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by Sam Frampton on 30 Aug 2018

Discover the best tools to improve your customer experience

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Overwhelmed by the sheer number of tools available to help you run your business?

You’re not alone.

In the digital age we’re in, options are seemingly endless for tools that can help you with every facet of your business. And while customers expect you to put an increasing focus on customer experience (CX), those tools can definitely help — as long as you choose the right ones.

Not sure how to choose the CX tools you should be using? Don’t worry — we’ve got you.

Collection

When it comes to providing top-tier CX, the first step is obvious: collection.

You need to be able to keep a finger on the pulse of how your customers are feeling. That means conducting frequent NPS surveys, but also a little more. Your NPS score is just the raw data, the “what.” You also need to know the “why?”

There are countless tools that you could trust with the data collection you need to start designing a killer CX program, but here are a few of the best.

usabilla-logo

Usabilla

Over 20,000 users worldwide use Usabilla to gather continual feedback from their users. It’s a particular favourite of ours, and we look forward to attending their event Usabilla Exchange later this year.

Usabilla enables you to collect native feedback in-app, email or website in real time providing intuitive insights. The continuous stream of feedback is an excellent way for your customer to interact with your product. A standout feature of Usabilla is the ability for users to send screenshots along with their feedback making it much easier to understand user’s concerns.

Usabilla also provides an in-page widget that lies below content areas on your website to capture immediate feedback from customers. Offering a level of granularity above the competition. Discover what users think about a specific paragraph, images and other content areas to ensure you are delivering content that appeals to your audience.

Usabilla integrates with a whole bunch of tools and processes. From Scrum to Slack, adding Usabilla to the mix will enhance your existing CX toolkit, without disrupting it.

survey-monkey

Survey Monkey

There’s a reason Survey Monkey boasts 25 million users and 90 million survey responses monthly. This San Mateo-based startup offers free, customizable surveys alongside an integratable suite of backend products that can handle data analysis, sample selection, bias elimination, data representation tools and more. Plus, Survey Monkey operates worldwide and is available in more than a dozen languages, so no matter where your company is based or does business, Survey Monkey is likely to be able to meet your data collection needs. Since 1999, the company has been steadily growing, reaching revenues in excess of $113 million yearly.

In addition to providing both free and multi-tier paid plans for individuals, Survey Monkey released large-scale options for enterprises in 2013, meaning you’re likely to find a plan — and a price point — that’s just right for your business’ size and needs. From data collection to brand management to consumer marketing, Survey Monkey really is an all-in-one tool that will meet and then exceed your expectations for collection. Countless Fortune 500 companies use Survey Monkey already to reach their customers, survey and get the data they need to design effective, high quality CX programs. Is it time for you to join them?

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Typeform

Typeform boasts that it “turns data collection into an experience,” so you know you’re using a company that values CX itself to design your own CX programs. That’s a good start.

Based in Barcelona, Spain, Typeform also serves users worldwide, so wherever your business is based or works, Typeform can help. The software that has been used by the likes of Apple, Airbnb, Uber and Nike to create dynamic forms based on user needs is also available to individuals and enterprises, with simple, affordable pricing structures and plans for all kinds of needs.

Unsure business owners can take Typeform for a test drive, using its free basic plan for surveys containing a maximum of 10 fields, and up to 100 responses. Businesses have two options for Pro and Pro+ plans — Pro for a single user and Pro+ for multiple users — and can choose to pay monthly or yearly.

While Survey Monkey has more users, Typeform is still a popular and useful tool. Its dynamic survey design is one of its most appealing qualities — it hides survey questions until the preceding answer has been recorded, encouraging better engagement through the survey. Better engagement equals better data, equals more opportunity to build the high quality CX your customers deserve.

Aggregation

Before you can do anything with all that data you’re collecting, it needs to be aggregated. And having the right tools to store, manipulate, query and retrieve that data means it will be ready for analysis, putting you one step closer to using it to create your CX.

So what aggregation tool should you go with? There are enough options out there to make this an overwhelming decision for most business owners and managers.

All of the solutions we considered have an MPP (massively parallel processing) architecture, which means that your data and queries get distributed across several nodes for the most efficient storage and processing. For further discussion on MPP you can find out more here.

We also limited our options to fully managed solutions. Some warehousing solutions require a license to be purchased. Rather than go through the trouble of buying a license and setting the warehouse up on your cloud or on-premise servers, these fully managed solutions enable you to create an account and get started simply.

Amazon S3

S3

When it comes to data storage and aggregation, there’s one name you’re going to come across over and over: Amazon. In fact, according to data from Synergy Research, in the decade since its launch, AWS has grown into the most successful cloud infrastructure company on the planet, garnering more than 30 percent of the market. Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides storage and aggregation options that will suit just about any business’ needs.

One of those is S3, a low-cost cloud-based object storage service which currently stores trillions of objects. Yes, trillions. S3 was one of the earliest drivers of AWS, and it shows in just how ubiquitous the service has become.

Enterprise users will likely appreciate that S3 offers pricing tiers depending on storage usage, numbers of requests and data transfers, offering the flexibility businesses need to create an aggregation plan that suits their needs — and their budget. Prices also vary based on the choice for the location of your data storage. As of 2018, prices range from $0.023 to $0.0405 per Gb per month for the first 50 terabytes of data.

To query data stored in S3 you can use Amazon Athena an interactive service to S3 that makes it easy to analyze data using standard SQL. Given SQL’s wide usage, the vast majority of teams within your organisation will already be comfortable using SQL to query data. Athena is serverless, so there is no infrastructure to setup or manage, and you can start analyzing data immediately.

Notable S3 customers include Netflix, Microsoft, Dropbox, Bitcasa, Tumblr and more. Amazon has created a storage and aggregation service that has the flexibility and reliability to be one of the most-used on the market, making it a solid first choice.

Amazon Redshift

Redshift

Amazon Redshift is a fully managed, high-performance MPP data warehouse solution in the cloud that can scale up to a petabyte or more, while costing an order-of-magnitude less than legacy data warehousing solutions.

It’s one of the more accessible data warehouse solutions allowing anybody to deploy a data warehouse solution without extensive setup costs or deep technical expertise. A report from June 2017 by Forrester mentions that Redshift has over 5,000 deployments with plenty of success stories. That’s strong uptake, considering it has only been available since 2012.

Amazon Redshift uses industry-standard SQL and is based off PostgresSQL 8.0.2. It’s worth noting that there is some difference between PostgresSQL and Amazon Redshift SQL, most of which are there to optimise Redshift performing online analytical processing (“OLAP”) queries efficiently over petabytes of data. Another bonus is that it’s easy to get data into Redshift by being based on PostgresSQL, Redshift implements most of its COPY statements, which works well. There are also a good amount of client-side libraries like python’s psycopg to connect to Redshift.

Redshift comes with Amazon’s reliability, and partners with other businesses to provide cross-platform business intelligence, data integration and consulting. Users of Actian, Looker, MicroStrategy, Qlik, Tableau, Stitch and more will find seamless integration with Redshift, as those popular tools all belong to the “Amazon Partner Network.” That makes Redshift an easy tool to plug into your CX process if you’re also using technology to collect, analyse and visualise your data.

Redshift is the price leader. Business can try Redshift with a free trial and then can choose from a number of pricing options, including on-demand usage or “Spectrum,” which charges by a number of bytes of data scanned. There’s also the option to save up to 75 per cent over on-demand rates by committing to using Redshift for one to three years. There are no upfront costs for Redshift — you pay based only on your usage, making Redshift inexpensive compared to its peers. If you want to store and analyse a large volume of data as cheaply as possible, then Redshift is the cheapest way to do it.

For more information on Redshift it’s worth viewing this quora thread.

Google Big Query

Google Bigquery

BigQuery is an impressive offering from Google and should be on your shortlist of analytics warehouses. Google also offers a free tier making it a low-risk proposition to try. Every month Google gives you a free terabyte of queries, and you’ll be able to load your data at no cost — up to 10GB.

Like Amazon Redshift and S3, Google BigQuery provides a managed cloud-based data warehouse, for most companies there no way they could have a physical server warehouse in this office: A managed cloud-based service takes the stress away from managing your servers. You can just set up an account and get started.

At its core, Bigquery is an externalisation of Dremel, a query service used at Google to enable the handling of data for products like Google Search, Youtube, Google Docs and Gmail on a daily basis. That’s a colossal amount of data to be processing at any one time. Dremel allows Google employees to blaze through the data at impressive speeds and draw insight. Since 2006 it has been Google’s semi-secret weapon.

BigQuery is the public implementation of Dremel that enables third-party developers access to the core set of features to Dremel. Of note, is Google BigQuery speed. It can even execute a complex regular expression text matching on a large logging table that consists of about 35 billion rows and 20 TB, in merely tens of seconds. To access the platform you can use, Big Query Rest API, command line interface, web UI, Access control and Google Cloud SDK & Docker.

The user can load data managed in columnar storage from an array of data sources including Google’s ecosystem of marketing and storage products. To visualise the data, Google offers an extensive variety of integrations. Including some of our favourites such as Looker, Tableau and QlikView.

Unlike Amazon’s Redshift and S3, it does not use the industry standard SQL language but a similar language called Bigquery SQL dialect. Team members from a wide-ranging set of teams need to regularly query databases, for non-technical teams, having to learn the nuances of a new language could cause difficulties in accessing data.

Visualisation

You have the data to drive the CX program you want to create. But that data needs to be presentable. Bit-sized. Attractive. You need tools that present your data in a way that’s pleasing and simple to understand.

It’s time to visualize.

Gone are the days of whiteboard and posters. In the digital age, there are countless tools that make this job much easier and more efficient. But in a sea of technology, which tools do you choose? Here are our picks for data visualization.

Qlik

Qlik

Qlik boasts 45,000 customers worldwide who use its intuitive platform for data visualisation, analytics, reporting and more. Qlik offers a couple different option for data visualisation and analysis: There’s QlikView, one of its original products, and Qlik Sense, a newer offering. Both share a number of core capabilities but serve different customer needs. Qlik offers a simple comparison to help enterprises determine which product is best for them.

Qlik is one of the leading players in the market and is the biggest competitor to Tableau. Qlik uses an intuitive, user-friendly platform to make data analytics more accessible across your company. Regardless of a team member’s data literacy, Qlik should make visualisation a quick and easy process. Qlik has an active community, and there are many third-party resources available online to help upskill user and integrate it in their projects.

Qlik is also easily scalable and isn’t hardware bound. You can work from any device, with no limitations even on mobile versions. That flexibility is a big part of what makes Qlik an appealing choice for business owners and managers today, who tend to work from a variety of devices.

And for even greater flexibility, pricing is determined on an individual basis. Personalized quotes are designed for enterprise use of Qlik services, meaning there’s an option for every budget.

tableau logo

Tableau

Tableau is one of the leaders of the business intelligence and data visualisation industries, and once you try it, you’ll see why. With a simple, clean, intuitive interface and some of the broadest analytics tools available, it’s clear what makes Tableau stand out from the pack. Tableau provides many features to make it quick and easy to dive into data and supports multiple data connection types, and it’s particularly well suited to massive and fast-changing datasets thanks to integrations with Hadoop, Amazon AWS, My SQL, SAP and Teradata.

Like Qlik, Tableau is usable on any size device, from desktop to tablet to mobile, giving you the freedom to access and analyse your data from wherever you are. It also offers scalable cloud-based solutions that make it easy to collaborate with other members of your team and work with your data from anywhere.

Tableau offers comprehensive training resources to make sure all customers are getting the most out of what they pay for the service, including more than 100 training videos, a community for users and more. A free trial will allow you to take Tableau for a test drive before you commit, and then tiered pricing ensures there’s a plan — and price point — customised to include only the necessary features and tools and to fit every business’ needs. Join the ranks of Honeywell, LinkedIn, Lufthansa, Lenovo and more and try Tableau today.

Looker

Looker

Founded in 2011 by the San Francisco Bay area Looker has experienced massive growth and has developed into a leading data platform company. Looker enables organisations to make better business decisions by providing real-time access to data. Looker analytics integrate with any SQL database or data warehouses, such as Amazon Athena, Greenplum, and Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

Looker removes barriers to entry in the data visualisation world and does not require analysts to have SQL knowledge. It removes complicated coding. Users can drill into the data across tables and charts regardless of experience. The platform includes self-service functions such as filtering, pivoting, and the creation of dashboards and visualisations. Similar to Tableau and Qlik, Looker has many features to enable collaboration between workers allowing easy sharing of dashboards and insights via URL or email and can integrate with excel, google docs and numerous third-party products.

Unlike other data platforms on the market, the deployment is faster than most tools available on the market. Instead of waiting weeks or months, Looker customers can have their platform implemented in hours, due to the platform being packaged in a .jar file. Looker also provides comprehensive training on the platform, with a first-rate customer service team guiding end users and training them to explore their data sets. Looker analysts will assist companies in building models on their data.

Fusion Charts

Fusion Charts

FusionCharts began as a project for 17-year-old Pallav Nadhani to make extra pocket money. Demand began to skyrocket for Pallav’s data visualisation tool, and it’s since won multiple awards and has grown into a JavaScript charting library that’s used by over 80% of Fortune 500 companies and has over 500,000 users in 120 countries.

FusionCharts transforms bland data into delightful visualisations in your business dashboards. It can produce 90 different chart types and integrates with a large number of platforms and frameworks giving a great deal of flexibility. A standout feature is the user’s ability to pick from a range of live example templates by plugging in their own data sources as needed enabling new users to set up in less than 15 minutes.

PowerBI

Power BI

Power BI is a business intelligence tool released by Microsoft in 2015. Power BI can help your company turn data to insight in minutes. It does a great job of combining powerful user analytics and data visualisation capabilities with a highly intuitive UI making the learning curve remarkably short.

Power BI provides numerous integration with a suite of third-party of tools ranging from MailChimp, Salesforce and Redshift meaning you can run power queries aimed at multiple apps. Users can share their dashboards company-wide to consume on the web or mobile devices.

Customers have a choice between a limited free version or the professional version which is $9.99 per user per month. The free service offers 1(GB) of storage along with daily refresh cycles. The professional version offers 10(GB), faster data refresh cycles (hourly) and impressive collaboration features. It’s a strong competitor to Tableau and is one of the best BI tools on the market.

Analysis

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Chattermill

What if you had a technology tool that could just handle your data analysis on its own?

Think of all the time you could save. Think of all the money you could save. Think of what you could do, what you could create, with all that freed up time and money.

Meet Chattermill.

Chattermill applies artificial neural networks to customer feedback that learn from your data and help you make more customer centric decisions. Better yet, it’s fully automated, so it does this with little time or effort from you.

You just get to reap the rewards: Clearly processed customer feedback that will show you a clear path toward decisions that address your customers’ needs and concerns. Fast.

If you want to design a customer experience program that will instill loyalty in your customers, you need Chattermill. Chattermill is all about your customers. It will analyze your data to tell you what aspects of your product and service need immediate attention and why. It will help you put your customers first, supercharging your growth, boosting recommendations and reducing churn. And Chattermill is accessible across departments and teams in your business, because giving everyone access to the customer feedback they need to see is the best way to ensure they make sure the customer stays at the heart of all their decision making.

Customers like Hello Fresh, Deliveroo and TransferWise already use and love Chattermill, because it helps them create the CX they need to boost their NPS numbers and customer loyalty. Book your Chattermill demo today to see how the most powerful data analysis tool on the market today can take your CX to new heights.

Consulting

You have all the tools. You have all the data. It’s time to build a CX program that will delight your customers, turning them all into promoters.

But do you have the know-how to do it?

If not, there are tools to help with that, too. If you need some consulting to help you get your CX program just right, there’s a technology tool for you.

KPMG Nunwood

KPMG Nunwood

Nunwood wants to rewrite the book on what it means to provide an excellent CX. Then, that new definition of CX can be applied to your business’ problems and used to create customer-focused changes that deliver better outcomes. With the support of KPMG’s Customer & Digital team, Nunwood is able to ground all of its consulting in customer insights, then use a competition of cloud technology and experience design to make you as competitive as possible. And trust us, when your CX stands out from the crowd, your business will grow.

Nunwood offers services in customer insight and planning, and customer experience design and consulting, making it a one-stop shop for anyone who needs an expert to help design a winning CX program. KPMG Nunwood is committed to creating the best of the best in CX, which means happier customers and a higher business value for you.

And for those that just need a little guidance, KPMG Nunwood’s CX Excellence Centre provides educational and training resources for all CX professionals with an online membership. No matter which route you take, KPMG Nunwood is committed to helping you achieve CX excellence and then turn that into real, measurable business results.

Freeman Consulting

Freeman

Freeman, formerly Comotion, provides consulting services for just about every need your business can have, among them, customer experience. Freeman will completely personalize the experience of using your business and provide provable ROI. By creating one-of-a-kind CX, Freeman promises to use years of experience in the industry to make your business feel uniquely personal to your customers. And in the age of competitive CX, that’s what customers are looking for.

Freeman offers a full CX toolkit, consulting your business in creative, digital, logistics and event technology spaces. As the company puts it online, they are your “brand experience architects, designers, and builders,” offering full service consulting from CX program design to implementation.

Like Nunwood, Freeman also offers some free resources online, but a consulting package is the best way to take advantage of their experience and resources in designing winning CX.

With clients like Google, LG, Siemens, Cisco, Toshiba and Microsoft, you know the biggest enterprises in the world put their trust in Freeman, so why shouldn’t you? If you need a hand with getting your CX where you want it to be, request a consultation with Freeman today to find out more about how you can take your CX to the next level.


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    Sam Frampton

    Growth Marketing at Chattermill - A.I for better customer experience