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The customer experience, knowing how to interpret business data

“We don’t know our customers…well enough.”

We first heard this phrase in 2012 from the then CEO of Schindler, one of our main customer companies.

It was the spark that ignited our curiosity about the world of customer experience.

It is a common mistake to assume that you know your customers.

Losing customers or lack of repeat purchases cannot come as a surprise.

How can we solve this problem?

The answer exists but it is hidden in the data–and companies are often overwhelmed by the enormous amount of business data collected.

We are all sitting on a treasure trove of business data, but it has no value unless we process it properly to enable us to make better decisions.

Identifying the reasons why customers buy or change their minds is necessary to enable management to make informed decisions about what action to take, and discovering these reasons is the result of qualitative research.

Quantitative data are based on numbers and are measurable. Qualitative data are based on interpretation, description and language. Quantitative data tell us how many, how much or how often certain events happen. Qualitative data help us understand the why and how of certain behaviors.

Operating mostly in B2B, we prefer telephone interviews based on open-ended questions that do not influence the respondent, conversations and focus groups, while I do not think web or digital surveys can be useful, when trying to learn more about customers, because they report information about the how much but not the WHY of behaviors.

Of course, when you are dealing with thousands of unstructured data you need the help of text analytics software based on intensive use of artificial intelligence to shape them and be able to identify customer stories hidden in the data, but here is finally some good news: this is now possible thanks to the introduction of Natural Language Processing (NLP), which has made huge strides in the analytics world.

We very much believe in the power of Visual Reporting tools, which enable the identification of organizations’ weaknesses and strengths and allow for easy shared identification of actions to improve the Customer Experience from huge amounts of data that are not easy for management to read.

Finally, we must never forget that we are all human beings (even managers!) and data, by its very nature, fails to elicit emotion. Where data scientists often fail is in finding emotional ways to communicate the customer stories derived from the great work of analytics.

Data in this case must become storytelling.

Here is the importance of story telling, both inside and outside the organization.

It is not data, but the story of an individual customer that you can empathize with, to create emotional connections.

This is the perfect way to get the word out about your brand and sustain the Brand Promise, because the ultimate goal of CX is to make sure the Brand Promise is kept!


Alperia, the leading provider of energy services in Alto Adige, also operates in Veneto and Piedmont. Nationwide, the company is the fifth largest multi-utility by sales, as well as one of most Italian important operators in terms of sustainable energy. The energy generated by Alperia comes from renewable sources: in particular, the company holds majority interests in 34 hydroelectric stations, 7 photovoltaic installations and 1 field, 5 remote heating plants and 1 biomass power station in Ottana, Sardinia, managing in total a grid extending 8,951 kilometres. Alperia is active in the sale and distribution of power, remote heating systems, energy efficiency improvements and the development of electric mobility. Thanks to its hydroelectric stations, the company plans to turn its home territory into a fully-fledged smart region, promoting a technology and energy development model that respects the environment and gifts a sustainable future to new generations. In view of this, Alperia develops innovative technological solutions that facilitate the improved management of resources, working in a manner respectful of its territories and communities. The business paths of Alperia and Sagres crossed in 2018 on the completion of institutional procedures. In particular, the collaboration commenced when Sagres won a bidding competition for the provision of credit collection services. Working on this project involved the joint creation of a dedicated team together with Alperia, providing comprehensive support for all credit collection activities and services. Drawing on their experience, Sagres professionals both offered and guaranteed the provision of rapid and effective services. Collaboration between the two companies has broadened into other sectors. In this context, Sagres has devised and implemented a customised telesales solution: the management, with a view to conversion, of hot leads generated by Alperia marketing campaigns. This project, marked by osmotic collaboration between the two teams, has resulted in achievement of the established objectives. Over time, Sagres has also supported Alperia in the management of chats on its social media channels, with the implementation and administration of a business chat system using proprietary software. Most recently, Sagres professional have begun to manage an inbound service with qualitative SLAs that stimulate improvements and an outbound commercial service applying ARERA parameters.

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