What is a 360-degree view of the customer?

Customer Service May 25 Resolve Tech Solutions

The term “360-degree view of the customer” has been around for a long time, but what does it mean exactly?

Different business functions of an enterprise maintain different systems for customer-facing data – billing systems for transactions, CRM for marketing,  and ticketing systems for customer support. Having data across silos makes it difficult for the enterprise to understand the customer, more so if the customer interacts with the organisation across multiple channels. This is the problem that a 360-degree view of the customer addresses. 

A 360-degree view of the customer is a single end-to-end picture of the customer across their journey and experience with the organisation’s products, services, after-sales service, and support channels. 

What does the 360-degree view enable?

An easily-apparent advantage from a 360-degree customer view is for the  marketing team. With a 360-degree view of its customers, the marketing department can carry out more effective segmentation for marketing campaigns & promotions, thus driving improved conversions and better marketing ROI. A more sophisticated marketer would use the 360-degree view to not only drive up revenues, but also personalise the company’s offerings or even innovate on new offerings for customers. 

A holistic view of the customer also helps company staff when they interact with customers. Sales staff and contact centres alike are in a better position to improve customer satisfaction if they are aware of the customer’s history and value to the enterprise.  

Also on the table would be the ability of the marketing team and company leadership to predict customer behaviour in response to events such as the introduction of new products, offerings from competitors, new advertising, etc. Much of this prediction capability would rely on the implementation of data sciences & analytics algorithms. Indeed, areas such as sentiment analysis are proving to be very useful in predicting customer behaviour especially in customer support scenarios. 

So how does an enterprise build a 360-degree customer view?

For a digital-first company, such as Facebook or Netflix, most customer interaction is already through a digital medium. Therefore, these companies already have the capability to track all the interaction that the customer is having with their company.

The traditional enterprise, however, interacts with their customers across a wide variety of channels. Retailers sell to their customers both online and in-store, and handle returns the same way. Telecom service operators offer services through wired and wireless devices and maintain wired equipment on the customers’ premises. Vehicle insurance companies’ relationships with customers can last years and that too in digital form, but once a claim is made there are multiple in-person interactions. 

The enterprise needs to consolidate customer data from a variety of data sources (including external ones such as social media), systems, and channels and consolidate data for further processing. These downstream applications which process this data could be exploratory in nature: analytics, visualization, or AI tools – this would help the organization build data models to better understand their customers. These data models, and the insights thus obtained would power applications supporting specific lines of business: customer support, marketing campaigns, and billing, to name a few.

Conclusion

The 360-degree view of the customer helps an enterprise serve their customers better. This improvement can be in the form of a better or more personalized offering; alternatively, it could be in the form of a superior interaction with the customer. Essentially, it is a means for an enterprise to break down its internal silos and help its various arms serve customers effectively with the knowledge the enterprise already possesses.