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  • Allan Murego, Hitachi Consulting

Single Customer View (SCV) to Drive Improved Customer Experience

For many companies today, obtaining a 360-degree view of the customer is an essential next step. The ability to join up data across multiple channels, touch points and product lines to create a single view of the customer promises to reveal richer and deeper insights, inform targeting, enable improved joined-up customer service (e.g. orders and returns), and enable improved personification.

When considering a Single Customer View (SCV) retailers need to factor in four crucial considerations.

The SCV needs to be future-proofed, preparing for trends and developments in:

  1. Business: What is the rationale of your SCV Programme?

  2. Current Trends in Technology

  3. The Implications of New GDPR Regulations

  4. The Consumer and Public Opinion on SCV

This will significantly improve our knowledge of customers and the ability to interact in the most appropriate manner and channel.

Business: What is the Rationale of Your SCV Programme?

With most retailers the rationale it is to improve ‘business as usual’: cut costs, improve efficiencies, and improve outcomes of existing processes. Data is not only making it possible to enrich and streamline existing processes, it’s enabling the innovation of new services, business models and revenue streams.

The critical question retailers need to ask is this: when it comes to boosting brand reputation, and engaging customers, to driving new revenues and improving customer loyalty and retention, will the biggest gains come from these incremental improvements to business as usual or from innovations that create new dimensions of value for customers?

Current Trends in Technology

Current trends in technology, such as the Internet of Things, mean that while individual companies’ ability to collect data about customers is growing rapidly, the amount of data that’s being collected about these customers externally is growing much fasterthan internally.

Stepping back to look at the data environment as a whole, even as an internally focused SCV solution enhances the organisation’s capabilities, each organisation is actually seeing a smaller and smaller proportion of all the data that is now being collected about this customer.

Other technology trends such as the rise of virtual personal assistants promise to transform the ways in which customers interact with organisations. Technology is also driving increased levels of data-sharing across organisations’ boundaries: we are rapidly entering an API-driven economy.

Future-proofed SCV solutions need to prepare for this world where each organisation alone is only able to gather a declining proportion of total available data about customers, and where data sharing between entities is increasing exponentially.

The Implications of New GDPR Regulations

New regulations such as GDPR are meanwhile transforming the data relationship between customers and organisations.

GDPR creates:

  • much higher hurdles for customer consent for the collection and use of their data, including a provision that it should be as easy to withdraw consent as it is to give it.

  • multiple new rights for customers including the right to object to data processing, to ‘be forgotten’, to object to profiling, and to gain an electronic copy of the data held about them by the company.

  • strong requirements for companies to be much more transparent about their data policies and practices and to inform customers of their rights.

In short, it is bringing companies’ data relationship with customers to the fore, providing customers with much greater means to exercise control within this relationship.

Fines of up to 4% of global turnover await organisations who are found to be deliberately flouting such provisions. These changes need to be built in to be programmes that are being designed now for use in future.

Consumer and Public Opinions on SCV

A single customer view needs to take into account the mounting consumer concerns about the collection and use of their data, their growing desire for more control and the need for more value from their data.

Recent research shows:

  • 94% of consumers say they would like to take more control of the data they share, how they share it, and what they get for it

  • 86% have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints, ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email

  • 80% believe the primary use of personal data is the economic gain of companies

As new regulations such as GDPR are implemented it will become easier for consumers to act on their concerns, providing brands with increasing incentives to demonstrate trustworthiness in the collection of use of data, be more transparent, provide consumers with more control, and demonstrate added value.

Retailers Can Enrich and Future-Proof Their SCV Solutions

Retailers are implementing a SCV framework in a rapidly changing world where:

  • Data gathered about customers externally is growing faster than data collected externally

  • Data sharing between entities, including between customers and companies, is increasing and will accelerate rapidly

  • A combination of changing consumer sentiment and regulation is placing a spotlight on the health of the data relationship between the organisation and its customers, especially the need for transparency and trust

  • Consumers are expecting increased value from their data

In such a world, retailers need to develop strategies that drive trust-based data sharing to improve both company performance and add new value to customers by enhancing existing services and creating new ones.

A successful SCV is essential to achieving this, but it is not enough in itself. It’s biggest long-term contribution may be as a stepping stone and springboard to new data relationships with customers enabling new services, revenue streams and business models. A successful single customer view needs to be designed and implemented with this opportunity in mind

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