable insights and engagement with customers.
  • Only 36 percent of executives say they have attained real-time, highly integrated capabilities across all the customer channels within their enterprises. At this point, just half of even the most highly data-driven CX organizations consider themselves to be highly integrated.
  • There’s a prevailing understanding that opening up data and sharing it with customers will go a long way to advancing the customer experience. The ability to extend real-time offers as customers browse a site or to show the real-time status of order shipping are powerful examples. Two in five executives agree that sharing data with customers would be beneficial “in all cases.”
  • Visibility into customer activity is low, with only a handful of enterprises (6 percent) currently capable of seeing the entire breadth of their customers’ experiences.
  • Just under half of the executives in the survey report that the majority of their relevant enterprise information is easily accessible via a single, highly integrated presentation layer.
  • The most often-cited benefit of data-driven CX among executives is having a greater ability to target and optimize for specific customers (57 percent), as well as achieving consistency across various channels.

About this research

This report is based on a global survey of 357 senior-level executives, representing a range of job functions and industries, conducted by Forbes Insights. Close to one-third are heads of their organizations, while one in four are top technology executives. The roles responding executives oversee include overall corporate management, customer experience, IT security and customer service/support. Forbes Insights also conducted one-on-one interviews with several executives to add context to the findings. Download the report at

About Forbes Insights

Forbes Insights is the strategic research and thought leadership practice of Forbes Media, publisher of Forbes magazine and, whose combined media properties reach nearly 75 million business decision makers worldwide on a monthly basis. Taking advantage of a proprietary database of senior-level executives in the Forbes community, Forbes Insights conducts research on a host of topics of interest to C-level executives, senior marketing professionals, small business owners and those who aspire to positions of leadership, as well as providing deep insights into issues and trends surrounding wealth creation and wealth management.

About SAS

SAS is a global leader in data and AI. With SAS software and industry-specific solutions, organizations transform data into trusted decisions. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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