From concept to reality: achieving the Single Customer View


Fundamental to the concept of a Single Customer View is the understanding that customers are at the heart of business operations and marketing strategies. In the information age, this isn’t a ‘soft’ aspiration — it is one that is central to successful businesses.

The proliferation of new channels means that customers now have far more power, with the ability to influence other consumers, and have access to a far greater range of providers, making competition for businesses and brands incredibly fierce.

Being able to listen to consumers, learn from them and then go on to leverage this information for better engagement is, today, critical if businesses are to be competitive. But fast emerging and evolving channels, such as: the web, mobile phone and social media, mean that there are more sources that are generating a lot more data.

The prices and prizes of a SCV – Customer impact

As research* commissioned by Experian Marketing Services to establish business attitudes to and progress towards the Single Customer View shows, an incomplete picture of customer expectations carries a heavy price, with a significant percentage of customers walking away from companies that don’t listen, market irrelevant products, contact through a channel asked not to and offer products already refused (see table below for details).

On the other side of the coin, customers indicate that a company’s active and intelligent engagement with them encourages desirable behaviours (see details in the table below).

SCV blog post - consumer table


The prices and prizes of a SCV – Business impact

As well as unfocused customer engagement, businesses report a range of adverse effects owing to the lack of progress towards an SCV (see table below for details).

It is also clear from the survey that CMOs are increasingly aware of the impact that greater leverage from data generally, and the SCV specifically, can bring to their businesses. The major themes associated with SCV that have emerged from our research are fundamental business drivers (see details in the table below).

SCV blog post - business table


Tips for a safer journey

Implementing a Single Customer View is one of the fundamental success factors to create a modern, competitive company. It demands cultural and systemic changes if the customer is to drive business priorities and marketing strategies.

This is a highly specialised area and demands equally specialised input, but the following pointers will help businesses to achieve a SCV:

  1. Be ready for business-wide change: this isn’t a simple initiative; it crosses all customer data sources within a business and may cut across business units as well as channel functions.
  2. Senior ownership: whilst this isn’t a top down process, it needs championing at a level of seniority that’s sufficient to drive change across the business.
  3. Technology driven: while benefits are business-wide, IT is critical to success and must be empowered to deliver.
  4. Focus: Single Customer View is an enabler, with sometimes hard to see direct benefits, so focus is needed to ensure it doesn’t slip down the list of priorities.
  5. Clear objectives: good project management and clear definition of goals, rules and data sources are required.
  6. Know where you are now: conduct an honest appraisal of current data quality capabilities and how to improve them.
  7. Resources that match demands: issues tend to arise from lack of funding or resource —so ensure the Single Customer View project is planned, budgeted and resourced adequately. Use external suppliers where appropriate.
  8. Scope: poor project scoping can be an issue. Prioritise key data feeds in the initial phases whilst allowing for new data feeds to be integrated at a later stage.
  9. Proper processes: the wrong implementation processes, lack of buy in to the changes in operational units and having to deal with legacy applications can all impede progress, so ensure that these are anticipated.
  10. Testing: insufficient testing is also a challenge — this may be a time constraint, lack of planning or lack of resource within the business units to test the new rules and data linkages together. Make sure this is factored into planning at the very earliest stage.

Contact us for more information about the Single Customer View

* Striving for a Single Customer View, Experian Feb 2012 – sample of 400 UK businesses


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