motor racers
The race is on to comprehensive customer understanding. PHOTO: Pok Rie

Across both business and consumer markets, the race is on to comprehensive customer understanding.

Today companies use every means available to them to capture, process and analyze data on customer environments and behavior with the ultimate goal of driving new revenue and reducing costs.

According to Gartner, “Business demand is still growing for the 360-degree view of the customer, driven in large part by desire to improve the customer experience.”

Understanding the 360-Degree View

Gartner continues, “The 360-degree view of the customer is important in customer experience initiatives to ensure that a customer is recognized as they interact with different departments and functions, and that the conversation continues from where it left off. 

"As interactions progress through sales, customer service, logistics and the other functions required to support the full customer journey, the customer feels confident that they are ‘known’ by the organization.” 

A customer 360 view generally involves a look at multiple channels of interaction between the business and the customer. 

This includes, but is not limited to the following:

Customer
Relationship
Management
 
Support and
Services
 
 Orders and
Billing
Social Media
 
Customer
Communications
 
Demographic
Information
 CUSTOMER 360  Partner Data
Corporate
Database
3rd Party Data
Sources
Enterprise
Resource
Planning
Supply Chain
Management
 Other business
systems

Looking at the Whole Picture

In the business to business sector, companies transact big deals based on long relationships. The ones that are able to harness a full customer picture thrive.

Consider renewals on large service contracts. Imagine that the customer has filed a severity one support ticket within the last month. If it was successfully resolved quickly, and they are up for a service contract renewal, they have a higher likelihood of renewing than a customer who has not filed a support ticket all year.

In the consumer world, online advertising remains a driving force behind purchase influence. Companies that can tap into the details of customer behavior stand to benefit in their relationship with advertising partners.

Consider a large video or music network. While much of their advertising might be resold through advertising exchanges, they also have an ability to sell advertising directly.

A direct relationship with advertising partners allows the publisher to deliver more detailed analytics on viewer listening or watching behavior. This extra level of detail, and consumer segmentation, makes advertising space more valuable than if sold more generically through an exchange.

3 Important Points About Customer 360 Initiatives

Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing a Customer 360 initiative.

1. Tie Customer 360 initiatives to concrete projects with measurable objectives

Identifying critical business enhancements ensures a fast path to increased revenue or reduced costs. For example, with a goal of increasing service contract renewal rates, you can measure the impact of tying customer service systems to sales systems to draw correlations. Similarly in the internet advertising world, tying initiatives to engagement metrics will showcase the value of a holistic customer picture.

2. Make sure you have access to the right data

Data for customer 360 initiatives can come from a range of sources including existing databases and data warehouses, and new sources like logs from web and mobile applications. A comprehensive approach will include access to these data sources, and the ability to aggregate and cross-reference between them.

Fresh data is also critical for an effective initiative. Since customers are operating and interacting with businesses in real-time, the business itself must have visibility to every customer event as well. Businesses that can analyze both real-time and historical data will be in the best position to deliver actionable results.

3. Build an easy to access analytics layer

The culmination of a customer 360 approach is to deliver easy analytics. This can be facilitated by choosing time tested data querying languages like SQL, integrating with popular business intelligence tools like Tableau, Zoomdata and Looker, and providing opportunities for custom applications.