As business intelligence professionals, you have most probably come face-to-face with the words Customer 360. Have you wondered what this subject is all about? I know I have. In today’s fast-paced and data-driven world, the fight to understand your customers, and in turn make and keep them happy is the single most valuable asset in customer-facing work. This is where Customer 360 enters the picture.

So what is it?

In a nutshell, Customer 360, or the 360-degree view is the foundation that makes an organization’s relationship with customers a deeper experience. It is the key to long-standing customer relationships.

It is the understanding that companies can obtain about their customers by utilising data from various points in a customer’s journey.

Profit Software – Customer Data Hub

Gartner states that “fewer than 10% of all companies actually have customer 360 views and only 5% use this view to systematically grow their business” *. As a result, we at Profit Software have created our own solution to this, called the Profit Software Customer Data Hub.

In all organisations, customer data is often heavily fragmented and siloed. Customer data exists in CRM systems, marketing automation tools, customer feedback tools, in Sharepoint environments and most often in shared (and sometimes not shared!) drives. This makes a single view of a customer’s latest transactions difficult to obtain.

Profit Software’s Customer Data Hub allows for the creation of a single view of a customer’s latest developments from a 360 point of view. The pooling of this heavily fragmented data allows for uniform strategic customer management, improved understanding of your customer’s needs and a significant increase in customer experience and loyalty. In turn, this type of improvement in customer work will correlate to the company’s bottom line.

Understanding (and predicting) your customers

By analysing your customer’s past and present behaviour, you are able to take an analytical and educated guess on what the future entails. Using advanced analytics, we are able to map out possible upsell and cross-sell opportunities. By segmenting customers based on our knowledge of them, we can offer an alternative or ancillary solution that the customer is most likely to buy. We are able to create a customer-specific plan which addresses the specific worries and pain points that the customer in question might have. All keys to a truly unique and positive customer experience, no matter what industry segment you operate in.

Retaining your customers – and keeping them happy

The use of a Customer 360 view, means different business departments can record and share correct, meaningful data or information about a customer, regardless of the medium used. This approach allows companies to offer a professional customer interaction path with little room for mistakes along the way. Furthermore, company goals across departments are uniform, ensuring that customer satisfaction, loyalty and retainment are at high standards.

As a sales professional, I have learned that happy customers tend to remain customers. Therefore, customer satisfaction should always be at the center of your daily work. What does the customer think about this? How will the customer react? How are they doing? What keeps them up at night? If you know at least some answers to these questions, you are prepared to serve your customer better.

And when your customers are happy, they tend to buy more from you and trust you as a partner, rather than a vendor. In my opinion, there is a huge difference between the two, and at the center of this is your understanding of the customer!

Getting started

As with every data undertaking, getting started with a Customer 360 view requires planning. The following thoughts need addressing:

  • Strategy – what is your company’s strategy and value proposition to your customers. This should be the over-arching message prevalent in all of your work. If this is unclear, your customer proposition will be weak, even if your Customer 360 view is strong!
  • Culture – “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. I’m sure you have heard this famous quote from legendary management consultant and writer Peter Drucker. The key to ask yourself is whether or not your company’s culture allows for siloes to be broken and data to flow freely and diligently and whether customers are at the center of your company’s DNA
  • Data sources – figuring out your customer-related data sources sounds easy. In reality, data can be very fragmented and found in the most unusual of places. Diligent and systematic work is needed to figure this out.
  • Data quality – Without high-quality data, insights will be neither accurate or relevant. Keeping data organized and clean is the first step to being able to deliver on it. To ensure this, various processes are needed to create consistency around how data is organised and managed.

In the end, a successful 360-degree customer view is one that is built over time, based on data and fed into across departments to provide a holistic view of your customers. The key to achieving this is to start small by finding out specific use-cases and building on them as your data and analytics capabilities evolve.

At Profit Software, we are more than happy to help you along with this process. Good luck on your customer 360 journeys. It is an iterative process with ups and downs, but as long as your customer is at its center, the rewards will come.

Antti Lapinleimu
Profit Software, Sales Director – Business Intelligence & Analytics

For further discussions, don’t hesitate to contact antti.lapinleimu(at)profitsoftware.com.

*) Gartner survey