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Data Is Meaningless Without Context and Action

Data and insights are the fuel for impactful decision making.

In Customer and Employee Experience (CX and EX) strategy, data is an integral part of the design and feedback process. You likely are inundated with requests to give feedback on every hotel room, flight, ice cream cone, and oil change you receive. And that was probably just last week.

The reason you feel so under siege is that organizations have realized that customer data (and the ability to segment that data) can create a distinct competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining customers.

The better you can understand your customers the more personalized service you can deliver for them. That is a winning recipe for building loyalty and customer lifetime value.

So where to start?

While collecting data might seem like the logical first step, we need to be sure we are first asking the right questions.

Asking the Right Questions

You must begin with the right question set. That will likely be customized based on your market and when it comes to customer experience, Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the current standard bearer. This measures your likelihood to recommend businesses and products - and you’ve seen it hundreds of times. It normally sounds something like “I would recommend Downtown Chevrolet’s maintenance department to a friend or colleague.”

The one thing to remember here is that survey fatigue is cutting into the number of questionnaires customers are willing to complete these days. Your best bet is for small surveys, even just one or two questions, in hopes you can harvest some data from your customer base.

Gathering the Data

Now that we have the question set dialed in to the fewest number of questions possible, we can start mining. Data provides insights into the experiences of both customers and employees - and highlights areas for improvement.

Data can come from various sources such as email surveys, follow up calls, focus groups, and customer feedback platforms (Voice of the Customer). The more data you collect, the more accurate and comprehensive the picture of your organization's CX and EX strategies will be.


Once you have data, it is essential to benchmark it against industry standards and best practices. This will give you an idea of how your organization is performing compared to others and highlight areas for improvement. Benchmarking also provides valuable insights into what is working well for other organizations and can help you design and prioritize your overall strategies.

Asking the right questions, gathering the data, and benchmarking against the marketplace provides context. Data without context is meaningless and won’t show you the whole story when it comes to potential actions to take.

Taking Action

Collecting data and benchmarking are just the first steps. The real value comes from taking action on the insights gleaned from the data. This may involve making changes to your products or services, improving processes, or investing in training and development programs for your team.

Taking action will not only help improve the experiences of customers and employees but will also drive business results. This is often where organizations lose focus – translating what they learn into steps to improve experiences for their customers and teams. Don’t let your data rot in a desk drawer or on a server, ensure that actions plans are built, prioritized, and most importantly executed with accountability.

Listening to your customers builds sales and listening to your team builds retention.

Gathering data, benchmarking, and taking action are crucial components of organizational growth and accountability. They provide the foundation for decision making, drive meaningful results, and help organizations stay ahead of the competition.

Data-driven decision making is the key to unlocking the full potential of both your customer and your employee strategies. By embracing these four components, you can create personalized and meaningful experiences that will set you apart in the marketplace.

Listen to Tony's Customer Service Academy podcast with 4xi's Barbara Boden, and Ann McNally talking about the importance of data, benchmarking, and insights. #CRITERION


Tony Johnson is 4xi’s Chief Experience Officer and leader of the Evolving Experiences© practice. Before joining 4xi, he was the Customer Service Officer for Aramark, a global food and facilities organization. Tony is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), award-winning speaker, and globally recognized employee and customer experience expert.

Tony is the author of 3 books on leadership, employee engagement, and customer experience and hosts an industry-leading weekly podcast, Customer Service Academy.


4xi: Inspiring a brighter future, together.

4xi Global Consulting & Solutions is a team of talented leaders from both the client-side and service provider side, creating an impact on the Human Experience (HX) for people at work, in education, rest, and at leisure.

We believe in a people-first, experience-led philosophy; whether client, employee, or guest – their experience is the fundamental foundation of success.

We work with corporations, service providers, and innovators:

  • Strategic Advisory & Special Projects (SPx)

  • Headquarters Fractional Support On-Demand

  • Evolving Experiences© - Employee (EX) & Customer Experience (CX)

  • Design4Life©: Environmental, Physical, and Experiential Design

  • Global Amenities Strategy, Design & Operations

  • TRUE NORTH©: Strategic Partnership & Growth

  • Explorers Innovation Directory: Gateway to Innovation

  • Sustainability Simplified©: Supply Chain & Innovation

  • Market Research Reports & Benchmarking


4xi is proud to be Chair of WORKTECH Academy for North America and a member of its Leadership Advisory Board. 4xi is a Global Ambassador for WORKTECH Academy.

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