In my previous posts I discussed the importance of a single view of the customer as well as effective use of social networks for customer service.  In this post I’ll talk about how implementing a single view of the customer and using social networks for customer service can not only greatly increase positive customer experiences across all channels, but also increase customer insights, and through those, revenue potential.   Organisations that understand customers’ actions and optimise engagement with behavioral insights “outperformed peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin during a recent one-year period,” according to Gallup research.
A single view of the customer enables organisations to improve their understanding of how their customers engage with them – what, where,  when, why  (why not) and how.  Organisations can use these insights to improve their channel management, campaign management, customer segmentation and personalisation as well as their organisational model to support all of these areas.

Through the customer analysis that a single view of the customer enables, companies can ask and find answers to, many questions that will guide their business strategy and decisions such as:

  • Ask What is prompting customer engagement – are they raising complaints, looking for company or product information, wishing to make a purchase, engaging with the brand and company activities, making enquiries, interacting with fellow customers, etc.

…to help inform such things as customer segmentation, resource decisions, digital channel decision, Customer Services, product design and support as well as digital channel design and build.

  • Ask Where customers are when they try to engage  – are they connecting from their laptops, tablets, mobile, phones?  Which regions of a country are more active – which countries within a region, which regions within a global company?

…to determine your channel, distribution, product development, marketing and organisational design strategies among others.

  • Ask When customers are engaging (or trying to engage) – what time of day, which day of the week, what time of year are campaigns more successful , on which holidays are customers most active, around which events, do they interact more, etc.

…to guide your campaign calendar creation, Customer Service and Social Networking team resource strategies, etc.

  • Ask Why customers are engaging – for new customers, what has encouraged them to engage – were they referred from another site, from another channel, from campaign activity, etc.  For existing customers, how often do they interact?  What prompts them to interact – if they’re not regular customers, what triggered them to re-engage? If there has been a lapse in engagement, why?

…to help shape your strategies around marketing such as campaigns, content partnerships, advertising placements, customer acquisition and retention, personalisation and product creation and customisation.

  • Ask How customers are interacting – which channels are preferred – social, phone, email, mail, web (including mobile), app, in-store/in person. Do the numbers reflect your organisation – are you backing the right horse? How do those interactions and numbers correlate to sales? 

…to determine how to manage channel investment strategy, resourcing and organisational design.

There is a wealth of information available to companies through a single view of the customer and insights through front-line customer teams.  This information can be mapped against data gathered from those channels that aren’t directly in an organisation’s control, as well such as other social sites, to present an overall picture of customers – both current customers and potential customers.
If organisations truly embrace improved customer service experience through a single view of the customer, using social for customer services and leveraging customer insights – they will reap the rewards.