How to: 7 steps to building the ultimate CX dashboard

We talk to customer experience experts to find out the best practices to achieve great CX dashboard architecture


Putting customer experience insights into the hands of your marketing team can add significant value to the marketing mix. But without the right foresight, these reporting platforms can easily end up an ineffective, confused or unhelpful mess.

We speak to marketing experts and CX thought leaders to find out what makes the ultimate CX dashboard and what to avoid at all costs.

1. Start with a blueprint and know your audience

In order to make the CX dashboard your ultimate blueprint, begin with the end in mind and design backwards, InMoment senior director of CX strategy, Andrew Park, tells CMO.

“Think about what you need to accomplish and what business outcomes you are trying to influence,” he says. “Then consider what are the key ingredients and elements of that outcome and associated metrics and data.

“You then need to make it relevant and actionable, designing the right kind of dashboard for the right purpose, for the right audience or persona, with the right information that ties closely to business outcomes.”

In order to make the dashboard actionable, Park suggests taking time to truly understand what the audience needs to accomplish and ‘purpose build’ the dashboard accordingly.  

“For CMOs, this means understanding brand sentiment and being alerted to brand trends and opportunities,” he says. “Meanwhile, location managers need coaching opportunities, drivers that impact the individual customer experience and prescriptive recommendations on what to work on plus diagnose what is broken and how to fix it.”  

RXP national practice manager, Stephen Wayne, suggests profiling your audience early via a series of workshops.  

“The output of the workshops should be a collection of user personas with a mapping to the data they are interested in, the grain of that data and latency of the data,” he explains. “For example, an executive persona may only be interested in year-to-date figures, whereas a product manager may require daily sales figures. “Also, ensure feedback channels are in place with the stakeholders while building the dashboards to allow incremental improvement throughout the lifecycle of the dashboard.”  

2. Make the dashboard relevant to your customer journey

Experts agree there’s no ‘one-size fits all solution’ when it comes to building a dashboard as different audiences and personas will be interested in different things.

“Each dashboard should be specific enough so the end user gets the right information that allows them to effectively do their job,” Park says. “Designing for journeys also allows the content to be relevant to journey owners.”

Lavender head of technology, Clint Bauer, says it is extremely important to tailor your dashboard to different types of audiences.

“Use the available technologies to your advantage and relate different views, with different level of details for different audiences,” he recommends. “Whether it is marketing managers, customer strategists, sales people or the CMO, they all look for different measures and metrics. Involve your audience as early as possible in the process, even at the wire-framing stage.”

Customer-centric marketers also need to ensure the CX dashboard measures and reports the quality of customers’ experience with brand, Bauer says.

“Make sure the metrics cover every stage of your customer journey,” he adds. “These measures should be a close manifestation of what your customer is experiencing and how their collective experiences could potentially impact the perception your brand. It’s only then that you can have a unified goal – or set of goals – that result in improved (and often unobserved) customer happiness.”

When it comes to integrating the dashboard better with the customer journey, The Core Agency CX director, Rob Kain, says having relevant consumer sentiment and metrics by segment allows you to drive different strategies.

“Each stage of the customer journey has usually been mapped out and this data will help drive future campaigns, promotions or even channel decisions,” he says.

3. Show the link to business outcomes  

It is also important the CX dashboard is aligned with the overall business strategy and linked closely with business outcomes.

“In retail, it’s a common theme that ‘what gets measured gets done’. However, it needs to be information that drives the business forward and offers real insight allowing the business to make informed decisions,” Kain says. “There’s a big difference from ‘reporting’ to ‘insight’.

“In agile retail organisations, this business insight can turn a campaign on its head and overtime inform the long-term strategy.”

Read more: Why so many organisations keep getting NPS wrong

Read more: Using AI to enable a more human understanding of voice of customer data

Once you’ve consulted with business stakeholders and the dashboard is aligned with the strategy and customer journeys, you then need to make sure business representatives are used in testing the platform.

“Feedback and consultation at this stage is so important for the platform success and the confidence the business has in it,” Kain says. “Also vital to any new reporting system is the training that supports it.  I’ve been lucky enough to work with teams who have advocated the CX dashboard and provided comprehensive training support.

“If you are in an organisation with a small HR team, you need to prepare several training sessions – usually over lunch – where you walk the business users through the dashboard and allow them time to road test it.”

4. Keep a close eye on performance management and data

According to Wayne, one of the key things to avoid is publishing poor quality data. Ensuring the dashboard includes sufficient annotation and labelling about the metrics displayed, the data source and when the data was last refreshed, is another vital ingredient. “You need to ensure the data being exposed is of good, measurable quality and can stand up under scrutiny,” he says. “Nothing turns people off dashboards more than someone pointing at it and saying, ‘That number’s not right’.”

At the same time, be wary of using data tables, as traditional reporting techniques often include data stored in tables within a dashboard so the end user can see the lowest level of detail available.

“Often, if investigation into a data anomaly is required, the raw data is then copied out into Excel for further analysis,” Wayne continues. “This approach creates a copy of the data and additional work to analyse it outside the dashboard environment.

“Wherever possible, embed all supporting data through the rich data visualisation experience, or link to another dashboard with the additional detail. This is a much more efficient and immersive approach that does not create duplicate copies of data and allows the user to retain key filters.”

Park points out it can be difficult to tie data together if it resides in siloed data sets and if groups are unwilling to share. Ensuring you have access to the right data that allows you to show how customer experience metrics impact the business outcomes is a key part of the process.  

For instance, with a multi-unit hospitality brand, InMoment built a predictive sales dashboard to meet revenue targets, but it also predicts which locations are likely to miss their sales target each month, with recommendations on how to correct the issue.

“Predictive analysis is the key to being able to do this in a pre-emptive way,” Park says. “Marketers can't just rely on looking at historical trends. Predictive tactics allow you to be proactive and impact the business.”

When it comes to performance management, Wayne advises constantly monitoring the performance of dashboards and fully understanding what is contributing to the response times.

“Dashboards should respond to end user interactions within a few seconds when published,” he says. “If you dashboard tool has a server component, leverage this to increase performance and user experience. Dashboard tools usually have a Performance Recorder tool which provides timings for every task executed.”

Up next: 3 more ways to build the ultimate customer experience dashboard

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