Why You Need a 360-Degree Customer View
One of the greatest challenges facing any business today is getting a comprehensive view of their customers. Most businesses have multiple data sources, each containing some customer information, but these systems aren’t integrated. There is no quick, easy, and reliable way for businesses to access all the information needed about their customers, and as a result, the customer experience suffers.
Today’s consumers are looking beyond simply price and product features; rather, they are basing their brand loyalty on customer experience. Brands that can maintain a 360-degree view of their customer often thrive in the new data-driven climate and are able to provide a superior customer experience.
To illustrate the competitive advantage that integration can unlock for, say, insurers, let’s consider a customer interaction with an automobile insurance company when they report an accident. When an insurance company’s systems are properly integrated, all the relevant information can be fed into various systems across multiple departments and branches. This allows claims to be handled quickly and efficiently, circumventing the need to ask numerous questions and collect information that the company already has, but cannot access.
If data isn’t shared with other departments in real time, then there will be internal confusion and complications with the claim. Depending on their experience filing an insurance claim, the customer may decide either to increase their coverage or look for another underwriter.
Lack of Integration Impedes Business
When you have disparate, disconnected data systems, it can cause delays, errors, and frustration for both customers and employees. This not only affects company revenue but also harms team morale and efficiency. These factors can prevent companies from gaining a 360-degree view of their customers:
Disparate data sources. To make intelligent decisions, businesses need to have access to all the relevant data. That involves integrating data from multiple sources to give businesses a single comprehensive view of their customers. When data remains in silos, extracting the information needed for deeper business insights and analysis can be challenging. Siloed data is of limited value. If businesses can’t integrate their data, they can’t leverage that data to make better business decisions, which means operations become reactive rather than proactive.
Different data types. Data can be structured, unstructured, or semi-structured, depending on the system that the data is stored in. Different databases use different data formats, so even when businesses integrate their disparate systems the information may still be inaccessible. Manually extracting, transforming and loading (ETL) data so it can be integrated between disconnected systems can be tedious. That’s why businesses need the right integration solution to properly integrate disparate data sources.
Inefficient manual processes. Without the proper tools in place, data management must be done manually. Manual processes are slower and more prone to errors and inaccuracies. Data ingestion and conversion are better handled as automated processes, promoting greater consistency and accuracy that ultimately save time and money.
Dead-end processes. Too often businesses don’t consider whether their data integration solutions are scalable and extensible. Businesses choose solutions to meet today’s requirements but don’t consider future needs, such as adding new channels, new systems, and new teams. Without the right built-in scalability and flexibilities, businesses could be building dead-end solutions that quickly become outdated. This means IT teams will have to spend valuable time and resources designing new solutions to address old problems.
Achieving a 360-Degree Customer View
Companies are using an array of data channels to keep tabs on their customers. Data sitting in disparate systems is of little value unless it can be consolidated with other data for useful business purposes. To do this, businesses will need a platform that can aggregate data from multiple sources and store that data in one place, and then push the consolidated data into their CRM systems to achieve a 360-degree view of their customers.
More companies are adopting hybrid integration platforms (HIPs) to integrate data and ensure that the right data is accessible to the right person at the right time. HIPs enable disparate inbound data flows to be aggregated and synthesized, normalizing the data and loading the output into multiple systems where it can be used for market, sales, support, and other applications.
To deliver a superior, personalized experience, businesses need a nimble, simple, and powerful hybrid integration platform that can solve multiple data challenges. Having the ability to apply a 360-degree view so you can adapt to customer expectations quickly and efficiently is a true competitive advantage.
Jamie Peers is the vice president of business development and alliances for Synatic, overseeing strategic partnerships, business growth, and GTM strategies.