Today's consumers can be quite demanding and quick to criticise. One out of ten customers will turn their backs on a brand after just one poor online experience. Three-quarters of consumers expect brands to offer a consistent customer experience across all channels they interact with – be it in the store, via social media or through personalised conversations. Yet this can only be achieved if a company holds customer data at all touchpoints. Such an approach calls for a 360-degree customer perspective. This blog post explains such a perspective and how companies can use it to understand customer needs and optimise their customer journey.
A 360-degree customer perspective provides a complete, up-to-date overview of each customer relationship across all channels and from every interaction. It holds a summary of all customer data generated by the company at its touchpoints – i.e. purchases made, the response to marketing promotions, each call to customer service or activities on social media channels.
But it's quite rare for a company's marketing team to own all purchase history and conversation details. Usually, customer service has an overview of open queries and past complaints, and only the social media team knows which posts a customer has 'liked'. This leads to customers having a poor experience – as the people they speak to don't know key information and can only provide a basic level of assistance. Customers quickly start to feel like nothing more than a number.
A holistic overview of data
A 360-degree customer perspective endangers the fragmented way of dealing with customers that arise from departmental data silos. It guarantees a holistic overview of all customer information. In doing so, it forms companies a foundation to improve the customer experience across several levels: in future marketing campaigns, sales activities, customer services and providing a personalised customer experience across all channels. The figures mentioned at the beginning of this post show the immense importance of offering customers an optimised customer experience. Nowadays, a good product isn't enough to secure a customer's loyalty. They expect a seamless customer journey. And this is where the in-depth understanding brought by a 360-degree customer perspective comes into its own.
A key tool in achieving a 360-degree customer perspective is a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. It offers a platform on which all customer data is cleaned, validated, added, and linked for employees. Companies can also expand this data with additional metadata to use their existing customer information effectively. This can be geographical, socio-demographic or economic data – allowing conclusions to be drawn about purchasing power or the level of education, amongst other aspects. Customer data that has been enriched in this way creates a more refined customer profile – this serves to adapt marketing measures in a more targeted manner.
360-degree customer perspective: a win-win for customers and companies
Enhanced communication with customers
A 360-degree customer perspective positively affects all levels of the customer journey. For example, a customer service employee can process a customer query faster and more efficiently if he or she has access to all information about the products bought by the customer, i.e. purchase and maintenance data. This boosts the rate at which problems are resolved. It also means customers feel well taken care of and valued by ensuring they don't have to explain the same problem to several employees, improving customer experience and retention.
Optimised activities in all departments
A 360-degree customer perspective simplifies cross-departmental collaboration. For instance, if a sales representative knows about recurring problems experienced by a customer, this opens up opportunities for individualised cross- and up-selling. It also makes it easier for sales and marketing teams to jointly revive inactive customer relationships through coordinated campaigns. Segmented campaigns with a higher expected conversion rate can also be easily set up by marketing teams. What's more, omnichannel marketing activities can be optimised by aligning marketing messages and campaigns across all channels. This all goes to show that a 360-degree customer perspective makes it easier for companies to work across departments and achieve a better ROI on campaigns through more targeted communication while at the same time strengthening customer relationships.
Increased predictability and personalisation
Another benefit of a 360-degree customer perspective is that it enables both increased personalisation and predictability regarding customer behaviour. A company that knows all about customer habits – ranging from average purchase size, repeat orders and returns through to responses to newsletters – can better estimate which offers and services will be appreciated by a customer in the future. It also makes it possible to provide the customer with perfectly tailored, personalised recommendations. Responses to planned product changes or delivery timeframes can also be more reliably predicted. At the same time, the data can provide guidance on which products to develop or how to change the company's product/service portfolio.
Seamless customer journeys and improved market opportunities
To sum it up, it's plain to see that a 360-degree customer perspective makes it easier for companies to understand the needs of their companies and optimise the customer journey. It gives them a solid foundation on which to offer a personalised and seamless user experience across all digital interaction channels. A 360-degree customer perspective can thus help get people more excited about a brand and hold onto them as customers, ensuring increased sales while simultaneously reducing costs.