The single customer view is one of the most important concepts in modern business, and in the overall concept of ‘big data’. Essentially, the single customer view a concept based around data quality: if you maintain good quality records about customers and maintain that data over time, you should find that your business saves considerable time and money – and the customer benefits too.
In this article, we’ll look at three very clear ways the single customer view could benefit your business. Even if you’re not familiar with the terminology yet, it’s probably an outcome your business is aiming for already. (And if it’s not, it should be.)
1. Predicting Behaviour
The more you know about your customers, the better you can anticipate what they’ll want from you next. A great example of this is the humble supermarket loyalty card: shoppers who use loyalty schemes generate valuable data about the shopping decisions they make, and this helps supermarkets market products more effectively. The data dictates everything from the timing of a store’s offers to the layout of the aisles.
Being able to anticipate a customer’s needs saves a business time, money and resources, and it help the business to nurture a positive relationship with customers and build its brand. When a vendor can proactively offer customers the things they really want, it stands a far better chance of retaining that customer over the longer term.
2. Enhancing Service
A single customer view helps to build trust between vendor and customer. How? By ensuring that customer’s data is consistently and carefully maintained.
When a customer telephones a business to make an enquiry, they expect the customer service representative to be able to pull up accurate records about their past dealings with the business. They also expect their name to be spelled correctly, and they’ll expect any past interaction with the business to be accessible to avoid wasting time. Increasingly, customers who contact the business through one medium – say, social media – will expect the telephone operator to be able to retrieve that exchange and refer back to it.
In an era of diverse communications, holding a single customer record – and maintaining the quality of that record – is one of the best ways to show the customer that they’re valued.
3. Increasing Revenue
In marketing, better efficiency can make a dramatic difference to the returns the business sees. The single customer view can make a real difference and help the business target its marketing activity more effectively.
Marketing departments, like sales departments, are wholly dependent on accurate data when distributing material and approaching clients. And, on the whole, it’s far more economical for a business to market to an existing customer than to invest in recruiting a new customer. It therefore makes sense that the business pushes to improve the quality of data available to its marketing team.
Achieving the Single Customer View
No business can expect their database to be perfect, nor can it remain perfect as it matures. As customers’ circumstances change, the data held about them needs to be continually cleansed and reviewed to maintain its accuracy. The business may also need to alter the way it collects and stores its data to stop inaccurate records being stored in the first place.
Businesses committed to the single customer view invest in data quality tools to maintain their customer databases. Data quality software can intelligently find and fix errors in customer data, match records that are likely to be duplicates, remove known problematic records and ensure addresses are standardised. As a result, the business can confidently relate to its customers and ensure it makes the best use of the information it has gathered.