If you’ve landed here, chances are you already know you want a 360-customer view for all the customer data in your organization.
Cutting right to the chance, this blog post will help you:
- Identify Types of 360 Customer Views
- Challenges with Obtaining Consolidated Customer Views
- Solutions and Best Practices for Getting This View
- Benefits of 360 Customer View
Let’s get started!
Understanding 360 Customer View and The Types Of Information You Need
Simply put, a 360-customer view is a consolidated collection of your customer’s information gathered from multiple sources to give you an overall picture of your customer’s interactions with your organization at different phases of their journey.
For example, signing up for an offer advertised on your social media platform followed later by a chat with your customer service department. All these interactions with different people and departments of your organization need to be captured to understand your customer’s journey which will later be instrumental in the predictive analysis (knowing what your customers may want in the future) and personalizing the customer experience.
A 360-customer view provides several critical information that is essential when you want to create business growth, marketing or sales strategies. These are:
- Customer Submitted Data: While common attributes such as name, phone number, addresses are important, they are not enough to give you an accurate view of your audience. Additional customer info that may be gathered through CRMs may include customers’ birthdates, their gender, their family orientation (married/single, with/without kids etc) is important information you would need to truly understand your customers.
- Transactional Data: Important records such as purchasing history, bug tickets, subscription data are instrumental in helping you understand problems customers may be facing, their preferences for your content, their spending habits and much more.
- Behavioral Data: Your marketing department may be relying heavily on behavioral data such as button clicks, page views, downloads, and many other interactive activities to determine what the customer really wants.
- Derived Information: In an age where most interactions are driven by web or mobile activities, they leave metadata that may be useful in helping you get an accurate view of your customers. Data includes web cookies, device IDs, customer activities, ID addresses and so on.
Depending on your organization’s size, industry and goals, there may be other types of data that is stored away in different data sources. Most of the time, you may not even realize this data exists until data is indexed and made usable in real-time.
Challenges with Obtaining 360 Customer Views
If getting a 360-customer view is so important, why aren’t most companies doing it already? Well, mostly because the term is quite catchy and sounds doable until you actually start implementing it.
A commonly cited statistic by Gartner in a research survey revealed that less than 10% of companies have a 360-degree view of their customers and only 5% are able to truly use this view to grow their business.
Clearly, this indicates that as much as companies are aware of 360-customer views, few can tackle ground realities and challenges that exist.
In our experience with over 4,500+ clients, we have seen businesses of all sizes attempting to achieve 360-customer view, but failing because they were unable to solve critical issues as:
- Data Quality Control & Quality Assurance: When it comes to data quality, very few organizations are aware of the problems plaguing their data. Even if they do, they don’t take it as a problem until a critical migration or a reporting initiative fails. Data quality is quite literally the driving force of the validity of your database. It is the foundation on which you will be building your empire for the future – which means you need to optimize, standardize and prioritize data quality above everything else when you plan to initiate a 360-customer view project.
- Poor Data Collection Processes or Systems: The first step to data quality is to ensure that data input or data collection is optimized to prevent basic errors. While there is no 100% foolproof way to achieve this, there are a number of things you can do to make the process better. These could be:
- Implementing data governance on all data input sources. For example, your web-forms must have fields that enforce a user to provide country code + city codes when giving a phone number; or a field that enforces a user to write their ZIP code when entering addresses. Quality control at the consumer-facing end will help you significantly later on. Similarly, if you someone performing manual data entry, they must follow set standards – such as entering full names instead of abbreviations or writing all names in Caps Lock.
- Implementing a real-time data cleansing solution before data is ingested into your database. Using the tool as a gatekeeper, you can prevent duplicates, invalid and incomplete data from affecting your database.
- Just like you have a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule for your home or your office, so should you have a cleaning schedule for your database. Being responsible with your data will ensure that you have the right data when needed to derive key results.
- Data Stored in Disparate Data Sources: Chances are your departments each have their own data sources and collection tools. This is a critical bottleneck in achieving a 360-custom view. If marketing, sales, and customer service do not have a centralized CRM where data is collected, then it’s a mammoth challenge to get a consolidated view of your customers. This remains one of the key problems that companies are finding hard to tackle. It will require significant investment in unifying data sources, using a tool that works for all departments involved and ensuring key personnel can access the data as needed.
- Buy-in From Key People in the Company: As much as a 360-customer view is a technology problem, it is also a people problem. You will need the executives of your organization, the managers and the people from different departments to agree to consolidate data and using a software solution that is able to provide every department with the types of information collection (given above) they need.
Proposed Solutions and Best Practices
It’s important to mention here that getting a 360-customer view is not something that will happen within a month or two. It will take consistent effort, a gradual process and of course with a plan in place.
With our experience, we recommend taking the following steps if you intend to create a 360-customer view.
- Fix Your Data Quality: Whether it’s a grand scheme as cloud migration, a CRM migration, a digital transformation initiative or an ad-hoc requirement for getting consolidated customer reports, you must have clean, accessible, reliable, valid data. And no, you cannot think of data quality as applying basic filters to your database or getting your IT resources to manually sort data. When we talk about quality, you need a powerful solution that can help you clean data of any size or complexity. Fixing your data quality with an automated solution is the first step to reducing many a pain you may incur on your transformation journey. By fixing data quality we mean:
- Removing duplicate information of your customers
- Ensuring that typos, misspelled names etc are tackled
- Invalid addresses or contact information is sorted
- Data meets the data quality standard framework
- Merge Data from Different Sources: You cannot get consolidated views unless you don’t match and merge data from disparate sources. Data Ladder has worked with clients like HP, Deloitte, and even US government departments to help them match and merge data. When merging data, you will be able to identify the issues affecting your data quality and be able to implement data governance more strongly. There is really no point for marketing or sales or customer service to work on different tools when they are essentially dealing with the same customer.
- Identify the Kind of Information You Want: Of course, staying with the ethical boundaries of data collection, you must decide on the kind of information you want to collect to give you a more accurate view of your customers. For example, if you’re an insurance company, a customer’s family status may be of more importance than their educational background. You could personalize the experience in multiple ways if you had the right information to make key decisions.
- Find Out What Your Customers are WILLING to Share: This is where you will need to practice integrity with sensitive data. While consumers expect personalized messages and experiences with digital connectivity, they want to do it with consent. No one wants you to track their social media unless it’s something they agree to. Run a survey. Ask what your customers want and devise a way to incorporate that into your data collection routine.
- Get Your People On Board: As said above, a 360-customer view is more than just a technology process – it’s a people process. You will have to bring in key players of your sales, marketing and customer service team to work closely and create an ideal customer profile from the data sources obtained. Remember, getting this view is an inter-departmental effort. It won’t work if your departments are siloed away. It won’t work if you simply hand over the case to IT and ask them to match, merge and purge or pull a report.
While getting a 360-customer view is pretty much a necessity these days, it requires an overhaul in processes, needs to have data quality at its forefront and a team effort from various departments to make it happen.
Need help in making this realization an actuality? Talk to us and see how we can help you match, consolidate and create a 360-customer view.