I recently spent 30 minutes trying to solve a problem in the customer service section of a service provider's website. Frustrated I picked up the phone and called them. The representative answered and somehow already knew my exact problem, and asked how he could help solve it. How did this happen? How did my web digging lead to a representative already knowing the topic of my query? The answer is by having a 360-degree view of the customer, with all digital platforms united so that information can diffuse to the exact place it is most needed thus best utilized.

This type of digital unification, bringing data and platforms together resulting in actionable intelligence, represents one of the single greatest business opportunities that digital technology offers. It will be the defining trend of the digital economy in the coming years.

Why? Because the possibilities and permutations are immense:

  • Recognizing an eCommerce purchaser in-store and vice versa
  • Triage on a customer who has just had a negative customer experience instead of hitting them with previously planned marketing campaigns
  • An email or re-targeted banner campaign based on a user's visit to your Web site
  • Not sending an expensive direct mail piece to a loyal customer who has bought the same item regularly and probably doesn’t need the reminder
  • Knowing what up-sells and cross-sells to recommend based on data obtained from 3rd party sources that is merged into your own database

The results and rewards are equally immense:

  • A data-driven approach to understanding prospects and customers
  • Cross-channel marketing (e.g. advertising, email, direct mail, in person events)
  • Dramatically improved and streamlined customer experience
  • Increased digital revenue and new digital business models

Companies quickly understand the potential impact of customer-360 capability, but struggle with the seemingly huge burden of making it happen. Implementing changes into the core CRM, ERP, Marketing Platform, Order Processing systems and the like are often time consuming and the ROI is hard to predict. Fortunately, there is a piecemeal way to develop customer-360 capabilities within months, not years.

The piecemeal way forward is to pull data into a ‘sandbox’ that is unstructured, and let the information tell you what can be done. We’ve done this successfully with many of our clients at dprism. Free-form analysis is very often much better than hard matching and it is done by solving specific use cases. We learn, improve and, after a few use cases, conduct an analysis which shows which areas should be prioritized to fix in the core systems. One step at a time, the core systems will improve and a healthy cycle of enhanced marketing and customer experience pays off.

Start paying attention to how your favorite digital businesses are creating a 360-degree view of you. Pay attention to how this improves (or worsens) your customer experience. Learn how it affects you and use it to capitalize on the biggest opportunity in digital business.