Written by Alice Payne
Posted on 24/07/2015

The challenges of a single customer view

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A ‘single customer view’ is when a company collects and centralises all the information it has about a customer to create a single profile for them. The idea is that being able to track customers and see their activity across different channels means companies can provide better customer service and target their customers more effectively. However, implementing a single customer view doesn’t come without challenges. 

A single customer view means that you can understand your customer as individuals, recognise what they need from your business and how you can best enhance your service for them. Now that we all interact via email, mobile phone, online browsing and social networks we risk having segmented profiles, divided by our interaction across these different channels. Looking at a part rather than the whole means that, sometimes, companies don’t have a full picture of our preferences and needs. This is particularly the case when we interact with various departments of a company for different services. Each department may have their own profile of us instead of having access to a joined up view of our interactions.

The challenge of a single customer view

Although many companies recognise the value of a single customer view, the challenge is in implementing it. Poor quality data is one of the biggest obstacles to applying a single customer view. Having departments that are too siloed is another challenge, as is the inability to integrate different technologies.

Improving your data

If your data is poor quality, your customer profiles will also not be up to scratch. First, you need to make sure the data you collect is accurate. Marketing teams should work closely with data owners to make sure that the way data is gathered aligns with their marketing needs. Putting in place a central data-management strategy is the best way to ensure the view you have of each customer is comprehensive and distinct. Once you have your data in place, it should be part of your strategy to review your data regularly, as information can quickly age or become inaccurate.

If you can’t manually manage the volume of data you collect, it’s worth investing in technology to help with this. Make sure you take time to find the right solution for your business’s needs. Another important area of investment to support your single customer view, is bringing on board skilled analysts. As the tools and skills for marketing continue to evolve, and data sources and volumes grow, having talented analysts in place will make sure you understand your customers and capture their information accurately – which will enable you to deliver better marketing campaigns and customer service.

Reconnecting departments

To make sure your marketing efforts are consistent across your different marketing channels (email, mobile, website, social media, etc), involve all of your teams when planning a campaign, and make sure you include more than one channel on each campaign. You should also try and centralise your communication plan so that your communications are carefully timed across your different channels to maximise customer attention.

Implementing a single customer view

Rather than waiting to enact a complete overhaul of your communications, make an immediate start by pairing the most relevant channels together – even if it’s just two. You can start by sharing what you can about customers across these two channels, and making sure these channels are aligned for any upcoming marketing campaigns.

The success of your single customer view programme will rely on the quality of your data – so make that your first priority. After all, knowledge is power.