Customer experience is one of the most critical concerns for any organization—but also one of the most challenging for companies to perform concrete improvements. When they better understand the customer experience, businesses can define a clear, actionable roadmap to optimize the customer journey. In turn, this will pay dividends in terms of greater employee productivity, lower costs, and higher profits.
Adopting a data-driven approach to customer success is one of the best ways to provide a top-notch user experience. With so much information scattered across the IT ecosystem, this is easier said than done. Businesses need a robust, reliable way to perform data integration across the enterprise, collecting information under one roof for easier access and analysis.
Once all this information is in hand, savvy, customer-centric businesses can use it to find hidden trends and actionable insights for smarter decision-making. In this article, we’ll discuss how Elevate.inc, one of Integrate.io’s recent clients, used big data to understand and improve the customer experience.
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How Elevate.inc Used Data Integration to Improve the Customer Experience
Elevate.inc, the client in this case study, helps businesses manage their employee benefits by providing a revolutionary human resources SaaS (software as a service) platform. Thousands of employees at more than 150 companies use Elevate's software to instantly process claims and obtain real-time reimbursements. Employers, too, can use the platform to make smarter HR decisions and administer benefits for different teams.
When a new employee comes on board, the employer shares the employee’s HR information with Elevate's software in a particular file format. In turn, the software takes this data and triggers workflows to create the necessary profiles and accounts.
Originally, Elevate requested its initial users to provide this information using their own standardized format. As their business grew, however, this was not always possible. With so many diverse organizations using the software, Elevate needed to support a wide variety of input data formats—which led to struggles with data integration.
The Problem: Different Data Formats
Human resource management software such as Workday and ADP are highly popular among businesses of all sizes and industries, and companies will typically use one or the other (but not both). ADP and Workday make employer benefits data available via their API (application programming interface). ETL tools such as Integrate.io can use a universal REST API source connector to extract and work with this information.
Because Workday and ADP are so popular, many of Elevate's new customers store employee information in these third-party file formats. However, Elevate did not want to ask them to convert this data when starting to use the software. Requiring this data transformation would be a burden on users, thwarting customer expectations and potentially scaring some customers away.
Thus, Elevate needed a way to transform the data into the software’s own file format for use within the platform. However, the manual transformation of this customer data was not feasible. Doing so would require a dedicated team to process files for several hours per week and allow too much room for error (such as mistakenly creating accounts or making reimbursements).
The Solution: Robust ETL Capabilities
Due to these issues, Elevate saw the need for a reliable ETL (extract, transform, load) tool with robust data transformation functionality. This would allow customers to add new employees to their systems and allow claims and reimbursements to be processed using the power of automation.
Elevate pictured a solution where customers could easily use Amazon S3 to share their employee information. Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a service offering from Amazon Web Services (AWS) that provides object storage through a web service interface.
In Elevate's vision, users would load files of employee data to their own FTP site. Amazon S3 can easily integrate with FTP, making these files immediately available to Elevate's system. Finally, the Elevate software would pick up these files from Amazon S3 and load them into the platform.
Click here to see just how easy it is to connect to Amazon S3 with Integrate.io ETL.
Elevate was looking for an ETL tool with three main qualities:
Easy-to-use data connectors to Amazon S3, ADP, and Workday.
A wide variety of flexible data transformation capabilities.
While some tools offered S3, Workday, and ADP connections out of the box, they often lacked the necessary capabilities for data transformation. Other tools offered a high degree of flexibility to address their technical needs but were not no-code or low-code—especially when connecting to non-native APIs.
After a thorough evaluation of many ETL platforms, Elevate found it difficult to meet all of these requirements—until they examined Integrate.io. For Elevate, Integrate.io’s ETL tool was in a “sweet spot” among its competitors, offering a happy medium between ease of use and powerful functionality. Integrate.io’s drag-and-drop, low-code, and no-code user interface lets users of any background and skill level define their data transformations and pipelines.
What’s more, the ETL platform is just one of the benefits that Integrate.io has to offer, along with tools for ELT & CDC, data warehouse analytics, and API generation. Elevate could be confident that Integrate.io was a true data platform that still had much to offer as their technical roadmap evolved. Integrate.io could help Elevate with an extensive range of use cases: from building new data products and custom dashboards to sharing data and syncing across multiple systems.
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The Results: A Stronger Customer Experience
With the help of Integrate.io, Elevate is now able to intake customer data from a wider range of formats. Customers can use Elevate's software to analyze the data generated by their HR management platform, such as ADP or Workday, for use cases such as payroll, taxes, benefits, and employee experience.
Elevate takes full advantage of Integate.io’s ETL capabilities:
First, Elevate extracts the data from sources such as ADP and Workday via their APIs and Integrate.io’s universal REST API connector.
Second, Elevate transforms the data, joining datasets together and preparing them for analytics, dashboards, and reporting.
Finally, Elevate loads the data into a data warehouse, allowing platform-embedded business intelligence and visualization tools to read it directly.
Thanks to Integrate.io, Elevate has achieved two crucial objectives:
Better customer experience: Users can now upload information in their desired file format without hassle. Elevate plans to introduce a new in-platform HR dashboarding feature that customers can use to make smarter data-driven human resources decisions.
Faster customer onboarding: The data within the user’s files are automatically transformed. New employees can be added to Elevate's software as soon as the customer uploads the file.
What Is Customer Experience (CX)?
Customer experience is the overall impression that customers have of your brand or business throughout their entire relationship. Perhaps the most obvious touchpoint for customers is a contact center or other customer support outlet. However, this is just one component of building an excellent customer experience from start to finish.
To offer a truly exceptional customer experience, businesses should adopt an omnichannel approach that includes:
The experience of buying and using the product.
Interactions with customer support agents (refunds, returns, problems, questions, etc.).
Digital channels, such as websites, emails, chatbots, and social media.
Self-service portals such as FAQs, help forums, and knowledge bases.
In-person, brick-and-mortar sales.
Marketing and advertising campaigns, calls from sales reps, etc.
Word-of-mouth communication between customers.
Public perception and media coverage.
The benefits of improving the customer experience include:
Greater customer engagement: Companies that better understand their customers also know the best ways to engage them. This involves creating dynamic, clever ways to connect with your audience and maintain their interest in your brand.
Higher customer retention: By focusing on providing a better experience during every customer interaction, your audience will be more likely to stick around for the long haul, going from new converts to loyal fans.
Lower costs: A better customer experience can decrease business costs in a variety of ways: from saving money on marketing campaigns (and relying more on word-of-mouth) to lowering the number of product refunds.
Stronger brand value: Customer experience is highly correlated to a company’s brand value. The more positive experiences users have with your products, the more positively they will esteem your brand and promote it to their friends and family.
How Can You Understand the Customer Experience?
There are a variety of approaches and initiatives for businesses to get a better grasp on the customer experience. In this section, we’ll discuss four ways companies can get a finger on the pulse of their customers.
1. Customer experience rankings
While customer experience is a subjective, qualitative “feeling” for each customer, there are ways to calculate it objectively and quantitatively for large numbers of users. Market research firms such as Forrester, for example, provide a CX Index that compares businesses numerically based on their ability to deliver a first-rate customer experience. This index incorporates factors such as:
The brand’s effectiveness at meeting customer needs.
The easiness for customers to work with the brand.
The emotions that customers felt when interacting with the brand.
2. Metrics and KPIs
Businesses may select particular metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) to evaluate the quality of their customer experience. Perhaps the ultimate CX metric is NPS (Net Promoter Score), which is used to assess customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. Specifically, NPS measures how likely, on a scale from 0 to 10, customers are to recommend a company to their friends, family, and colleagues.
There are a variety of other CX metrics and KPIs, each intended to isolate a particular facet of the business. For example, customer lifetime value (CLV) estimates how much money a particular customer will “bring in” over the lifetime of their relationship with an organization. Meanwhile, churn rate (i.e., the percentage of users who stop patronizing the business) can detect heightened levels of customer dissatisfaction.
3. CRM software
CRM (customer relationship management) software is an invaluable tool for keeping track of a company’s history of interactions with its customers. Different teams and departments across the organization can leverage CRM platforms to provide one-on-one, personalized services to individual customers.
Enterprise-grade CRM providers, such as Salesforce, Oracle, and Microsoft Dynamics 365, offer a rich array of features and functionality—from automated contact management and lead scoring to beautiful data visualizations, reports, and dashboards. Storing customer data in a centralized, accessible CRM allows organizations to slice and dice this information along many different angles for business intelligence and analytics.
4. Customer segmentation
Businesses with thousands of users simply can’t afford to understand the opinions and motivations of each individual customer. Instead, a highly useful tactic is to segment customers into different groups based on certain traits. The methods of segmentation may be:
Demographic (age, income, education level, etc.).
Geographic (region, state, country, etc.).
Psychographic (opinions, beliefs, attitudes, interests, etc.).
Behavioral (website visits, social media interactions, purchases, etc.).
Separating customers into segments helps deliver more personalized experiences, from sales to customer support. For example, businesses can construct customer stories and buyer personas (fictional representations of an archetypal customer) that help them deliver more effective targeted marketing campaigns.
How Integrate.io Can Help With Your Customer Experience
The Elevate.inc case study in this article is only one example of how the right data integration platform helps businesses strengthen their customer experience through digital transformation. By selecting the best tools for the job, companies can ease the technical burden on both themselves and their customers while streamlining their business processes.
That’s exactly why we built Integrate.io—a powerful, feature-rich, cloud-based ETL and data integration platform explicitly designed for the needs of Ecommerce companies. Integrate.io offers a no-code, drag-and-drop visual interface that lets both technical and business users start constructing production-ready data pipelines. To make the learning curve as simple as possible, Integrate.io provides more than 140 pre-built connectors and integrations for the most widely used data sources, as well as a universal connector for extracting data from any generic REST API.
Even better, Integrate.io offers a wealth of valuable features to help users break down data silos and get the most out of data integration. Integrate.io includes the FlyData CDC (change data capture) tool, which detects which records and tables have changed within a data source since your most recent integration job. Using FlyData CDC, organizations can dramatically slash the time and effort they spend on data integration. Another tremendously useful feature is Integrate.io’s support for reverse ETL so you can push data out of a centralized data warehouse and into third-party applications for easier access.
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