Your company has two choices: market harder or market smarter. If you choose to market harder, you need to increase your budget and grow your audience each year. The other option is to market smarter. This involves improving your targeting and strategy to better reach potential buyers. It also involves improving customer service to improve retention.
Marketing smarter allows you to market harder. You can improve your ROI and then reinvest the money you save into additional channels. One tool that strategic marketers can utilize is a single customer view (SCV), which pulls data from multiple sources to create a unified experience across channels and devices.
Editor’s Note: some professionals refer to a single customer view (SCV) as a single view of the customer (SVC). These acronyms are interchangeable for the most part, and we chose the use the SCV option for clarity.
What is a Single Customer View?
The single customer view (SCV) was developed in response to our multichannel digital world. For years, marketers struggled to reconcile how customer conversations and engagements that started on one channel turned into conversions on another one.
Marketers would lose customers on mobile devices who switched to a desktop.
They would lose customers who started on social media and then reached out to the call center.
This disconnect results in incomplete analytical data, duplicate results, and bad customer experiences.
SCV utilizes existing data from multiple sources to marry various customer engagements and create a single view. With this information, an unresolved customer complaint via email is solved when a customer calls into the center or visits a store. Brands can also lean the different paths customers take in the customer journey to learn how they can improve the process and invest in better solutions.
Each company has its own level of data maturity, or the strength of connections and communication across channels. Companies with level one and two data maturity levels are most at risk of losing customers because of these disconnects and a clear lack of a SCV.
“Customers expect that retailers know their preferences, order history, contact history and all interactions with the brand – both for the specific customer and their household,” Dave Cherry at Cherry Advisory, LLC tells Forbes. “Without [SCV], retailers may make costly mistakes that negatively impact service, conversion and loyalty.”
Essentially, customers expect your brand to have a high level of data maturity because other companies are already providing them with the experience that you can’t.
A Single Customer View Improves Customer Service
If you want to see examples of differentiation of customer service across multiple channels, tweet at a handful of brands and see how they respond. Some social media teams have the ability to solve customer complaints. They can cancel orders or change bookings right from Twitter. Meanwhile, other teams just direct you to call the customer help line. The latter option doesn’t provide customer service at all. Web users could save time cutting out the twitter feed and just call after looking up the number online.
Unfortunately for these laggard social media teams, more customers than ever expect quality customer service on social media. More than half (54%) of customers prefer social messaging over phone or email for customer service and it costs an average of six times more to solve a customer problem through a call center instead of through social media.
The communication and resource problems on social media lie in departmental differentiation. A company might outsource its social media with direction from the marketing department while its customer service team is run by another department through another company in another state. There is no unified experience or real strategic planning.
Developing a single customer view (SCV) creates a cohesive process for addressing customer service concerns regardless of the channel. Furthermore, customers can bounce from one channel to the next without quality changes or disruption.
A Single Customer View Increases ROI Through Better Targeting
While brands might focus on customer service opportunities when they start developing their SCV models, there are additional benefits both to the customer and the brand. Knowing your customer means knowing how they want to interact with your brand and what they need.
A clear picture can help you improve your brand messaging, give you a better idea for when to market to your customers, and hone your marketing efforts to reach likely buyers instead of relying on mass broadcasting.
Internally, a clearer picture of the customer improves your marketing attribution. Google Analytics tries to reconcile the customer journey through its Top Conversion Paths view, but this data is often lacking and unclear to someone who doesn’t have an experienced analytical eye. With a SCV, you can clearly see which channels are most responsible for sales and improved customer care. Plus, you can see which channels are essential in the buying process, offering assists that push customers along the sales funnel until they are ready to buy.
With better marketing attribution, you can allocate your budget to for better targeting. With better targeting, you get the right message in front of the right customers at the right time — increasing your conversions and sales.
What Does a SCV Contain?
Brands can develop their own single customer view in a variety of ways. Your team needs to determine which information is the most valuable to audiences and what can help your team track shoppers from one platform to the next. A SCV typically pulls three kinds of data:
- Transaction data: essential customer service information related to past and pending transactions, customer communication history, and interaction history with the brand.
- Demographics: physical demographics like gender, age, and geo, interests, lifestyle, income, and buyer persona.
- Behavioral patterns: data relating to how and when they buy, what types of items they need and how they use them, which social channels they use, and how they communicate with the brand.
Brands looking to develop a single customer view need to focus on collecting good data instead of excess data. Just because you have hundreds of data points on a customer doesn’t mean you have valuable information — especially if you are so overwhelmed by the volume that you can’t make strategic decisions. Additionally, brands are often so focused on collecting data internally that they ignore third-party data sources that can help close gaps in customer information and paint a more valuable picture.
Without careful planning, you could have an incomplete or inaccurate SCV.
Evaluate Your Data Maturity to Build a SCV
At Trinity Insight, we constantly strive to market smarter through improved data services. We believe that winning marketers need to be data-obsessed and know how to navigate our increasingly analytical world.
Start by taking our five-minute self-assessment to see how your data strategy stacks up and let us help you if your data maturity level is lower than you would like.