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Companies have an enormous amount of data about customer behavior, but most aren't leveraging it to its full effect.

The rapid acceleration of digital transformation over the last two years has created lots of new ways to gauge customer sentiment, and some of them offer much more predictive value than NPS or CSAT surveys. The downside of this proliferation of data-gathering methods is that information usually ends up in different departments and systems, making meaningful analysis difficult.

This is where a Unified Data and Analytics Platform (UDAP) can prove invaluable. UDAPs, like Zoho's CRM Plus, aren't just another iteration of CRM; instead, they're a platform that can be specifically geared at improving CX. They provide a comprehensive view of the behavior of customers and anonymous visitors based on every interaction with the brand, so teams can pinpoint and optimize the small actions that result in sales.

The omnichannel difference

Drawing on fragmented data sources to serve customers results in fragmented service. This is where the omnichannel information from a UDAP can change CX. Putting information from social and website traffic and mobile app usage alongside data from CRM and support means that the engagements that create impact (and the places where opportunities have been missed) become a lot more apparent.  

Of course, the better insights teams have into customer behavior, the better they'll be at meeting those needs. And this is true for every customer-facing department: design benefits from seeing the friction points that lead to cart abandonment; marketing from seeing the frequency of coupon redemption; support from seeing which self-help options someone has already tried and where to engage the customer next.

Perhaps the greatest benefit omnichannel creates for customers is truly seamless transitions across devices and channels. While there may be a business need for departmental silos, the customer doesn't need to know (or experience) that. UDAPs contextualize every data point and let users create a detailed and dynamic picture of their audience through a single customer view (SCV) screen.

This view is the real highlight of a UDAP. It offers a holistic picture of every customer, drawn from data about preferred channels, touchpoint efficacy, LTV, and a lot more. Now, teams can see the points of synergy in the customer experience: the impact of the loyalty program on repurchase rates, for instance, or how the mobile app is changing site-browsing patterns. And since UDAPs are product agnostic, your stack remains flexible enough to meet whatever technological changes may emerge. By capturing and surfacing significant information, UDAPs give rich context to once seemingly irrelevant data points, which translates to a more effective customer experience across the life cycle.

The role of AI in improving CX

AI continues to expand its importance to business, and is increasingly driving improvements in CX. Support chatbots mean help is now available 24/7, an evolution in service to meet the needs of the DIY customer. These chatbots have been shown to significantly lower the volume of incoming tickets, which leads to shorter wait times, faster resolutions and happier employees, all key factors to building a fantastic CX.

In face-to-face engagements, the most telling signals are often the unspoken ones; body language can play a big part in how we interpret the motivations and attitudes of the people around us. In digital interactions, it's the operational, transactional, and behavioral data pulled together by an AI-powered SCV that can help teams read and respond to the "digital body language" of their customers.

Cross-channel insights offer teams new opportunities to provide proactive service. Whether it's hyper-localized marketing campaigns or recommended responses for sales and support agents, AI can generate a more interactive and responsive experience for customers and employees alike.

Of course, AI can do much more than answer basic inquiries or route escalation calls; when combined with a UDAP, AI can generate a truly personalized customer experience. Predictive personalization is a powerful tool for driving engagement and creating upsell and cross-sell opportunities. While this kind of personalization is largely driven by digital commerce, it's not limited to the digital world; AI-informed brick-and-mortar engagements are starting to drive significant revenue.

Ultimately, it's impossible to deliver a comprehensive customer experience without a comprehensive view of your audience. By creating a single, accessible source of truth to which all employees can turn, UDAPs are making it possible to end data silos. This means marketing can finally use BI; IT can directly act on the feedback that's housed with support; the analytics driving larger strategic decisions will finally be clear to everyone. When all of the teams that shape the customer's experience are equipped with the right data, they can create the impacts that both customers and enterprises are looking for.

Zoho offers a suite of intelligent enterprise business software, including an award-winning CRM suite, the industry's only comprehensive analytics and BI platform, and a powerful low-code development ecosystem.