There’s a reason why enterprises from all industries prioritize “Know Your Customer” best practices. It’s because they know that customer experiences are at the heart of great day-to-day work and long-term success.
But those best practices include more than just remembering customer information. That’s just the basic stuff you need to make the sale.
Instead, a comprehensive customer management strategy, especially in today’s digital environment, goes beyond the simple details.
A robust customer relationship is experiential. It’s a complete picture – a link from beginning to end – of the customer journey, with customer touchpoints at every stage.
That’s why we call it the “360-degree customer view.”
What is a 360-degree customer view?
A 360-degree customer view encompasses every part of the customer journey. You see the past, present, and future of your company’s relationship with a customer. This step is the starting point for what makes an organization’s customer interactions experiential rather than just transactional.
Companies can obtain a comprehensive view of their customers’ stories by leveraging customer data from various types of sources. As a result, they are able to:
- Access customers’ account information quickly.
- Understand customers’ priorities and preferences.
- Anticipate future needs to create ideal consumer experiences.
But despite the importance of truly knowing your customers, the practice is not yet widespread.
According to Gartner, fewer than 10 percent of companies have a 360-degree customer view, and only about 5 percent are able to use this view to systemically grow their businesses. But those 5 percent definitely enjoy a competitive advantage.
Here are four ways in which having a 360-degree customer view gives your business an edge.
1. Enhanced customer intelligence
A 360-degree view drives your customer management strategy by providing a more complete sense of consumer attributes, activities, and priorities.
Too many teams have strategy discussions that are limited by “recency bias.” Sales reps or managers often discuss strategy by referencing a single piece of information: their most recent call with the customer.
But that call was nothing but a moment in time. It’s hardly a complete picture of the individual’s history with your company. Getting to know your customer is an ongoing process.
The amount of touchpoints available for customers to interact with, including mobile devices, video customer support, and social media, makes it challenging to gather data on customers.
Customer relationship management software offer great solutions for tracking all touchpoints throughout the customer’s lifetime. By using a CRM, your team can focus on the big picture:
- What is the customer’s purchase history? Where do they spend their money?
- Have they opened any service tickets? If so, what were their concerns?
- Can you gain any insights from their emails?
- Do they communicate with your company on social media?
One of the best ways to examine customer behavior is through social media platforms. For example, looking at your customers’ social media activity provides rich insight on their views, buying trends, and the brands they value.
Ask yourself, what captures their interest? More importantly, do they talk about your brand through any online channels? And in what context do they talk about it?
In addition, the data is unfiltered, so it gives you the ability to dive into your customer’s world through a consideration of their sociological attributes. Some examples of social listening tools that help with this include:
- Mention: Allows users to monitor their mention on any channel online using social monitoring, analytics, and competitor data.
- Hootsuite: Allows organizations to monitor mentions on social media in real time to give immediate responses. The tool displays all networks in one place, making tracking and responding simple.
- Keyhole: Allows a brand to keep an eye on specific keywords or hashtags they have goals to influence, or already are influencing.
Moreover, integration with CRM systems can take persona-creation and customer segmentation to a deeper level. Using research insights, your company can make better decisions that guide your marketing approach.
In addition, it ensures that different departments in your business are getting their information from the same source, rather than from multiple data sources. As a result, your interactions with customers are consistent across the entire team.
The best part: everything is stored in the cloud, so you don’t have to worry about losing valuable data.
2. Superior predictive analysis
It’s not just about conducting research on what your customer has done — it’s also about where they’re going. Since your CRM provides enhanced customer intelligence, you can use this data to drive predictive analytics.
This means you can report on customer behavior, use cases, and transactional trends to find new opportunities for transformation.
By leveraging SaaS and CRM integrations, you’ll have the insights and resources to:
- Drive growth.
- Maximize revenue.
- Improve customer satisfaction.
It’s about taking that complete picture of the customer’s situation — drawing on the collection of their accounts, transactions, priorities, and requests for services. And then putting the pieces together to predict where they’re headed and what they’ll need in the future.
As such, your sales reps can act upon opportunities for re-ordering, upgrades, and cross-selling. For example, are your customers interested in retargeting or cookies? What advertisements or content are they interested in?
Predictive analytics are also beneficial in helping your team leaders and executives develop sophisticated strategies for improved efficiency. If you’re trying to forecast how customers might respond to changing products, timelines, or campaigns, you can use your 360-degree view of past customer behaviors to predict their future actions.
3. Seamless customer service
Customer relationships aren’t just about driving purchases. Service is a big part of the customer journey and each customer’s happiness.
A prudent company doesn’t prepare for the “if” moment — the possibility that a customer might need help making their product run smoothly. Instead, the smart ones prepare for the “when” moment — the reality that there will be times when they must jump into action to address concerns or challenges.
How you handle those challenging calls makes all the difference to the customer’s experience. That’s why a 360-degree view is essential.
Don’t make your customers do any extra work to explain their needs or provide details about their purchase. Remember, you act as a partner, providing ease to them during a difficult time.
Instead, give your employees and service agents the education and tools they need to assess their questions quickly and respond competently. You’ll be surprised at the amount that these small steps transform shopping experiences for a consumer.
4. Improved customer loyalty
Landing a customer is important for starting a business, but keeping them coming back is the secret to long-term success. It costs six to seven times more to gain new customers than to retain existing ones.
Well-timed and informative communications are at the heart of building those ongoing customer relationships and improving customer retention.
This is another opportunity to leverage the power of an effective CRM. By anticipating customer needs and developing a strategic communication plan, you can keep your business top-of-mind.
For instance, you might use your CRM to schedule reminders for follow-up calls at specific intervals, or to send targeted email campaigns based on customer history.
Additionally, you can leverage CRM integrations with other third party applications. This ensures smoother workflows as you no longer need to switch between apps.
No matter what your business does, it’s important to truly know the people you’re serving. That’s why it’s crucial to look beyond your day-to-day interactions.
By developing a 360-degree view of your customers, you can deliver amazing experiences while setting yourself up for long-term success.
Transform your customer journey with a free trial of Method:CRM.
Image credit: Wavebreakmediamicro via Adobe Stock