Data Matching for Customer 360 View

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Farah Kim • January,2023

Imagine this: you are required to come up with a targeted campaign for your most loyal customers. To do this, you would need an overview of your customers’ history, buying patterns, response to campaigns, spending limits and their communication history with your company (support tickets or chats). The problem? All this data is scattered in multiple departments. You’ll have to coordinate with billing, sales, and marketing to get an overview of this data. You do not have a 360 view of your customer. All you have are bits and pieces of information stored in disparate data sets.

This is a common challenge in organizations. Data is siloed, poorly managed, and most often is unfit for use. Consequentially, teams cannot get a unified or a customer 360 view for insights, analysis, or marketing purposes.

In this article, we help you understand the concept of customer 360, with examples how these views can drive growth & revenue. 

What is Customer 360 & Why is it Important for Businesses Today

The concept of customer 360 is not new and while it may have falsely been attributed as an IT function in the scope of master data management, it is very much derived from customer management and CRM systems. 

 

A customer 360 view is an overarching, comprehensive view of a customer, based on the aggregation of data from multiple internal and external sources. In layman terms, it is the insights you get about your customer when you combine data points such as personal data, geographic data, marketing data and so on. 

customer 360 process

 

All this data is  scattered across systems. For example, marketing teams may use HubSpot as a CRM, but customer service teams may be using Zen Desk as a service platform. The same data may even be recorded in different formats!

 

When it’s time for analysis or reports, you’re struggling to make sense of your data and so your teams would rather rely on assumption than on the data itself.

 

Having a customer 360 view allows businesses to identify patterns, trends, and insights at an individual level. By having quick access to all relevant customer information in one place, businesses can quickly respond to customer inquiries or complaints and create better customer experiences.

 

But as nice as this sounds, customer 360 view relies greatly on three things:

 

  • Data integration (how multiple data sources can be integrated into a single dashboard)
  • Data matching (how efficiently can multiple data sources be matched and integrated)
  • Data quality (how clean, reliable, and accurate the data is before it is integrated)

 

An effective 360° view requires not only data fitness for use, but also timely distribution and availability. In order to create a holistic view that is both accurate and trustworthy, data must be properly integrated, organized, and of high quality. For this you need: 

 

  • An efficient data cleaning mechanism or solution
  • An accurate data matching solution when you combine data
  • An easy-to-use solution that can be used by your marketing teams

 

Before you set about making a customer 360 view though, it’s essential to understand how hard and soft data is processed and handled. See the table given below.

Client 360 Degree View: Hard and Soft Data

Businesses need a 360-degree client view to aid their customers. Companies employ various techniques, including customer interactions and feedback, to get the soft and hard customer data underlying the 360-degree customer view.

Hard Data Soft Data
Hard data provides businesses with a customer’s contact center facts. It highlights why a customer made a specific purchase and how he or she got in touch with the company. Soft data, a less visible part of hard data, tells a business about how a customer felt when he or she got in touch with the business. It answers questions like:

* Was the customer satisfied with the product?

* Was the customer satisfied with the service?

What Is It? Businesses need to know this kind of customer information given customers to purchase goods and services online and in a brick-and-mortar store. Plus, customers can use various media, including emails, phone calls, mobile devices, and desktop computers. So, a customer’s 360-degree view from hard data helps businesses know his or her’s preferred contact mode.  Besides providing a client’s 360-degree view, soft data contributes to a 360-degree view of business products and services. Soft data lacks visibility and takes some creativity to extract it, using different tools and tactics.
Where Does It Come From? Businesses gather hard data through various means, including online accounts, transactions, and preferences. Most companies record all kinds of interactions they have with customers, including phone calls and online chats.

Humans and computer devices, like the Internet of Things (IoT), collect hard data. This hard data provides the foundation of a client’s 360-degree view, a picture of a customer’s behavior as he or she interacts with business products and services.

A business obtains soft data from its subtleties in hard data. For example, a business records a customer sent an email, hard data describing communication medium. When a business analyzes email contents, it will understand customer feelings around a product or service.

Soft data is essential as it comes together with hard data to give an accurate 360-degree view of a customer. It tells a business about how a customer feels about their product. Plus, it helps all the departments.

Why Is It Important? Businesses use hard data to get in touch with customers and turn customers into long-term clients. It also allows them to offer a personalized experience to customers by providing them exactly what they want. Businesses can use this information to improve products and services and get a better client 360-degree view. Plus, when a company uses soft data well, the buyer experience becomes customized.
How Is This Data Handled? Businesses use various software, typically known as customer relationship management (CRM), to keep hard data safe and secure. Employees have to update this data now and then, ensuring they provide the best services to all their customers, including potential clients. Some businesses have individuals who go through all chats and emails to collect data. However, since big companies have tons of daily correspondence, it may not be feasible to hire a team to look into soft data. Companies solve the problem by often using bots and software to grasp the tone of a message.

What Does a 360-degree Customer View Tell?

Like a crystal ball, a 360-degree customer view gives excellent insights into the present, past, and future.

The Past:

The client 360-view shows his or her interactions with your services or products in the past. You will be able to see a customer’s buying history, including:

 

  • Service or product activity
  • All past interactions
  • Product views
  • Process history
  • Marketing and sales campaign activity

The Present

Present data gives a customer a 360-degree view that gauges where a client stands in the buying cycle. Organizations get information such as:

 

  • The background of the buyer
  • Current or pending queries or issues related to the customer service
  • The context behind customer-business interactions
  • The customer’s involvement with the organization
  • Current or pending customer orders

The Future

A client’s 360-degree view, comprised of past and present data, offers insights into the future. When you start a business, you want to grow it, using data from a client 360 view for the long haul.

 

A company uses the customer data they have gathered to build long-term relationships with clients. Moreover, the business finds tools and information to cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

Customer Data Problems That Can Be Solved with a 360 View

Customers today expect personalized initiatives – so much so that generic emails, offers, and unsolicited pitches are frowned upon, blocked, or worse publicly shamed on social media.

 

Companies need to rely more and more on their data rather than on assumptions to create specific targeted campaigns and be able to measure success. To make it challenging, GDPR rules and privacy limitations set by tech companies have made it all the more challenging to obtain granular data on customer behaviors. This means organizations have to become innovative and discover ways to create personalized experiences, keep in check with data privacy laws *and* obtain ROI. Tough call isn’t it!

 

Here’s how a customer 360 view can solve most of these problems and keep everyone happy.

 

1 . Personalization: Companies can use a 360-customer view to identify and cater to individual customer needs by creating personalized experiences. For instance, a fashion retailer can analyze their customers’ purchase history across all channels, as well as their preferences, interests, and demographics to create bundle offers that can only be availed by someone with a loyalty card. This will not only help them target their customers more effectively but also build brand loyalty.

 

2 . Customer journey: With a 360-degree customer view, businesses can gain an in-depth understanding of the customer journey from initial contact to purchase and beyond. This allows customer service teams to anticipate customer needs better and provide a more personalized service experience for customers. For example, a 360-degree view can provide insight into what types of communication and advertising channels have been most effective for each particular customer, how long it took them to make purchases, which products they are most interested in, and what type of follow-up interactions might be needed after their first purchase.

 

3 . Segmentation: By gaining a comprehensive understanding of different types of customers, companies can use a 360 customer view to segment them into distinct groups or profiles with shared characteristics and behaviors. This understanding can then be used in targeted campaigns that are designed according to the needs of each group, boosting engagement and conversions rates significantly.

 

4 . Cross-selling & Upselling: Armed with insights gained from a 360 customer view, companies can identify opportunities for cross-selling or upselling products/services that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. For example, they could suggest complementary products based on past purchases or offer discounts/promotions to loyal customers as an incentive for additional spending on their platform.

 

5 . Retention: Companies can leverage a 360 customer view to identify factors associated with churn or decreased engagement levels among their customers. With this data at hand, they can then take proactive steps towards improving retention rates such as providing timely support when needed or offering special deals and discounts that incentivize people to stay on board for longer periods of time.

 

With a customer 360 view, your teams will no longer need to spend hours daily finding and verifying information before initiating a task.

How Do I Get a Customer 360 View?

Interesting question! Getting a customer 360 view is a strategic process, and involves multiple steps.

 

Let’s see how you can create a customer 360 view with an example.

 

An airline wants to create more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns, as well as improve the overall customer experience by understanding the customer’s needs, preferences, and behaviors. For this, they will start with:

 

  • Booking and reservation data: This can include information about a customer’s flight history, seat preferences, and loyalty program membership.

 

  • Customer service interactions: This can include data from phone calls, emails, and social media interactions with the customer.

 

  • Onboard experience data: This can include data about a customer’s in-flight purchases and any feedback they provided during the flight.

 

  • Demographic data: This can include information about a customer’s age, gender, location, and income level.

 

The traditional process of getting this customer 360 view starts with the marketing team requesting IT or data analysis team for the data, who will then perform the following steps:

what is customer 360

a)   Collect the data:  Customer data stored in the organization’s database is easy to collect. It’s the booking data streaming in from external sources such as a booking site or a partner site that will pose a challenge. For this, the IT team will have to combine multiple data sources to connect to the existing customer database. 

 

b)   Clean and organize the data: Once the data is collected and consolidated, it needs to be prepared and transformed. This might involve data de-duplication, filling in missing data, and standardizing data formats.

 

c) Combining the data: : Next, data from the sources are combined into a single repository. This might involve exporting data from multiple systems or integrating data from different sources using APIs. The repository may be an Excel file, or a platform like Oracle. 

 

d) Create master records: The now prepared and transformed data becomes a clean master record that can be used to feed into a visualization platform.

 

Problems with the traditional approach: 

According to Tom Anderson, IT Manager at a manufacturing firm, this traditional approach is, “time consuming, and quite frankly, soul crushing.” We agree. Wholeheartedly. More than being a mundane task, it is also a highly isolating one where IT users are responsible for treating data that marketing owns. Moreover, limiting the data processing to only IT users creates an extra layer of dependency leading to unnecessary delays. You should not have to spend weeks in acquiring data for insights or analytics.

The solution?

Aligning people, processes, and technology to achieve faster results.

 

People: Provide training for business users in basic data management which must include identifying, correcting, and maintaining data quality. This doesn’t mean they have to do IT’s job. It just means that they should be able to handle their departmental data with limited reliance on IT support.

 

Processes: If it’s not possible to involve business users, then IT users need to have better processes where they are empowered with automated solutions to get the job done. Not every data related task needs coding, scripting, or Excel mastery – which leads us to the final point.

 

Technology: With data matching and cleaning solutions easily available, there is no need for IT or business users to have to code scripts for tasks like data cleaning and matching, all of which are part of creating a customer 360 view. A solution like WinPure allows even business users to easily match, clean, and transform data for business purposes.

 

The business landscape today is too dynamic to afford layers of dependencies between departments, and to have smart people do basic, mundane tasks that can easily be done by an automated solution!

 

How Does a Customer 360 View Affect Your Industry

Customer 360 views are now becoming increasingly important across industries. Some of the key industries that can benefit with a customer 360 view include:

 

Manufacturing

With effective segmentations (as a benefit of a customer 360 view implementation), manufacturers can focus on delivering targeted products and services. Moreover, manufacturers can use the view to inform product design decisions, identify market opportunities in a fiercely competitive market, and track their success rate with customers over time.

 

For example, a manufacturer of outdoor gear might use customer 360 views to identify customers who are interested in eco-friendly products. The manufacturer could then use this information to create targeted marketing campaigns for these customers and develop new eco-friendly products to meet their needs.

 

Insurance

In the insurance industry, a customer 360 view can provide valuable insights into a policyholder’s risk profile, allowing for better pricing and risk management decisions. By understanding a customer’s behavior more completely, insurance providers can better understand their customer’s preferences and needs and tailor policies that are more closely aligned with them. This could result in improved customer retention and loyalty, as they receive policies tailored to their particular situation.

 

Banks and Credit Unions

Banks can use customer 360 views to identify how customers may use their products, such as checking accounts and savings accounts, to gain a deeper understanding of the customer’s financial situation and profile. Depending on the information obtained, banks can offer personalized credit options or even increase credit spending limits.

 

Another great advantage of having access to customer 360 views is being able to anticipate pitfalls before they become full-fledged problems. For example, a customer 360 view can reveal the family status of customers – perhaps they got married or divorced, had children, or have grown children entering college, etc. It may become apparent that certain expenses exceed what is manageable for their income level—thus making them a potential risk for defaulting on payments in the future.

 

Healthcare

Healthcare organizations often have to manage a high volume of patient data, which can be challenging when getting an accurate overview of the patient’s health history. With 360 customer views, healthcare providers can gain real-time insights into their patient’s health, lifestyle, and preferences.

 

For example, customer 360 views give access to a variety of data about the patient – such as family history, current medications, or any chronic conditions – to identify potential risks. The provider can then act on this information quickly, and accurately make recommendations tailored to the individual patient’s needs. More importantly, it can also help in identity resolution and entity resolution which are critical requirements of healthcare data. 

To Conclude

Customer 360 views are an important component of digital transformation initiatives, however, they require a strategic approach that must involve both business and IT users to create impact. Without a holistic customer view, companies will continue to struggle with growth initiatives and in the process risk the alienation of their customers.

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Farah Kim

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Farah Kim is a human-centric product marketer and specializes in simplifying complex information into actionable insights for the WinPure audience. She holds a BS degree in Computer Science, followed by two post-grad degrees specializing in Linguistics and Media Communications. She works with the WinPure team to create awareness on a no-code solution for solving complex tasks like data matching, data deduplication, and MDM.

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