A single customer view is exactly what it says on the tin; it involves consolidating each customer’s data so it’s visible on one source – such as a CRM system. But how exactly will this help your business?
A single customer view typically details your customers’ accounts, spend, transactions, enquiries, feedback and website visits. Its benefit lies in collating each customer’s information so that it’s easily accessible and comprehensive, making it simpler for you to analyse. This helps you to understand your customer base better and identify trends in behaviour – both for individual customers, customer segments and your entire customer base. By identifying trends, you can then shape your business service according to demand, which should lead to increased profits.
Through looking at each customer holistically, you can gather a stronger picture of which customers are likely to buy new goods and services, and target your product marketing accordingly. With a single customer view, you’re better positioned to cross-sell and up-sell your products and services.
Another benefit to creating a single customer view is that it helps you provide a more informed service for your customers. As we all know, customers want to be treated as individuals rather than numbers. With a single customer view, you can analyse a customer’s history and profile, which means you’ll communicate with them more effectively and provide a better service to meet their needs. And a better customer relationship means increased customer retention.
A single customer view can also reduce your business’s risk. Being able to access your customer’s entire profile and account history in one consolidated database means that you can better identify the customer’s risk profile. You can then make more informed decisions about whether to extend credit for goods and services.
For businesses that want to transition to a single customer view, this can be a laborious process. Companies with a smaller database will find it easier to organise this information. Large-scale companies with disparate businesses or departments may struggle to standardise their information, particularly if it has been stored in inconsistent formats. Another obstacle may be creating a customer-centric data management system for a product-centric organisation.
However, once accounts have been matched throughout your system, you can create a unique customer identifier (PIN) which will enable you to access each customer’s profile through one identifier. Having systemised your information, you can then build a customer-centric data management system, deciding which information is needed for your customer services, operations, risk, sales and marketing functions.
While creating a single customer view may be costly, it should lead to a higher return on investment through better customer retention and increased cross-selling. The Loyalty Effect, published by Harvard Business School Press, explains: “It costs 5 to 10 times as much to win a new customer as it does to keep a customer, and a 5% increase in customer loyalty can translate into a 75% increase in profitability. ” With figures like that, the benefits of a single customer view should certainly outweigh the costs.