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  • David Orwick

How To Build a Single Customer View

As competition rises in every industry, customers choose brands more often based on their experience with a company. Consumers want to know that a business truly cares about them and can deliver a personalized experience.

For an organization with millions of customers, that may sound impossible, but with a little strategy and one helpful piece of technology, any business can create a single customer view to deliver personalized experiences for each and every customer.

What is a single customer view?

To understand the concept of a single customer view, it’s first helpful to know what it is not. A single customer view is not an amalgamation of all your customers’ interactions to create a single concept that reflects your entire customer base. That’s called your ideal customer profile.

Instead, a single customer view is a 360-degree view into one specific customer’s needs and desires based on all the interactions he or she has had with your brand. It helps you learn what products or services are most helpful to that one person and how they prefer to talk to you.

But why does that matter? According to Walker, customer experience will eclipse both price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020. And that experience isn’t just about face-to-face interactions.

Customers want an experience that meets their needs, is easy to use and creates an emotional connection, and they’re making that judgment based on what happens in all your channels, including your IVR, contact center, outbound notifications, website, web chat, social media and more. If something bad happens in one channel, it hurts their entire image of your brand.

For enterprise-level outfits, that means keeping track of millions of people across billions of transactions. But with strategy, technology and automation, forming a single customer view for each person is possible without stressing your organization.

If that still sounds too hard or confusing, here are a few key concepts and action steps to focus on today, as well as one piece of technology that can help you start building a single customer view for all your customers.

1. A multichannel approach

There are many channels for your customers to get in touch with you. How many, you ask? Well for starters, there’s:

PhoneEmailWeb chatChatbot

One-way textTwo-way textWebsiteMobile site

IVRContact centerStore clerkFacebook

TwitterFaxMailCarrier pigeon

You probably don’t need to start installing a pigeon coop in your mail room. But it is important to make at least a few of these options available to all your customers and ensure data is being shared between them. So consider starting with these four big ones:

  • IVR

  • Contact Center

  • Text (SMS)

  • Website

Each of these let your customers communicate in a unique way. An IVR is great for self-service, but callers may give more in-depth information to a contact center agent. And texting is a more convenient option that lets them communicate in short bursts wherever they are.

Limited channels restrict customers from using their channel of choice, which affects the information they share. Companies build single customer views based on data, so make sure your communication environment invites customers to interact on their terms.

2. Collecting data from all channels

Step two is harvesting customer data from each of those channels. There are many IVR, contact center and text message vendors out there, so make sure you choose a partner who automates this process and supports in-depth analysis tools to make the most out of your solution. Regardless of the vendor you choose, there are two key steps you need to take.


At each customer’s first interaction, record his or her name, address and contact information, and assign it to a personal identification number (PIN). From this pin, create a personal customer profile to access during every interaction.


But after harvesting data, the farming metaphor comes to an end. Don’t keep your data stored in silos, where it’s only accessible to contact center agents, IVR designers, etc. Instead, share that data across the organization.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem in business. In a recent survey, 46 percent of executives cited operational silos as a key challenge in leveraging customer data. It was the most commonly cited challenge in the survey.

Customers don’t see separate groups operating different channels. They see one brand, and while they chose to contact you first by phone, for example, they may reach out via text next time. And they expect to be recognized and remembered.

3. The right technology to bring it all together

So far, you’ve set up the right channels to collect the data and created a process to continually add data to a customer’s profile. But you still need a way to easily view this information and make actionable changes.

Some communication technology companies offer IVR, text and contact center solutions, but that doesn’t mean the data is automatically added to a central repository. And if your organization uses services from different vendors, gathering data out of silos is even more challenging.

A data-aggregation tool, like Communications Hub, streamlines CX by collecting communication data across every channel, regardless of vendor.

Personalized experiences for every customer

Creating a single customer view doesn’t have to be a stressful process. It’s simply a matter of collecting data from a variety of channels and finding a communication partner who can help you process and act upon it.

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