How a 360-degree view on customer helps businesses

October 14, 2020 | Master Data Management

How a 360-degree view on customer helps businesses

What is a 360-degree customer view?

Today, the success of many businesses is majorly attributed to good relationships with their customers. That is, having a comprehensive understanding of what the customers want and availing it to them to satisfy their needs as well as meeting the business’ goals. In Mathematics, 360 degrees is a full rotation/full circle, that is, there are no blind spots.

Similarly, in business, a 360-degree view on a customer means that you have a holistic view of the customer and their relation as well as interaction with your business in a comprehensive manner. This means that with a 360-degree view, you can map an end to end process of the customer’s experience with your business.

The 360-degree customer view is hence a very good strategy to offer the very best experiences to a customer in all the stages of interaction with the business.

What does a 360-degree data model consist of?

A 360-degree data model must be as comprehensive as possible to give the best results. It must aggregate data from all customer touchpoints ranging from their past interactions to their everyday interactions. These days with most information being digitally available, customers interact with so many digital media creating a pool of crucial data about them.
Information from a customer’s past relations with a business coupled with present interactions can give businesses future predictions on customer behavior.

This forms what is needed in a 360-degree data model, customers data from the past, their present data, and predicted future data.

1. Past data

Past data includes historical information on a customer from the engagements they might have had with your business. For example, all communications (phone calls, emails, text messages, website chat boxes), past purchases, product reviews, website visits, products their view from your website, marketing campaign interactions, price quotes ask, general inquiries, etc.

2. Present data

Present data includes any ongoing interactions with the customer currently, for example, the most recent orders and their current stage in the order process, any queries/issues/support requests that have not yet been resolved, etc. It is also important to capture background information e.g if a customer is a business, its sector, contact person, number of employees, etc.

3. Future data

Once a business has successfully recorded past and present data, it can predict the future patterns of customers.

This is possible with the help of Customer Relationship Management software tools, various analytics and business intelligence tools.

What do you need to build a strong 360-degree customer view?

The major requirements needed for a strong 360-degree customer view are data and analysis capabilities.

We have mentioned the type of data needed to feed in the 360-degree customer view data model. This data can also be categorized as first party, second party and third party data. First data means data that a business has collected for itself directly from its customers. Second and third party data are sourced from other data sellers.

The data will not be valuable if it cannot inform any decisions. This creates the need for analysis. There are many data analytics tools available to help make use of the three data types to generate useful data insights. For example audience and campaign analytics tools.

What are the advantages of having a 360-degree customer view to your business?

According to Gartner’s research in 2018, only less than ten percent of businesses have a complete 360-degree view on their customers. This handful of businesses is able to enjoy the following benefits;

1. Valuable customer insights

Once a business has gathered as much data as possible on its customers and analyzed the data, it is able to generate important insights on the customers. For example, customers driving force to visit your business website, buy products, why they interact with your business and their preferred methods of engagement.

Customer insights can also be in the form of anticipated future behavior or purchase patterns. This can make a business be well prepared for these future opportunities.

A business looking into establishing a new product can also use a 360-degree customer view to make informed decisions to predict how that will go about.

2. Personalized customer experiences

Most customers are not always interested in purchases. They want to enjoy the experience of interacting with the business while they are at it.  A 360-degree customer view makes it possible to create personalized and unique experiences for each customer. For example, when running a campaign, a business can segment customers based on the insights it has about them to create targeted ads. This way, you will reach out to the customers without them feeling bombarded with irrelevant advertising.

3. Customer loyalty

It is evident that the 360-degree customer view contributes greatly to customer loyalty and retention. Through having unique insights to having personalized approaches, customers develop a connection and relation to the brand/business.

Insights from a 360-degree customer view also help in building strong long-lasting relationships with customers for instance through sending personalized messages at the right time and anticipating their needs. Through this, the customers will always have the brand/business at the top of their minds every time.

4. Strategic business planning

A holistic view of customers greatly helps in business planning, especially when forecasting future plans. Businesses that use a 360-degree customer view base all their customer decisions on the insights developed from the model.

This also creates cohesion between different business functions, for example, the marketing department, sales department and customer service since they feed off from the same data set. In the long run, this contributes to the overall success of the business.

5. Reduced costs

This especially applies to marketing costs. Marketing efforts that are dependent on a narrow data point will more often than not misfire.

However, with the comprehensive view that is the 360-degree customer view, since there is the use of data driven and targeted campaigns, the rate of success is very high. This leads to higher returns and in the long run reduced costs in marketing.

Summary

Customers today want to have a good relationship and to enjoy the experience they have with a brand/business not just transact. They want businesses to know them and provide products that are well suitable to them in terms of value and interest. It is therefore from this need that businesses can’t help but develop methods of knowing their customers holistically.

In addition to evaluating the past and present data to predict future customer activities, where possible it is also important to gather personal information of the customers such as their age, location, gender, salary, job title, etc. This is part of fully knowing the customer as much as possible.

To grow your business you not only need new customers but most importantly, you need to maintain the already existing customers. A 360-degree view of customers is one of the ways of building this long-term customer retention contributing to long-term success for your business.