Customer Information Data Management Systems | Pitney Bowes

Top 5 Essentials for Achieving an Agile, Single Customer View

It’s a pretty good time to be a consumer. It seems that every day a new app or service pops up that makes it even easier for buyers to research solutions to their needs and get the best deals. As a result, 46 percent of customers today say they are more likely to switch brands compared to 10 years ago, according to Accenture. It’s no surprise why - these buyers know if a better option is out there, they won’t struggle to find it.

Does that mean customer loyalty is dead? Not at all. That’s because it’s also a great time to be a business – as long as you have the perspective and savvy to make the most of your resources to better engage customers.

Data is perhaps the most critical of these resources, as it underpins every organizational function, from sales to marketing to service. And even though there are challenges in managing all that data, smart businesses are able to leverage it in a way that improves their understanding of the customer.

Quality, enriched data gives you a single customer view – a holistic perspective of each buyer’s unique history, behavior and preferences. With that information readily available, you can tailor your customer engagement approach to ensure their needs are met across each stage of the business. Since digitalization means consumers can make decisions faster than ever, you need the agility to act on that information just as quickly.

Where do you gain that perspective? The journey begins with connecting the islands of data that exist throughout your organization so that you can evaluate the data you have, find out what’s missing and enrich it accordingly. Here’s a checklist for how to improve your business intelligence estate in order to acquire a single customer view.

1. Streamlined Business Intelligence

Silos are the enemies of efficiency. It’s likely that every part of your business prefers its own customer management tool, which means valuable intel about buyers could be locked up, duplicated or shared between half a dozen disconnected platforms. By streamlining that data in a unified environment, you increase the speed at which you can analyse and act on information.

2. Support for Bigger Big Data Volumes

Digitalization has increased the number of sources for customer data, inflating data volumes. In fact, EMC says our “digital universe” grows by 40 percent each year as new data-producing devices come online. As a result, your business intelligence estate must offer the processing power to support a flood of new information.

3. Confidence in Data Quality and Accuracy

Research shows that millions of dollars are lost each year due to poor data quality, underscoring the risk you face if you rely on customer information that isn’t fit for use. Your business intelligence function must include capabilities like advanced data matching and consolidation, data profiling and data enrichment to address these concerns.

4. Accessible Business Intelligence

The need to make faster decisions means there are more stakeholders throughout your business who need to share a single view of your buyer. Insights shouldn’t be exclusive to data scientists – everyone from sales, marketing and customer service must be able to access and easily understand customer information. Consider ways to improve accessibility, included improved data visualization and spatial insight capabilities.

5. Advanced Reporting

At the same time, the richer your data, the more robust your reporting must be to increase the quality of your decisions and improve time-to-action. How effectively can your organization analyse and report on customer information? Your answer may indicate a need for more sophisticated reporting.

Far from killing loyalty, today’s “switching economy” empowers buyers to make a more informed decision and seek out businesses that truly serve their needs. With a better perspective on the factors that matter most to your buyers, you could build a customer engagement engine that fosters life-long loyalty.

Learn how to successfully leverage data for enterprise-wise customer engagement in the new Forbes Insights whitepaper "Understanding Your Customer.

Watch our webinar "The CIO's Role in CRM - Indispensable Partners in Business Decisions" and learn how CIOs can partner with their counterparts in sales, marketing, and service to derive more value from customer-facing technologies.