History is a great teacher. For instance, history can remind you that you’re not as good of a skier as you think you are–although everyone did get a laugh as you faceplanted down that double black diamond last year. Or history can remind you that it makes your mom’s day when you call her on the weekends to see how she’s doing. Or that you really shouldn’t have more than two margaritas on a weeknight unless you want to pay for it in the morning. 

But there are times when history isn’t as helpful as understanding the present. When it pays to be cutting edge. When every second counts and relying on past data means you’re just living in the past.

Customer service was once focused on interactions that already happened. Most of the mechanisms used by businesses relied on past interactions: surveys, phone calls, questionnaires, etc. That information is still useful, of course, but thanks to experience signals, businesses are able to get a better, real-time idea of customer experiences.

By drawing on data from all of your customer interactions, you can take your customer service from past to present.

Putting Your Data to Work

Traditional avenues like surveys only give you a limited picture of customer experience and always after the fact. With so many sources of data now available, why would you not be gathering data from all of them? 

These data points are known as experience signals, and they are taking customer service into the future.

Experience signals come in many different shapes and forms. They can be structured inputs that give you concrete information, or they might be more opaque and require a bit more processing. For example, a customer filling out a form on your website is real-time information you can use, while a customer saying how much they loved working with your business on Twitter also provides real-time data without a defined input.

By pulling in information from all of these experience signals, businesses can react more quickly to the needs of their customers. Of course, that means you need to have a partner like Hoverstate that can draw together multiple data channels with powerful tools such as Pega. But when you can stop relying on data that’s in the past, you can start making decisions for your business faster.

Seeing the Signals

Why does it matter if you’re only gathering customer experience information from a few channels?

Let’s say you’re only looking at information on your website. Customers are coming and going as usual, until suddenly there is a precipitous drop. Like a good data analyst, you start trying to figure out what happened. If you were observing all your experience signals, however, you would know that your company is trending on Twitter–and not in a good way. A company that takes an omnichannel signal analysis approach to customer service does not need to search to understand the effect; that wastes valuable time. Instead, they know the cause and can address issues in real time.

That, of course, is a doomsday scenario. There are plenty of small moments that make paying attention to all your experience signals worth it. 

It’s not all about speed and reaction time, either. Gathering more data almost always gives you a better idea of the complete customer experience picture. For instance, traditional experience signals like surveys rely on customer cooperation. That could cause information bias, pulling in only extremely positive or negative experiences. Gathering information from all customers and not just the ones who take the time to respond can help you understand their journey.

Peeking the Future

When you stop relying on information stuck in the past, you can start looking into the future. Pulling in data from all your channels lets you develop new ideas, inspired by the full picture of your customers’ experiences. Just as important, you can see how customers react to your new ideas faster, empowering you to refine your ideas perfectly.

You can even use customers directly as a way to develop new ideas. Say that you find customers using your products in innovative, unintended ways on social media. Suddenly, you can adopt that idea and make it your own.

It all comes down to how much data you–and your system–can handle. And when it comes to pulling in data from all your sources, Hoverstate can help.