What is the Single Customer View?

Single Customer View (SCV) is the consolidation of all the data a brand has on an individual customer, across all of the channels and touchpoints they interact with you on, presented in a way that is easy to access and action. You’ll also see the Single Customer View referred to as a data hub, 360 degree view, or a “unified” view.

It includes things like the customer’s geodemographics, transactional history (purchase, booking etc.), engagement history (channels e.g. web/mobile, frequency, devices, time on-site or in-app, purchases), opt-in permissions or subscription status for marketing messages and so on. It’s vital however under GDPR that an SCV only stores information that a brand has a legitimate reason for holding. 

A SCV is highly sought after by brands across every vertical. It helps them improve targeting and provide personalised, relevant experiences. Recent legislation regarding consumer privacy (e.g. GDPR) has also made it an essential part of managing legal obligations. This article covers each of these aspects in more detail.

What are the benefits of a Single Customer View?

The potential impact of gaining a Single Customer View is significant, offering value in several core areas; data management, marketing/customer engagement and GDPR compliance.

  • Data Management

By collecting all of your data together in one location, the accuracy and integrity of this data becomes easier to maintain. It dramatically reduces the risk of duplicate or incorrect information, as well as evening the playing field between different departments. Within organisations who use a variety of disconnected data management tools, you will find that different departments (sales, marketing, customer success/support) have hugely different amounts of data to work from.

  • Personalised marketing and customer engagement

If you aspire to genuine personalised, one-to-one marketing then a SCV is essential. It will allow you to create highly targeted micro-segments of customers which factor in multiple data types (behavioural and transactional). Not only that but it will enable you to orchestrate multichannel campaigns, with a clear understanding of which channels each customer prefers to be engaged on.

  • GDPR compliance 

And finally, the Single Customer View is the most effective and efficient means to ensure your organisation remains GDPR compliant. With all of a customer’s interactions, opt-ins and subscriptions clearly presented you can access, modify, delete or export a profile quickly. With Subject Access Requests (as outlined in article 15 of GDPR) becoming more and more commonplace, this level of capability is increasingly seen as a non-negotiable.

How do you achieve a Single Customer View?

This is the important question. The need for a SCV is now obvious, but the route to actually achieving that capability has proven a significant challenge for many organisations. Yet, the SCV has been written about for close to 20 years at this point so it’s certainly not a new concept.

What has changed, however, is the range of data being collected, a reflection of changes in consumer behaviour. Customers now engage with the brands they choose across any number of channels and devices, both offline and online.

Typically, within the average organisation, data is acquired through multiple methods and stored in different locations. This leads to creation of data silos.  Whilst you might have said that a solid CRM system was sufficient by itself back in the early 2000s, marketers now need something more substantial to act as the “single source of truth”. 

What sources of data are required for a SCV?

Below are some examples of what’s needed to formulate a true, modern Single Customer View. It’s likely that there will be some overlap in terms of data types between the tools listed below. 

  • CRM system or Business Intelligence tool

Although there are specialised solutions used by brands across different verticals, fundamentally what we’re talking about here are tools where the bulk of “biographical” information on the customer is stored e.g. name, home address, email address, purchases etc

  • Behavioural data

This is a vital type of data that brands consistently struggle to get an accurate picture of, and it includes all of the various actions a customer or prospect might take on your website or within your mobile app. There are a few ways of gathering this data, but at Xtremepush we simplify it by deploying our SDK (Software Development Kit) onto a brand’s website and/or mobile app. Essentially, this is a short snippet of code that allows the Xtremepush platform to communicate with these properties and vice-versa.

Once this has been set up (a matter of days), the Xtremepush platform immediately begins to collect and sort important information on individual users, tracking their time on site, number of sessions and pages viewed and so on. This gives you a clear understanding of each user’s journey.

Through an integration with Google Tag Manager you can also segment users based on the different events and tags they have triggered. Classically, these are things like items added to a shopping cart, or cart-abandonment.

  • Subscriptions systems, Point of Sale systems, eCommerce platforms, core banking solutions etc

Depending on the vertical you operate in, you will likely have a solution that powers your core business model in some way. The types of data collected here include purchase history and total spend to-date, loan propensity, lifetime value and so on.

  • Engagement tools 

 Ideally, you want to know which campaigns and messages your audience has engaged with throughout their customer lifecycle. The most obvious example here would be your email service provider, as it’s a universally used channel. 

However, with the rise of mobile-first marketing and mobile-centric channels like push notifications, the challenge for marketers is to pull all of the engagement data from multiple engagement tools together in one location. It is especially difficult to achieve when working with point solutions.

This is one of the reasons why we advocate for consolidating your engagement channels into one platform and reducing the number of providers in your marketing stack. The other reasons, just to be clear, are lower operating costs and cost-to-serve, easier execution of multichannel campaigns and more robust automation capabilities.

  • GDPR and marketing permissions

Compliance with data privacy legislation is a crucial element of modern marketing. Beyond the danger of substantial financial penalties, it’s also important from a customer-relationship perspective.

A Single Customer View is essential when it comes to managing customer profiles, as it represents the most complete picture of all the data you hold about individual customers.

Marketing permissions and Personally Identifiable Information (PII) must be updated in real time as soon as a customer opts out or requests that a change is made to their profile. If you are reliant on scheduled batch uploads, then you are always open to the risk of sending campaigns sent in error before the update has happened.

Where is this data merged for a Single Customer View?

The solution is a single repository that can merge all of this data. A certain degree of sophistication is required here in order to “clean” the data, match it up to individual customers and then present it clearly.

Within the last decade, one particular type of technology solution has been praised for its ability to deliver a Single Customer View; the Customer Data Platform (CDP).

This is a purpose-built tool with the ability to ingest data from all available sources and prepare it for actioning

That last word cannot be overstated. Having all of this rich customer data is fantastic, but unless you can also action it as well it’s little more than a vanity project. Where CDP’s excel, in comparison with a Data Warehouse for example, is in their ability to seamlessly integrate with executional tools (e.g. your ESP, or better still your multichannel marketing hub or mobile marketing platform).

According to some estimates, 99.5% of the data that is collected globally is wasted. In other words, brands are sitting on a treasure-chest of data that they simply do not, or cannot, use. A CDP allows you to leverage this data in a practical way to deliver “win-win” outcomes for both you and your customers.

The image below does a great job of summarising how a Customer Data Platform functions.

Steps 1 (Data Collection) and 2 (Profile Unification) are the building blocks of the Single Customer View.

Wrapping Up

Xtremepush is a world-leading customer engagement, personalisation and data platform purpose-built for multichannel and mobile marketing. One of the platform’s core aspects is its capacity to deliver a comprehensive Single Customer View combined with the ability to execute campaigns based on this insight. Talk to us today to learn more about how we can help your business acquire new customers and communicate more effectively with your existing customers.