The Truth (About Your Customers) Is Out There

By: Lisa Sigler

January 22, 2016

CEM Programs
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customer experience management
Customer Feedback
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Voice of the Customer

When it comes to investigating your customer feedback, are you a Mulder or a Scully? (Hint: the best answer is “both.”)

After a thirteen-year hiatus, The X-Files returns to television this weekend with a six-episode miniseries. A huge part of the alien-conspiracy/supernatural mystery show’s success has always been the chemistry between the two main characters: FBI Agent Dana Scully and her partner Agent Fox Mulder.

Mulder and Scully make a perfect team because of their different approaches to investigating strange phenomena.  A good customer experience management practice should emulate their example when analyzing customer feedback.

Agent Scully is a scientist and skeptic when it comes to the existence of aliens, monsters, and other unexplained occurrences. A doctor by training, Scully wants the hard facts. In customer experience terms, she prefers analyzing structured data.

Structured data includes revenue numbers, churn rates, customer demographic details, sales figures, and even the number of social media mentions your brand gets. You can learn a lot by analyzing your structured data to learn what is going on with your business (or what is causing the so-called “alien abductions” in the neighborhood).

Agent Mulder, on the other hand, is a true believer. He believes in aliens and ghosts and government conspiracies. He trusts anecdotes, eye-witness accounts, and gut feelings. That kind of information definitely falls into the unstructured data category.

For CX practitioners, unstructured data generally means “information that doesn’t fit into a spreadsheet.” It includes emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, call center transcripts, online product reviews, and more. It’s less about facts and more about feelings—unstructured data reveals why your numbers are changing or your customers are churning.

In the TV show, Mulder and Scully work together to solve the “X files” (the code name for cases involving the unexplained). Mulder is open to all explanations, including the supernatural, while Scully looks for hard evidence. They complement each other by embracing a full view of the evidence, and together are able to solve almost every mystery they encounter.

In the same way, by combining structured and unstructured data analysis, your customer experience team will have all of the evidence they need to get to the truth about your customers—what they like about you and why.

Want the truth about your customer experience? Check out the CX Files to learn more.


Lisa Sigler is Sr. Manager of Content Marketing at Clarabridge. For over 16 years, Lisa has used her writing and editorial skills to bring the value and benefits of technology to life. In her current role, she works to demonstrate Clarabridge’s position as thought leader and trailblazer in the Customer Experience Management market. Lisa holds a B.A. of English from Kent State University. Read more from Lisa on Twitter @siglerLis.