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Six Questions you need to Ask Before Adopting a Single Customer View

What is it?

Wikipedia states that a Single Customer View is: “an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data held by an organisation about its customers that can be viewed in one place.

It goes on: “The advantage to an organisation of attaining this unified view comes from the ability it gives to analyse past behaviour in order to better target and personalise future customer interactions. A single customer view is especially relevant where organisations engage with customers through multichannel marketing, since customers expect those interactions to reflect a consistent understanding of their history and preferences

It’s also known as a Customer360, Single Source of Customer Truth or Golden Customer Record.

If you want a easier to digest Fact Sheet – download it here.

Why Should I Care About It?

A Single Customer View is the “Holy Grail” of a Marketing Department, and also promises a treasure-trove of data to support Product Development, Sales, Customer Service, Finance and Operations. By centralising all information related to a customer in one single location, you can ensure there is a consistent “voice” used with that customer, and you can drive up customer satisfaction by ensuring all contact points with your business deliver the same degree of personalisation and excellence. Key benefits:

  1. Increase Revenues
  2. Reduce Costs
  3. Improve Customer Satisfaction

Who Needs It?

Every organisation that serves customers, has customers or wants to improve their customer experience should care about a Single Customer View. However the needs of one organisation can dramatically differ from the needs of another. Finding the right balance of between the effort to centralise and consolidate customer information and the value it unlocks is where the art meets the science. It is worthwhile running an in-depth analysis to ensure any Single Customer View effort is tied closely to underlying improvements in the way your business operates.

  • According to research from Experian, the leader in consumer credit reporting, the vast majority of organisations (97%) are trying to achieve a single view of their customers.
  • The top 3 reasons respondents cited for doing this were: 1.)  to increase customer loyalty, 2.) to increase sales and revenue, and  3.) to improve decision making.

What’s in it for me? Case Studies:

Increase Revenue with a Single Customer View

A large US insurance carrier implemented a Single Customer View aiming to increase their Customer Share of Wallet. With the Single Customer View in place, the Insurance firm’s marketing team were able to segment their audience and could better optimise the product bundling strategies used to drive up wallet share.

  • This resulted in $100m of incremental revenue to the business.

Reduce Costs and Increase Customer Satisfaction With a Single Customer View

A listed American internet retailer were spending over $200k USD on address corrections alone! This came about through inaccurate address information submitted by customers during checkouts. Harmonising customer records and validating addresses was essential.

  •  With a proper Data Management tool, they reduced their logistical and customer care costs by close to $1 million USD and reduced the number of undeliverable orders by 40% greatly improving customer experience
  • As a result, increased their customer service ranking to #2 according to the National Retail Federation.

How Can I Get it?

Define the Goals of your Single Customer View Project

The starting point for a Single Customer View is to work out what your goals for the project will be – which area(s) of your business is most in need of improved customer data? What’s currently causing you to lose customers, or lose revenue and time in chasing customers? Once you have a solid understanding of the existing business pain points you can begin to plan the project. Whilst the ultimate goal is to deliver a comprehensive, Enterprise-wide Customer view, we need to take it in measurable and meaningful steps in order to keep the business funding and support behind us.

Get a Profile of Your Data Today

Once you’ve identified the core business pain points, the next step is to profile the data you have across your existing data sources in order to understand how good or bad it is today. Armed with that information you are ready to set up workshops to discuss the Profiling findings about the current customer data available with the goal of establishing rules on data quality, completeness, timeliness, accuracy, validity, integrity and consistency.

Start Defining the Right Data Quality Rules

The goal here is to determine business rules on Data Quality that will take your data from where it is today (the results of the Profiling), to where you want it to be (the “to-be state”). These Data Quality rules are then applied to understand how well your data currently matches your needs, driving work to standardise the current data set into the shape you’ve defined during the definition phase.

Match and Merge Your Duplicate Records

The final step in the process is to use matching algorithms to identify potential duplicate records for your customers, and to go through a process of harmonising these records against the “Customer Golden Record” you’ve defined in the workshop process. This process should be a collaboration between Business and IT users – as the Business team that truly understand their customers will be invaluable in helping to determine which of the duplicate data fields you keep and which you discard. 

Validate Your Data!

At this point you can leverage external data sources to improve the quality of your contact data – there’s huge value and cost savings available simply by scrubbing phone numbers, email and physical addresses to ensure you have valid contact data for your customers.

Rinse and Repeat

This process should not be thought of as a “one off project” – a Single Customer View endeavour is a Program of work for the enterprise, you constantly need to cycle through the steps outlined above in order to ensure you have clean, consistent, accurate customer data to deliver the holistic view this “Holy Grail” promises.

How Can Cognopia Help?

Cognopia can help you throughout the process of adopting a Single Customer View, from helping to define the best business case for adoption through recommending the right software and services to make it a reality.

Our expert team has delivered Single Customer View projects that deliver enormous Return on Investment. We have also seen initiatives like this start and fail, and have been brought in to rescue initiatives that are wobbling or at risk of being cancelled. 

Our most important service is the ability to ask the right questions, understand the real drivers that will deliver against your business needs, and align the implementation strategy to ensure consistent, measurable and repeatable success.

If you’re trying to build a Single Customer View and need our help – get in touch using the form below:


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