The Difficult Prerequisite in Data: Determining the 360-Degree View of the Customer

May 9, 2014
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ImageIt’s one of the most common challenges many organizations face: how do we capture a more holistic view of our customers’ online and offline interactions? In order to get a clear picture of your customer and their habits, you need to understand how they interact across all platforms. You don’t just want a partial view of how your customers are behaving—you want a 360-degree view.

The challenge

ImageIt’s one of the most common challenges many organizations face: how do we capture a more holistic view of our customers’ online and offline interactions? In order to get a clear picture of your customer and their habits, you need to understand how they interact across all platforms. You don’t just want a partial view of how your customers are behaving—you want a 360-degree view.

The challenge

Let’s take the simple example of a customer interested in buying a new pair of jeans. There’s a retail store at the local mall, but before the customer takes the time to drive to the mall and check out the selection of jeans, they pull up the company website. After looking through their options, they find a few pairs of jeans that seem to fit all their requirements. The customer’s final step before driving to the brick-and-mortar store is to place a phone call and make sure the jeans they’re looking for are in stock. Then, they go to buy the jeans.

This is an example of an omni-channel customer. They don’t just want to browse in the store. Instead, they want to take advantage of all the channels available to them. They’re informed, and they expect retailers to be even more informed.

The trick is to understand what this customer is doing. By determining how they’re interacting with you as an organization, you can determine the best way to serve them. Understanding their preferences can allow you to provide more information and options where it is needed.

The problem

Too many organizations believe “omni channel” means piling all of their customer data into a single platform, like Hadoop or an EDW. In theory, this might seem like a good solution, but problems arise when you can’t track your customers across all platforms. If you can’t get a clear, 360-degree view of your customer, then you’re wasting your time.

Often, these various channels are stored in different databases within the organization. What you need is a way to identify customers across numerous channels. This can be especially difficult in larger organizations where customers are already identified in many ways, from their User ID, to their email address, to entirely separate online IDs. Instead, there needs to be a way for customers to take data and integrate it.

The solution

To solve this common problem, organizations should have an ID registry that identifies customers across multiple channels, all in one place. Through the registry, organizations can come up with a methodology for capturing customer data across all the various channels, then organizing it.

By having this system in place, organizations will be able to gain a complete perspective on their customers’ habits and needs. The more organized data you’re able to collect about your customers, the better experience you can provide for the buyer. With an ID registry that identifies customers across various channels all in one place, you can more easily determine that 360-degree customer view—and save your organization valuable time in the process.