Ever see those cool 360-degree cameras on red carpets at award shows?
Someone famous will stand in the middle and several cameras positioned all around will simultaneously capture pictures of the star, creating a spectacular image that gives you a 360 view of the person.
Now, imagine if you could do that with your target audience? Capture them from all angles as they interact with your brand. With a single customer view, you can.
The issue is, many businesses struggle to know where to start.
At the end of this article, you’ll understand what a single customer view is and how to create one for your brand.
What is a single customer view?
Single customer view (SCV) is a centralized platform where you can have a holistic view of your customers across the entire buyer’s journey. With an SCV, you can identify and track every interaction you have with current and prospective customers, which enables you to develop relevant and targeted strategies.
A single customer view combines data from a consumer’s behavior on web and email, social media activity, demographics, interactions with customer service, and purchase history.
Let’s go through an example of an interaction between a consumer and a brand.
A consumer, let’s call her Jazmyn, discovers a brand on Instagram. Jazmyn visits the brand’s website through Instagram and downloads a free offer. Said brand adds Jazmyn to an email list and she starts receiving nurturing emails.
After months of no interactions, Jazmyn rediscovers the brand and makes a purchase. A month after that, she calls customer service regarding an issue with her product.
In just a few months, Jazmyn has interacted with at least three departments within the company: marketing, sales, and customer service. In many businesses, every department tracks data using its own system.
For instance, sales teams often use customer relationship management (CRM) software to track their interactions with clients and prospects while marketing teams use marketing platforms and automation tools to generate leads.
This creates huge data gaps, making it difficult to understand how a user is behaving over an extended period of time beyond a single vertical. It can also lead to duplicate information, leading to dirty data.
For instance, Jazmyn might receive ads for products she’s already purchased. Or she may get a call from customer service asking about a product she’s already reviewed via email.
Having a single customer view allows organizations to build personalized interactions with consumers, based on their current stage in the customer lifecycle. This creates a better customer experience, stronger brand loyalty, and better retention rates.
When you know where your target audience is, you can make enticing offers based on their current needs. It’s personalization at its best.
Benefits of a Single Customer View
When you invest in a platform with a single customer view, you:
Have cleaner data – With an integrated system, you remove information silos, which often cause data duplication.
Gather better insights – When you have an accurate map of the customer journey, you can better understand how your campaigns are performing and identify areas of improvement.
Assign proper credit to the right channels – Proper attribution is a major issue when it comes to audience tracking. With an SCV, you can identify the best and worst-performing channels for future campaigns.
How to Create a Single Customer View
Align your data owners and your KPIs.
Find the right tech.
Hire data managers.
Sort and integrate all data from your legacy systems.
Set your data governance strategy.
Test your processes.
1. Align your data owners and your KPIs.
The first step in creating an SCV is aligning all your data owners across your organization.
It’s important to align your teams early on key targets and key progress indicators. This keeps everyone on the same page and striving toward the same goal.
So, although everyone will be working on different sections, they’ll all be contributing to the same objective. This is key in keeping everyone in the same mindset and easing the transition to a data-driven approach.
Your data owners will serve as liaisons between IT and your team, enforcing governance standards and supplying IT with the access they need.
During this process, your IT team will be instrumental, as they will need to consolidate data from multiple systems and sources.
2. Find the right tech.
The next step is finding a platform with the capabilities to support your company’s needs.
Key features to consider when searching for a platform include:
You’ll also want to consider the size of your company and the scalability of the software. all-in-one CRM platform like HubSpot, which combines sales, marketing, customer service data to support a holistic customer experience.
3. Hire data managers.
Depending on your company size, you may want to onboard roles dedicated to data, such as data miners, data analysts, and data migration specialists.
The process of migrating data is a costly and time-consuming one that you may not be equipped for. Instead, hire experts with the knowledge and experience to do it right.
They will be essential not only during the initial building phase but also as you grow your customer base.
4. Sort and integrate all data from your legacy systems.
If you’re an established brand with a ton of scattered data, you’ll need to sort through your systems.
Start by conducting an audit of your data quality. From there, clean your data so you can start integrating it with your other systems, including:
Your data warehouse
Your point-of-sale systems
Your marketing automation systems
Your call center systems
5. Set your data governance strategy.
As you’re in the process of cleaning out old data, you’ll need a new system for new, incoming data.
This is where your data governance standards come into play. They serve as operating guidelines for retrieving, storing, and processing data.
You may wonder, what’s the difference between a data management strategy and a data governance strategy? The former refers to the actions you take to fulfill the guidelines outlined in your governance strategy.
To learn about how to develop a governance strategy, click here.
6. Test your processes.
The last step in this process is testing your new centralized system.
To ensure that your new environment works (i.e., that the data linkage is complete), some test data will need to be used to ensure the data is gathered, stored, and reported correctly on your platform.
This will likely be an ongoing process as your business scales and you implement new touchpoints.
The earlier your team can implement a single customer view framework, the better equipped you will be to serve your target audience. While the process can be expensive and time-consuming, it’s a worthwhile investment that will be instrumental in making strategic business decisions.
Originally published Jun 18, 2021 7:00:00 AM, updated June 21 2021