In today’s digital age organisations have more information about us than ever before. They are also continually looking for new ways of gathering more data about us, to better understand our needs and preferences.
However, given the many ways in which customers now interact with us and the many company departments and systems involved in collecting this information from different touchpoints, data can often become fragmented and siloed. This makes it difficult for organisations to get the 360-degree view they need to deliver more of what customers want.
The solution is a system allowing them to place different pieces of customer information into a coherent, up-to-date, centralised location. This is where the benefit of having a single customer view really comes to the fore.
What is a Single Customer View?
A single customer view, also known as a 360-degree view, is all about gathering and merging prospect and client data into a single record.
Consolidating all the information about your customers into one centralised location, gives you a powerful overview of all their actions. This can include information from sources such as your website, in-store sales transactions, marketing tools, social media channels, customer service interactions and any other channels you might have.
To create a single customer view, you need to capture real-time information across all your channels and internal systems. Once gathered, you need to be able to clean, synthesize, and store this data in a central location. It’s then instantly accessible by every team and tool.
Single Customer View benefits
With a single customer view at the heart of your business, your departments gain valuable information to improve their performance. This can help anything from better executive decision making, to more profitable marketing campaigns and faster customer support issue resolution. Some of the more specific benefits of having a single customer view include:
Execute truly personalised marketing across channels
Unless your data is relevant and up to date, it’s very difficult to deliver a personalised marketing message. It could also result in you delivering recommendations and offers that can confuse or annoy customers. For example issuing a discount coupon for a product someone purchased the day before at full price.
In contrast, with access to real-time data you’ll always take the right marketing actions at each stage of your customer’s journey. And when customers feel you really know and understand them, they are more likely to be loyal too.
Save time and improve decision making
With a single unified customer view, you’re no longer wasting time trying to chase down and verify information. It’s much easier, as everyone in your organisation knows where to find and store information.
It can also improve your decision-making. Let’s say a manager in a meeting needs information on a customer to make an immediate decision. That process is now much quicker, as they know where to find information and trust that it’s reliable and up to date.
Eliminate siloed or duplicate data
When your departments are working in isolation and adding new channels and software to store information without properly integrating them first, siloed and duplicated data can easily result.
While this way of working makes team sharing challenging, duplicated data can cause even more problems leading to more mistakes. For instance, you could end up presenting customers with conflicting offers that they may not forgive you for.
In contrast, when data’s held in a single unified system, everyone can see every action and piece of information. This makes repeated or conflicting actions less likely to happen.
Transform your customer service delivery
With a single customer view, support agents have all the information they need to quickly and proactively address customer needs. This is due to not only having the most up to date information, but being able to view all the previous interactions and actions taken with that customer since they first came onboard.
Let’s take the example of live support chat between a customer support agent and their customer through a website. In this scenario a unified customer view highlights products a customer has previously viewed, as well as their difficulties with filling out a contact form. Armed with this information an agent could immediately send them promotional product offers and more support for the contact form.
How SCV supports CX
Having examined how a single customer view can improve the performance of your departments, it’s interesting to see the beneficial impact it can have on your Customer Experience (CX).
However, considering that CX is all about trying to better understand and improve your customers’ experience across all the touchpoints they’ve ever had with you, it’s not hard to see how beneficial a single customer view can be to supporting this process.
A key reason for this is it’s ability to enable staff to view historical information. This can include any transactions, interactions and communications that each customer has had with their company. This allows an organisation to better tailor their approach to each customer.
Given that CX strategy is also concerned with maintaining a quality experience throughout the whole customer journey, the multi-channel approach of the single customer view is also supportive of this process. This is because each customer is likely to have used numerous communication channels over the course of their interactions with a company from instore, phone and SMS, to online including any mix of web, email, chatbot and apps.
Data integration is also at the heart of building an effective single customer view. It’s critical to ensuring key business functions from sales and marketing to customer service and support work seamlessly and effectively.
Data sources used for Single Customer View
When it comes to sources of data to help build a single customer view, they are numerous and widespread. They also encompass systems and tools beyond marketing. With those used by your sales, service, support and product teams crucial too. The sorts of user data we’re referring to here includes:
Web, mobile and behavioural data
This could include data on the products and categories browsed by each user. It could also detail any products they’ve added to a basket, or abandoned. In addition, you could also include clicks, scrolls, hovers, time spent on the page and more, through data gathered through various analytics tools.
CRM and offline data sources
Types of information here could include postal, telephone, email address, social network information, as well as permission and suppression data.
Here we would focus on data such as the number of products purchased (both online and offline), order/subscription values, order/renewal dates, product abandonments (abandoned baskets), product returns, and more.
Survey data and Single Customer View
Data provided by the key business functions within your organisation, can provide a wealth of information. Helping you to build a valuable single customer profile view. However, to gain an even more detailed picture and maximise your understanding of each customer, you need to be asking them more specific questions. And an effective way to do this is through a customer survey. These surveys can be triggered at various touchpoints of a customers’ journey:
Maximising SCV with a 360-degree approach
A solution that allows you to put all your customer information into one coherent, up-to-date, centralised location is extremely powerful. It enables sales, marketing, customer service and support teams, to tailor the best approach for customers and your business.
However, to maximise the value of single customer view, you need to be taking a 360-degree approach to data collection too. So, besides collecting digital information, CRM and offline data and information from your transactional systems, you need to be including survey data too. And this needs to be regularly collected at key touchpoints of your customers journey with you, if you’re to fully understand all their wants and needs.