Digital Transformation: A Single View of the Customer

This is the third in a series of blog articles to answer your questions about what digital transformation means for your business and how to get started.  In the first article we explored how to weave digital technology into the core of your organization.  The second article in the series provides ideas for how to begin. This article discusses what it means to create a single view of the customer.

What exactly is a single view of the customer? In doing research for this blog post, I found that question is usually at the beginning of most blogs and papers on the subject. Many who have written about this topic then provide the Wikipedia definition of a single customer view:

single customer view (SCV) is an aggregated, consistent and holistic representation of the data known by an organization about its customers that can be viewed in one place, such as a single page. (source Wikipedia)

Exactly — with all the jargon, it’s still not all that clear what a single customer view is.

When I’m asked, I usually describe it as all the data a user would need to complete the task. In this case, a user could be your customer or an employee and the tasks will vary depending on what they are trying to do.

In the case of your customer, we would ask: are they able to find the products they want? Can they see their specific price? Does the product information have all of the data they are looking for? Not just descriptions and images but an informational video, material safety data sheets, replacement information and warranty — to name a few. This data might be accessed via the web, call center or one of your employees. Do they all have access to the same information?

For your employees — let’s say a sales person — can they see a customer’s order history? Pricing? What about touches from a marketing campaign or mentions on social? What is the customer’s lifetime value?

A marketing person may be interested to know if customers who buy across certain channels are more open to certain cross-sells and upsells. Who has clicked through the site or called into the call center? They’re looking for data that helps drive an understanding of the customer.

Putting all of the above information together is “a single view of the customer.” The main thing to remember is to drive the solution from the outside-in. That means looking at things from a customer/user perspective, not from a department or company perspective.

Why should you care?

All initiatives that drive a better user experience should be able to address at least one of the following criteria:

  • Will it drive down costs?
    • Allowing more self service allows an organization to shift work and reduce labor in certain areas
  • Will it increase sales?
    • Getting better insight to a customer’s behavior allows you to target specific offers that a buyer may not have considered.
  • Will it increase satisfaction?
    • If customers and users who serve the customer can find answers and solve problems more quickly, it will naturally increase satisfaction.
  • Will it help predict the future?
    • Not really (if it did, you could retire early). But what it can do is provide data into the various touchpoints, browsing and call center data to better inform you of trends. These trends will give you a better perspective on what people are looking for.

What do I need to make this happen?

The best way to create a single customer view is to integrate your CRM, marketing, commerce and ERP systems.  This enables the data to flow between systems, providing an omni-channel customer experience.

As mentioned above, you should consider an outside-in approach. What information do people expect and want to access? What barriers do you need to eliminate to make that information available?

Want to learn more?

Download the NTT DATA Business Solutions expert brief, Getting Started with Digitization: How to Find the Right Strategy for Your Enterprise, for insights about what digitization means for your business and how to get started on the road to digital transformation.

NTT DATA Business Solutions and SAP can help craft a solution or enhance one you already have invested in to make a Single Customer View a reality.

Look for my next blog post: Digital Transformation Key to Success: Integrations, Integrations, Integrations

Bob Meyer
Bob Meyer
Vice President of Customer Experience Solutions

I serve as the Vice President of the SAP CX line of business NTT DATA Business Solution US. I have been in the technology space for over 30 years. For the past 20+ years I have been focused on delivering CX solutions for customers. I am directly involved in providing both strategic and tactical leadership across the business. I focus on helping clients realize the potential of digital transformation to help their business grow today and into the future. I am passionate about how people can leverage technology to solve problems.

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