Achieving a Single Customer View allows an organisation to see each of their customers in a holistic view. It is essentially a joining of all data relating to an individual customer in such a way that all relevant data can be viewed and acted upon at each customer “touch point”. As such, achieving a Single Customer View is a pre-requisite of any successful CRM solution.
Single Customer View (SCV) is closely related to Customer Data Integration (CDI).
It is important to recognise a distinction between a “snapshot” SCV and a managed SCV.
A snapshot SCV essentially involves extracting all customer data from all data sources across an organisation and performing the necessary formatting, parsing, sorting and matching in order to match / merge the data into a predefined format. This is what UK financial services organisations were compelled to do in order to comply with the FSA regulations relating to a faster payment. This can be thought of as a predefined ETL process which creates a snapshot view of customer data at a point in time.
A managed or operational SCV provides a real-time (or near real-time) view of customers. The requirement here is to ensure that any changes relating to an individual customer are reflected in the SCV and made available to all interested parties across the organisation within an agreed time frame. Changes may include a new order being created, a new query, a change of address, a late payment, termination of relationship, update of suppression data.
The strategies for creating an operational SCV fall into two camps:-
- Perform a migration of data from all systems into a single database.
- Leave data in its current source systems but create a virtual SCV.
Both strategies have merits and pitfalls and which is chosen will depend on specific circumstances. However both approaches require that an organisation agrees on a number of issues: –
- What is the definition of a customer?
- What views are required – individual, family, household, organisation?
- What data is required to support the SCV?
- Impact of SCV on existing business processes
A successful SCV implementation can provide an organisation with significant benefits: –
- Effective CRM
- Effective and accurate BI
- Effective and accurate data warehousing
- Reduced costs – storage, processing, contact
- Competitive edge
Achieving an operational Single Customer View is complex and challenging from both a technical and a business perspective. It requires a comprehensive grasp of other data disciplines i.e. Data Quality, Data Management, Data Governance and Entity Resolution.
For a straightforward view on the why’s and wherefores of creating a SCV, and to avoid common pitffalls, contact SCV Data Consultants.