Hidden Data: What It Is and How to Overcome It

reviewing charts and graphs to find hidden data


In 2017, every brand is (or definitely should be) using tools to monitor and gather customer data.

Most brands use social media monitoring tools to track what their audience is saying about them in the event some type of crisis situation occurs. Brands usually have a Consumer Relations team at the ready in case an issue nears crisis-level.

But what about the insights and customer feedback that aren’t necessarily a crisis situation? According to Forrester, 74% of customer experience professionals in the US and Europe said they are able to generate new product ideas from customer feedback. Customer Service and Consumer Relations teams that have access to this information can deliver more value to the company overall — and offer key data to the Product, Research and Development, and Marketing teams. So why isn’t this common practice?

What is hidden data?

Also known as siloed data, hidden data is a common internal challenge many companies face, according to a study by Skylight Intelligence. And it often happens without companies even knowing it! It occurs when Team 1 has access to customer data that could be beneficial for Team 2, but Team 1 doesn’t know their insights could be relevant to Team 2’s work.

For example, say that a restaurant chain’s Guest Relations team resolves a customer’s issue with a special offer. The data about the customer’s feedback is stored in the CRM system, but never looked at again. However, that same data could have been greatly beneficial for the Product team. If restaurant patrons were calling in with complaints about a certain menu item, the team could use that data to adjust the menu. Perhaps more nutritional information was needed for clearer communication with the customers. Hidden data often obscures opportunities for improvement.

Why hidden data can cost you big

Customer data that is hidden within silos means that your company isn’t taking full advantage of the insights your customers are providing you. This means missed opportunities to improve products, services, and processes company-wide.

But hidden data is just the tip of the iceberg. Voice of customer insights should drive business decisions, and without uncovering all of those insights, you risk making decisions without all the information. A study by Experian found that 91% of companies suffer from common data errors, including incomplete or missing data, wasting an average of 12% of revenue.

Understanding your customers’ sentiments, behaviors, and perceptions gives you the power to find a deeper meaning behind your data and make stronger decisions. A comprehensive view of the customer is a critical and powerful addition to your decision-making process.

How to fix the hidden data problem

Now that you know this problem exists, how do you correct it? Here are three steps to take to get the most out of your customer data:

1. Have an established centralized location for data storage

The average large organization has eight different databases that are used for data storage. That explains the fact that 66% of companies do not have a coherent, centralized approach to data quality. Deploying a standard tool for data collection and a centralized location for that data is the first step towards eliminating any hidden or siloed data.

2. Integrate across communication channels

Contact center agents communicate with customers on multiple channels — often in real time — to deliver personalized interactions. An integrated software gathers and stores the data from every communication channel you are using to serve your customers. The data from phone, email, chat, and social media flow into your integrated system to form a complete view of the customer. Top-performing companies are 30% more likely than others to focus on building a unified, 360-degree view of customer data across all enterprise systems.

3. Identify gaps in your customer understanding

You’re undoubtedly familiar with the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” By utilizing centralized and integrated storage practices, it will make identifying gaps in your data much easier. Finding areas where you’re lacking data will help focus future data capture efforts and uncover insights you may be missing out on.

How Astute Can Help

Astute’s ePowerCenterTM CRM software shows a unified customer view and provides everything agents need to improve loyalty in a single, integrated interface. The system enables you to easily track trends and dive deeper into consumer behavior and attitudes with comprehensive reports and analytics tools.

The built-in command center within Astute SocialTM helps to understand cross-platform engagement, influencers, demographics, location, and sentiment in real time, requiring little to no additional resources. You can quickly assess situations and track results from the command center dashboard.

For more information on how Astute Solutions can help you uncover hidden data and form better voice-of-the-customer understanding, contact us for a demo.

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