by Granville Triumph
The phrase “360-degree view of the customer” has become a popular buzzword in customer relationship management during the past few years. A 360-degree view includes views of the customer’s past, present and future, all of which help to optimize the customer experience and grow revenue.
The past view includes all aspects of the customer’s history, from product purchases and reviews to customer service interactions. The present view includes information about customer attributes and how the customer relates to the organization. The future view offers guidance for preserving and nurturing the customer relationship.
To create a 360-degree view, specialized software collects data from disparate systems and brings it together in a unified database, providing a single view of the customer that’s accurate and up to date. This database will include information such as products and services owned, payment histories, and support channels accessed. Previously, this was a time-consuming, error-prone, manual process that involved reconciling inconsistent customer data on a spreadsheet. Thanks to modern technology, organizations can refocus their efforts on strategies for finding and retaining customers.
There are four key business advantages to having a 360-degree view of the customer:
- Improved Customer Satisfaction. Today’s consumers have high expectations for service and support. By better understanding the needs of the customer, organizations can respond more quickly with relevant information and provide better service in order to meet high customer demands.
- Improved Customer Retention. Because customers receive better, faster service and have a clear understanding of whom to contact for specific needs, organizations with a 360-degree view have lower customer churn.
- Improved Profitability. Improved customer satisfaction and retention, along with improved employee productivity, performance and engagement, lead to greater revenues.
- Improved Lifetime Value of the Customer. A 360-degree view helps you identify upsell or cross-sell opportunities and develop more targeted messages. This can lead to higher average purchases from existing customers as well as higher prospect conversion rates.
As powerful as the insights created by a 360-degree customer view can be, organizations need to be careful when collecting, interpreting and using data. What data are you collecting and why? Are you collecting so much data that it becomes too complicated to manage? Are you making inaccurate assumptions about your customers instead of truly understanding what is important to them? How are you prioritizing customer data? Are you using this data to overload customers and prospects with sales pitches that actually detract from the customer experience?
As customer relationships grow in complexity and customer expectations continue to rise, having a 360-degree view becomes increasingly critical to supporting the customer lifecycle. By developing a strategic plan, understanding what data to collect and choosing the right technology, organizations can create competitive advantages, improve the customer experience and boost their bottom line.