What is a 360-degree customer view and why is it good for business
What is a 360-degree customer view?
Basically, it is a system of aggregating data by joining various information databases together and touchpoints. The 360-degree customer view is a hub that links and synchronizes all information sources to become a single and up-to-date point of reference. This hub allows users to access, display, analyze and re-duplicate customer-related data in a holistic way.
The information that is collected in the 360-degree view hub ranges from the basic contact information (such as name, address, email, company, job title, or personal preferences), to the history of purchases and previous interactions, customer service requests, complaints, marketing communication sent, as well as their website activity and social media engagement. In other words – all instances of a prospect or a customer getting in touch with a brand are recorded and accessible in one place.
The benefits of the 360-degree view of the customer
By adopting the 360-degree approach, businesses can offer better customer experiences at all touchpoints of the customer journey. Here are the main practical gains that having the 360-degree customer view brings:
Full customer understanding
This is hands down, the most obvious benefit. Having a complete, end-to-end picture of a prospect or a customer is a treasure in the world of business. From what they’ve recently bought, to what marketing messages they reacted to or online materials they downloaded, to service requests filed – customers leave a trail of important information that helps:
- Sales representatives - to understand customer needs better, and use this info to upsell or cross-sell. Which means – increase profits.
- Customer service agents - to offer seamless, uninterrupted, timely, and informed support with all queries.
- Marketing specialists - to send the right messages to the right audiences at the right time, increase loyalty, and keep the brand relevant.
Effortless sharing of data
When your business grows, the number of employees performing different roles grows too. Although they share the same work purpose, the ways they collect, store and share information on customers may differ – the notorious ‘working in silos’. When departments need to share customer data, sending files back and forth is not helping. Things get lost or become difficult to find.
The implementation of a CRM system, serving as a 360-degree hub, can help different departments centralize customer data, and in this way improve the way customer information is shared; i.e. instantaneously, in one place, accessible to all.
When it comes to sales, information is everything. Often, not having enough information on potential customers results in ineffective cold calls.
To get ready for a sales call, sales reps spend more than 75% of their time on non-selling activities, such as finding out more about the prospect, admin work, calling other departments, browsing the net, checking previous sales and marketing interests, etc. This leaves less than 25% of their time for actual selling.
Knowing who their customers are, allows sales reps to offer exactly what customers want, anticipate their questions, be ready to dispel their fears, as well as acknowledge their individual pains.
Prediction of customer behavior
If you’re able to predict a customer’s behavior, you can acquire a customer for life. Why? Because that’s exactly what customers expect from companies today. Recent surveys show that over 60% of consumers suggest that they expect businesses to anticipate their needs and provide meaningful suggestions before contact, while 70% admit that a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty.
Because the 360-degree view records customers’ interaction and transaction history, it helps businesses to map out potential outcomes for each interaction. This means that centralized aggregation of customer data allows you to build more accurate customer behavior models, and – most importantly – help your sales reps to offer timely re-orders, upgrades, upsells, or, simply, fitting solutions to customers’ problems.
Personalization of customer experience
Personalization has been a buzzword for over a decade now, and it is still as relevant as ever. The more companies adjust their communication to target individual buyers, the more possibilities they have to successfully sell their products.
Information about your customer, such as how and when the customer prefers to be contacted, what their top picks on your website are, their personal interests, the purchases they liked and disliked, the feedback and reviews they left, etc. – needs to be recorded and used it in your marketing, sales, and customer support activities.
Reduction of marketing costs
The success of marketing campaigns heavily depends on whether they target the right audiences with the right message. There’s zero sense in sending out a generic campaign to a generic pool of contacts hoping someone will get interested.
When you know what customers want and expect, you can better personalize your messages and offer individual deals. Studies show that 74% of marketers claim that targeted personalization increases customer engagement, while personalized emails get 6x higher transaction rates.
Also, having a panoramic view of your customers, which includes their preferences, interests, purchases, demographics data, web behavior, etc., allows marketing professionals to better segment audiences and target more profitable customers.
Finally, by knowing who is likely to buy which product, you can come up with optimized campaigns and generate real profit with your marketing activities.
Improvement of service satisfaction
If you think of it, what customers really want is efficiency. Especially when it comes to customer service. They want to be able to report their problem (once) and get help with it quickly. In fact, almost half (45%) of customers say that the lack of timely support is the number one reason why they will abandon a transaction. To keep the customers satisfied (which means to efficiently resolve their issues), customer service agents need to have easy access to all customer-related information in one place.
Furthermore, in the world of multi-channel communication, if a customer files a service request on one channel, they expect to be heard at once, without the need to repeat themselves on another channel. A CRM solution that collects customer messages from various communication channels and routes requests to responsible teams is truly a savior here.
Gaining a 360-degree view of the customer involves collecting and analyzing data
What customer data will work for you? The answer to this question depends on what you’re trying to achieve in your business. Is it to sell more? Keep more customers from churning? Improve customer service? Strengthen your online presence?
One thing is clear – simply collecting data for the sake of having it is not a wise thing to do.
You need to be selective about what you store. And what you store should be of high-quality. A data audit is the first step to ensure your customer data is organized and clean. All departments must log the customer information into a system following a consistent format and file under relevant categories.
You also need to decide what data is relevant for your business, and what data is missing. In other words – you need to perform regular data inventory. Just having any data is not productive. Data has to serve your key business goals and bring value. Anything else is junk. Data also needs to be context-sensitive and segmented into relevant views: for sales, for admins, for customer support, for marketing, etc.
Finally, you need to follow the laws and regulations on storing personal data, such as the GDPR. And make sure that you obtain permissions and legal consents from your contacts to store information about them or send them marketing messages.