Troy McNall

How Important is a Single Customer View?

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Each time customers interact with your company on the phone, website or mobile application, they create a history of interaction on that channel. Usually, those histories remain unconnected, which means contact center agents can’t see what a caller has been viewing on the website and marketing doesn’t know which people prefer texts over email.

But a single customer view (SCV) meshes these separate threads into one story and makes it available across the company. As a result, each channel can tailor service based on a global understanding of consumers’ past actions, present requests and probable future needs.

A comprehensive SCV makes sense intuitively, but for most companies, it’s an elusive goal with a high price tag. Is it really worth it? And if so, how can you get started without straining the budget?

How SCV Benefits Your Business

Companies that use SCV insights to personalize interactions have seen improved customer retention, lower costs and higher revenues. Those that keep information segregated may see customer values fall as costs increase.

Retain more customers.

These days, customers know you’re collecting data on them at every point, so when they reach out, they expect you to know when they paid their last bill, what they recently purchased and whether their problem has been solved. Without a SCV, it’s very hard to have that history at hand. And if people have to repeat information that’s already been shared, satisfaction and loyalty plummet.

Plus, with a holistic view of how customers move from interest to purchase to billing to service, you can find bottlenecks and frustration points that may be driving them away and costing you money.

Grow faster.

SCV-driven marketing and service pays off. BCG research found that companies who integrate their data and offer personalized experiences over all their channels are seeing revenues increase by 6 to 10 percent, up to three times faster than those that do not.

And in an Infosys study of 1000 consumers, 86 percent of respondents said that personalization played a part in their buying decisions.

Reduce costs.

Multiple data systems cost more to maintain than a single SCV. Business processes that span departments require extra steps to update repositories and invite errors. And it’s hard to fix wasteful inefficiencies without an end-to-end picture.

Wells Fargo’s Treasury Management Client Delivery business rolled out a holistic customer view to support case management and customer contacts. They combined data from 17 sources across 39 lines of business and realized significant savings. Case creation process time dropped by 30 percent and overall processing time by 5-10 percent. They cut the number of steps per case in half and reduced answer time by 26 percent.

How to Succeed With SCV

Developing a company-wide SCV requires cross-departmental cooperation, strong high-level leadership and, occasionally, cultural change. Few businesses manage it. According to research by LiveRamp, less than 20 percent of marketers are currently able to build a customer snapshot across digital and offline channels.

Instead of taking on the risk of a sprawling SCV project that comprehends all data, position your team for success with a limited, targeted phase one. Then build a more thorough SCV over time.

Start small and focused.

Start by selecting one key business goal, such as cutting costs, increasing customer lifetime value or improving customer experience measures. If possible, develop use cases that describe how the SCV will help you reach that target.

Select data carefully.

Then, look across all channels and identify the most useful information. Consider any available sources, such as:

  • Customer identity and demographics
  • Browsing activities
  • Preferences
  • Sentiments
  • Customer support team interactions
  • Sales interactions
  • Event attendance
  • Social engagements
  • Transactions
  • Billing data
  • Social media activity
  • Geofence data

Once you’ve reviewed all the information, carefully select the specific categories to include in the SCV based on the business case. For example, if you want to lower service call length by finding process efficiencies, don’t waste time integrating social media interactions that probably won’t help.

Add an intuitive interface.

To aggregate the selected data and layer a user interface on top, you can enlist SCV applications that pull key information from customer channels and offer actionable dashboards and reports. SCV applications also include analytics that pinpoint frustrating or inefficient moments in the customer journey.

Lay the foundation for growth.

As you build the first stage of the SCV, set up repeatable business processes for extracting data from each channel, standardizing it into a common format, associating everything with unique customer identifiers and scrubbing out inconsistencies. These processes will make it easy to build on initial success.

A small, focused SCV can bring real value to your company and open the way for expansion. Just as consumers, products, employees and the technology binding them together continually evolve, your SCV will become a dynamic picture of the people you serve and help you build a lasting, valuable connection with them.

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