Part 03 - Benefits of a single customer view

This is the third part in our Sitecore 10 series and is a continuation to our blog on Obstacles in achieving a single customer view. Read the first part of  the blog importance of single customer view and look out for our final section. 

Benefits of a single customer view

Once you have taken care of the obstacles, now is the time to focus on the benefits of this implementation. Certainly, the list here is endless and can be grouped under short- and long-term benefits.

  • Target-marketing enables customers to enjoy better services 
  • This helps build brand loyalty and long-term relationships 
  • The credit risk management is better than in the rest
  • And all the above can result in enhanced profitability for your business

Highlighted below are the benefits as per their short or long-term repercussions:

The Business

Businesses implementing the single customer view gain better insight via wider strategic planning, empowered by the big customer data they compile from different channels. This also helps brands devise better execution strategies to realize the goals. While the process is focused on optimizing interaction over shorter time periods, businesses should address long-term aims, along with structural and social challenges. 

The Customer

As there are different channels that brands use to reach a customer or to create a persona, it may focus on some channels more as compared to others. However, customers experience the brand as a whole and not as what is offered via independent channels. This makes it important for the brands to execute a unified customer experience. So, irrespective of the approach, every channel should aim to provide a unified experience to the customer.

H2: How can we help our customer create a single customer view? 

Every organization's goal is to make the life of its customers easier. To best serve your clients you need to create a trustworthy view of their needs. Let’s walk you through the steps for preparing a single customer view.

We have seen that automation in business is not only a blessing but can also present challenges to both employees and clients. The rise of multi-channel marketing now means that an integrated view of the interaction between your client and your business is no longer self-evident with simple changes in your client's needs resulting in an excessive number of actions and communication within your business. This results in a lot of work and data handling, thus a high likelihood of human error and considerable inconvenience to the customer.

However, the benefits of a single customer view are not confined to sales and marketing activities only.

Single customer view is not a data repository

Single view of customer can also deliver value for:

  • Compliance
  • First-time right data entry
    • Self-service marketing
  • Operational excellence
  • Up-selling and cross-selling decision support
  • Master data quality measures

However, the main ingredient is to provide your employees (the different channels) with the exact information that they need to perform their roles. A gap in the understanding could hamper the seamless experience to your customers. 

A single customer view often involves data from several systems. Customer data is stored in a CRM system, marketing automation, analytics systems and social, customer complaints in claims database, payment history in finance software and order history in an ERP system. 

So, together with your employees and some help from the market, you can realize the first version of an integrated customer view and benefit from its added value in just a few months.

The all-important first step is to determine your goal. There are three factors in determining the priority:

  • The financial value, which implies the gain points. 
  • The time to value, which depicts the time your brand will first benefit from the single customer view, right since its inception.
  • The strategic value, meaning the measure in which the activity contributes to the long-term business goal.
  • Adopting an incremental project plan can help build an efficient single customer view that is valuable to the business. This way you can help your employees to support their clients more efficiently while simultaneously improving the agility of your business.

Let us consider an instance where we are running a campaign across channels as below:

  • Marketing Automation – For sending automated emails and hosting survey forms
  • Webinar tools – For organizing events and managing data accordingly
  • Sitecore – For content management
  • Analytics - For website traffic
  • Social – For posting content on social sites 
  • CRM – Sales teams refer to CRM data for any communication with client

While running campaigns via multiple channels, it becomes important to understand the customer activities of each channel. Customer activities are stored in a silo on each platform. It is important that all the platforms interact with one another so that all activities of the customers are tracked and consolidated at one point. This can help target the customers effectively.
If we create a data repository to assist in communication among one another, we can have/ confirm that:

  • The user will get targeted via personalized emails/content based on activities done by the customer on particular website and email.
  • As a marketer or sales person, we can get a single view of customer activities across channels.
  • At any given point, this data repository will help us to pull data of each activity performed across channels.
  • With the support of this repository, CRM will also have data of customer activity carried out on the web and social platforms.
  • We can show personalized contents to client as per need.

The success of single customer view rests primarily on the integration of the different data sources. It is beneficial to store the summary data is stored as a consolidated customer. Of course, customers' details and circumstances are always changing, so the data itself never remains static. By adding in more data (as collected) a deeper insight into the customer’s behavior and preferences can be built.

A single customer view can help an organization understand a customer's history, her lifetime value, risks, potential exposure to debt, the number of products she holds, and even her propensity to buy new goods and services. 

Some of the use cases, which highlight the benefits of having a customer journey include:

Sync between Marketing Automation <> Google Analytics (GA)

  • Google Analytics tracks the web journey of the visitor.
  • If Google Analytics and Marketing Automation are in sync then the visitor is marked as a Known visitor and the entire web journey can be tracked.
  • The tracked web journey can be used to send personalized emails.

Sync between Sitecore <> Marketing Automation <> Google Analytics (GA)

  • Additional to the above scenarios, Sitecore can be integrated with Marketing Automation and GA.
  • By having user behavioral data in GA and based on relevant values can be passed into MA and accordingly personalization can be done and similar data can be passed into Sitecore for website personalization.

Sync between Sitecore <> Marketing Automation <> Social <> CRM

  • Additional to the above scenarios, we can similarly connect CRM and social with MA and this additional data can benefit in personalizing the website and emails.
  • Besides personalization, relevant data can also be passed into the SFDC / CRM and this can be beneficial to the sales team as well.

With the establishment of the single customer view within an organization comes the need to optimize the value it delivers to the business. To effortlessly achieve this, here are a few top tips: 

  1. Identify the systems into which the unique identifier (customer ID) can be easily implemented. Concentrate on deriving the benefits from the offline marketing databases and delivering the same.
  2. Focus on the proactive and reactive customer contact points to ensure these contacts are based on a customer-level view. Outputs can be pushed back at the customer level such as a client service system or rolled out to the respective product level systems.
  3. Generate some interesting and useful customer insights from the single customer view and use these to publicize the benefits throughout the organization.
  4. Create a business case to realize buy-in across all areas of the organization. Impart training to ensure that everyone is aligned and the benefits are realized. Monitor performance and amend strategies as appropriate.

H2: Achieving a robust single customer view

As is evident from the above, achieving a robust single customer view isn’t an independent task. Rather, it takes a number of steps  to realize this goal. Highlighted below for you is the step-wise description.

Step 1: Determine your goal 

Like with everything else, this journey too begins with ascertaining the goal. It is important at this level to figure out the challenges and jointly find solutions to overcome them. More than working on acquiring new customers, you have also to focus on keeping your existing customers happy. The first step in this is empowering your employees and staff with all the information and customer details. As simple as it may sound, the reality is pretty different. And, that’s because the below questions are almost always relevant:

  • Has the essential information, which can allow better customer service, been properly identified?
  • Where is the relevant information and is it easily accessible?
  • Is there a possibility of acquiring the information?

Step 2: Determine the feasibility of the task

The aim of the last question above is to determine whether or not the information required exists in the organization. And, if it does, can it be acquired economically and with minimum disruption of business?

Considering this, an organization must continually revisit its goals, the elements required to achieve it, and the ongoing contribution by the project team.

Step 3: Your first single customer view 

  • Organizing the primary customer data. 
  • Maintaining the data by realizing the batch and real-time/point-of-entry integration with the primary data sources. This can enable aligning the single customer view with updates and changes in the underlying source systems.
  • Making this data available to facilitate the single customer view.

Organizing the primary customer data

To trust the data in your single customer view, you'll have to ensure that the client data is reliable enough to work with. We decide that a specific data set is ‘reliable’ using our ACCU principle:

  • Accurate: Meaning that the data is up to date.
  • Complete:  Ensuring that the compilation of all the contact elements is complete. 
  • Correct: Verifying that the data in the source systems is correct. Check for incorrect email ids, incomplete/ irrelevant postal codes, etc. 
  • Unique: Running a duplicate checker on your data so as to identify and remove all duplicate and redundant entries.

To make your data conform to the norms of ACCU, you have to: 

  • Clean the data file 
  • Automate the de-duplication task 
  • Automate updating the data from external sources

Good data cleansing includes:

  • Bounce-back management: If we manage the bounce-back data, then we can ensure that our domain will never get blacklisted. This will also help in increasing the open rate and be cost effective as well, as this removes unwanted data from the server.
  • SPF, MX and SSL implementation: This ensures that our emails do not land in the JUNK folder of the receiver’s email domain.
  • Removing all contacts that are inactive for more than the past 12 months.
  • Analyzing data or removing all contacts to whom any email or communication was sent in the past year.
  • Data standardization and normalization process: Via these, we can ensure that the data quality is maintained optimally as per the business standards.
  • Consolidation: 

It is often simpler for your employees to add a customer, or even a file full of prospects, without checking if those entries have already been registered. This can, overtime, accumulate a lot of redundant and duplicate entries. Statistics reveal that in many organizations, this number increases by 20% every year. At the same time, the possibility of accumulating inaccurate data is always there. Therefore, to put an end to this and ensure that the creases are flattened in the process of achieving a single customer view, you would need to automate the data collection. The solution should, in the least, be able to identify simple typos and do a verification of the same before treating such entries as a new one. This can easily curb the duplicate entry accumulation to a great extent.

We will conclude the series with the fourth and final blog – keep watching this space for the conclusion..