Two Major Data Management Flaws Ruining Your User Experience

What’s the best user experience you have ever had?

The term “user experience” often denotes usability and aesthetic elements, but while consumers appreciate eye-catching color schemes and intuitive user flows, chances are, the user experiences you remember have more to do with being engaged in a relevant, timely and straight-forward fashion.

While UX is often approached with a front-end mindset, meaningful customer experiences start on the back-end, and can be traced back to the core inner workings of your business operations, values and goals.

Let’s take a look at 2 critical data management flaws embedded deep within your business that are impacting your user experience and customer relationships.

3rd Party Data Collection

Despite being invented to give early digital marketers a fundamental view of consumer activity after “dialing-up” to the ”world wide web,” third-party cookies are still a mainstay on many websites today.

And as consumers get savvier about deleting and avoiding cookies, 3rd parties get sneakier, turning to even more invasive data collection techniques like Canvas Fingerprinting. As if 3rd party “sneak attacks” weren’t enough to ruin the user experience, this data doesn’t even give brands a clear enough understanding of their customers to create truly relevant user experiences.

Consider the following scenario: Sarah’s tablet is cookied when she visits her favorite footwear retailer’s website. She browses a few pairs of shoes and then leaves. The next day, her husband borrows her tablet to search for deals on Italian suits. When Sarah returns to her favorite site to make a purchase, she is greeted by a beautiful showcase of men’s dress shoes. Does this sound like a good experience?

Now imagine this: When Sarah visits her favorite footwear retailer’s website, she is prompted to register and provide her name, gender, and shoe size. She browses a few pairs of shoes and then leaves. The next day, her husband borrows her tablet to search for deals on Italian suits. But when Sarah returns and logs in to her favorite site to make a purchase, she is greeted by a slew of women’s shoe recommendations available in her size. Better, right?

To get a more accurate and permission-based understanding of who their customers really are and the characteristics driving their behaviors, many brands are turning to this type of 1st party data collection.

Tip: Social login is a great solution for brands looking to make the transition from 3rd to 1st party data. Not only does social login make it easy for consumers to verify their identities using existing social media accounts, but it also gives brands permission-based access to users’ social profile data, including location, social connections, activities and more, which can be used to personalize the user experience.

Disparate Data Storage

In today’s omni-channel landscape, even insight into consumer identity isn’t enough to maintain a single view of your customers.

Let’s return to the previous example. Perhaps Sarah had registered for the footwear site using her Facebook account, granting the retailer access to her Facebook likes, which include her favorite brands. However, the retailer has no way to get this information into its email marketing platform of choice, so instead of receiving a discount for Uggs, her favorite shoe brand, Sarah gets a generic 20% off coupon code like everybody else.

When this coupon code fails to work, Sarah tweets @ the retailer asking for help. After 24 hours passes, Sarah calls customer support, and must re-explain her issue. To make up for the inconvenience, the rep offers her condolence in the form of a new discount code – valid toward everything except Uggs.

Unfortunately, as marketers attempt to scale internal, legacy database solutions to manage today’s multi-channel consumer data, they wind up with a totally disorganized view of their customers, making these types of user experiences increasingly common. In fact, almost 65% of marketers agree that silos within their marketing departments prevent them from having a holistic view of campaigns across channels (Teradata).

Marketers and IT must unite to diminish organizational data silos and implement a master database that dynamically aggregates and synchronizes data across channels. Only once brands have a single view of consumer identity can they begin to create cohesive customer journeys that span today’s multitude of consumer touchpoints.

Tip: Make sure to select a database that automatically normalizes and indexes both structured (name, email address, etc.) and unstructured (relationships, hobbies, etc.) data for easy querying and audience segmentation. This allows marketers and non-technical business leaders to make educated, data-driven decisions in real-time.

The definition of a “good user experience” has shifted from that of an easily navigable UI to one of cross-channel relevance and convenience, requiring all businesses to take a hard look at the way their consumer data management strategies are shaping their user experiences.

For more information on effectively managing external data, download our free eBook, Internal vs. External Identity Management, and be sure to check out our webinar with special guest Andras Cser of Forrester Research, Customer Identities Are a Whole Different Bunch.

By Tobias Meyer-Grunow