Article

Dan Telling
Dan Telling 18 February 2019

The power of a single customer view: increased personalisation and optimal CX

Customers now want the best of all worlds. Good old fashioned personalised service, brands who understand and are empathetic towards them but who can deliver exactly what they want, immediately?

Offering engaging customer experience, personalised communication and pre-emptive service aren’t new concepts, they’ve been around since shopping began. What has changed, however, is how people shop.  The Internet, Digital transformation, e-commerce, next or even same day delivery and changing lifestyles have changed the face of retail completely, all in a relatively short space of time.   

Previously, what was fairly easy to deliver when you had a relatively small number of customers who all lived nearby, and you saw on a daily basis, suddenly becomes more complex and challenging. It has also become more vital, as customer experience is the real battleground for businesses. 

Single Customer View (SCV): the key to personalisation

Before organisations can compete on customer experience, they need to compete on customer data. A SCV should be at the heart of everything a business does, as it has the power to enable increased personalisation and improved customer engagement. 

With a proper SCV, businesses can create more relevant, personalised and interactive experiences, predict customer’s likely next moves and requirements and customise interactions based on the time, location and context of each engagement. 

Key challenges

Unsurprisingly, organisations have been long trying to develop a perfect SCV. It is still a huge struggle for two key reasons. 

Firstly, the sheer amount of ever evolving data that organisations have to deal with, both structured and unstructured. Secondly, data is still stored in a variety of formats and structures in departmental silos of information, especially when businesses have grown rapidly or through acquisition. 

These silos of information often lead businesses to (mistakenly) believe they have a SCV, when in fact they have multiple views – all with varying degrees of information and accuracy. And all set up with a specific function or purpose in mind. Only once all these disparate views are put together do they become really valuable. 

Customers are changing all the time, they’re getting older, richer, poorer, travelling, having families. All things which impact on their wants and needs and how they interact with a brand. Any SCV needs to be able to keep up and offer a rapid, consistent picture of customers at any point in time. 

Adding value through a SCV

How can organisations create and then ensure they benefit from a SCV? 

1.    Know your data, know your customer

Data quality is the absolute foundation for any SCV. No attempt at personalisation, no matter how innovative the technology involved – whether that is a new CRM system, AI or chatbots – will be effective if it is not fed with accurate, up to date data. 

2.    Don’t try and build a perfect world

Creating a SCV can seem daunting, but businesses should not make the mistake of trying to create a ‘perfect world’ where all systems are ready, all data is modeled, all key stakeholders are completely onboard and every eventuality is considered before starting. Instead, focus on finding the right technology. 

3.    Carefully consider your technology options

There are a wide variety of technology options available when it comes to creating a SCV. Selecting technology is not an easy process and with so many voices and so many features to choose from, organisations need to get it right to avoid costly mistakes. The right technology isn’t about just selecting the best scoring technology in the quadrant or wave but what fits your organisation and keeps the costs and change reasonable and within the realms of your ability and organisation’s maturity. 

4.    SCV is a means to an end, not the endgame

Those organisations who simply treat having a SCV as a tick box exercise will not benefit from the value it can bring. A SCV is an enabler, and businesses need to have a clear plan around what it will enable them to do and then ensure they act on this plan to develop and deliver new propositions, products and services.

It is perhaps more challenging than ever for brands to stand out, but customer experience is one way to do this, and specifically personalisation. 

It is not easy, but with the right approach, commitment and expertise, it is possible. 

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