Turning to data to drive businesses’ customer experience (CX) revealed wide-ranging benefits, according to a survey by Forbes Insights and SAS. Their survey of 357 executives at large organizations found enhanced revenue generation, cost reductions, process efficiencies and quality improvements.

The survey, the findings of which are detailed in the report “Data Elevates the Customer Experience: New Ways of Discovering and Applying Customer Insights,” found that data-driven CX helped companies better target and optimize for specific customers, and deliver consistency and context across channels. However, for businesses to realize its benefits, they must align sales, marketing and other stakeholders such as IT, purchasing and production, behind customer experience.

“This report underlines the importance of having people and analytics work smoothly to deliver a superior customer experience,” says Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer and head of the CMO Practice at Forbes Media. “Your data must be accessible, and your organization must be aligned to orchestrate the process.”

Challenges remain in implementing data-driven CX programs, and the survey revealed that only 36 percent of executives say they have attained real-time, highly integrated capabilities across all the customer channels, and that just half of even the most highly data-driven CX organizations consider themselves to be highly integrated. Furthermore, visibility into customer activity is low, with six percent of businesses capable of seeing the entire breadth of their customers’ experiences.

“Winning at customer experience today requires a combination of individualized insights, contextualized interactions, and fluid processes to engage the customer in their channels of choice,” says Wilson Raj, global director of customer intelligence at SAS. “It requires new ways of exploring and exploiting data to create rich dialogues between customers and brands.”

Click here for more information and to download a copy of the report.