Gathering data is essential these days, gathering quantitative operational data (O-data) and qualitative experience data (X-Data™) — both can illuminate the customer experience. There are many ways to slice and dice the information for different pictures of the customer experience based on segments, demographics, touchpoints, and more. But I want to talk about an essential customer experience competency that should follow your data: Action.

Many businesses use X-data to measure strengths and weaknesses, but they often stop there. Acting on the CX insights is the crucial next step. After all, that survey you just distributed offered some great tips and excited your audience about the prospect of helping influence your organization. But if you don’t follow up on what you learn, you are missing out on huge opportunities to improve your sales and better your customer experience.

Here are some suggestions for taking what you learn and turning it into actionable results:

    • Customer experience metrics should deliver a picture of what your buyers want and need, designed around addressing their specific issues. Once you know these wants and needs, it’s time to connect those bits of information with the solutions you offer through specific content, drawing a picture for your customers.
    • Work with buyers to identify gaps and improve their overall customer experience. One suggestion is to collaborate over new ideas and information that buyers want to access. With surveys, focus groups, and other interactive customer experiences, you are telling your buyers that you care about what they think. It shows that you are trying to provide the best customer experience.
    • Both positive and negative social feedback should be consistently addressed. This involves using social tracking tools that deliver real-time updates about what’s being said, and building processes to respond quickly to reduce complaints (and acknowledge compliments) related to your customer experience.
    • Add CRM tools to help effectively manage your relationships with customers, especially in those areas where data has shown the experience gap. For example, if your data suggests that the customer experience lacks a personal touch, use CRM tools to personalize communication. For example, address past purchases or cater to customers’ specific interests. Set up post-interaction triggers to contact your customers via email or text to see if they need additional assistance.

Information is not valuable until you act, so make the most of the X-Data you collect and turn it into an action plan, enhancing customer interactions for greater sales opportunities.

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru, and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the payments company Due.