Today, having a great product isn’t enough. You need great customer service to match. That’s why being able to access all the customer service-related interactions, such as requests, complaints, enquiries, etc. is paramount in getting a fully comprehensive view of a customer.

The term a “360-degree view of the customer” has been used in the industry for several years. But what exactly does it mean?

The importance of 360-degree view of the customer cannot be overstated. It improves the effectiveness of all your marketing efforts, predicts the potential demand, helps salespeople to up-sell and cross sell more. Finally, 360-degree view enables companies to provide the best customer experience, increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.

The term 360 degree view of the customer designates all available and significant information about the customer collected by a company in order to provide the most personalized and efficient customer service. The concept is widely used by companies implementing customer centric approach to their business.

A 360 degrees is a relationship cycle that consists of many touchpoints where a customer meets the brand. Be it through purchases or marketing communications, via customer service or on social media.

Companies now use an increasing array of tools to develop this 360-degree view, including:

1. social media listening tools to gather what customers are saying on sites like Facebook/Twitter;
2. predictive analytics tools to determine what customers may research or purchase next;
3. customer relationship management suites;
4. marketing automation software.

So it has become more important than ever for this software to integrate with other platforms to enable data sharing and a cohesive, up-to-date, accurate view of customers. Data quality and data cleansing practices may also be necessary to attain an accurate picture of customers, where the data is current, not duplicate or conflicting, and so forth.

The 360-degree view of customers also often requires a big data analytics strategy to marry structured data, or data that can reside in the rows and columns of a database, with unstructured data as it resides on social media platforms and so forth is becoming increasingly important. Many companies are trying to develop to combine these sources of data and to analyze them in a central location.

It is a strategic approach enabling businesses to offer the best customer experience across all channels, by allowing for a unified view of all customer touchpoints with all departments involved in customer relationships.

This unified view is created by aggregating the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ data the company captures about its customers and their interactions, across multiple channels and from different data sources.

‘Hard’ data gives facts about its customers. It lets us know why the customer bought a product, made a call or sent an email. So, hard data comes from sources such as customers’ online accounts, preferences and transactions. It also includes customer interactions with a company, including calls, chats, emails, texts, social media responses and surveys. However, hard data can’t tell you how they felt when they made that call, meaning that ‘soft’ data is also needed so that the contact center can attain a full 360-degree of the customer.

‘Soft’ data is hidden in amongst hard data and can give the contact center a clearer insight into how a customer was feeling.

By combining this soft data with the hard data, the contact center can get as close as possible to the person behind the transactions – a true 360-degree view of the customer.

A key part of explaining a 360-degree view of the customer is to highlight what information would actually be displayed on each advisor’s desktop. A true 360-degree view needs to include views of the past, present and future, which should all be made available on an advisor’s desktop.

1. Past: Presenting a view of the past means providing a meaningful and easily digested view of the customer’s history. A view of the customer’s history would ideally include: product or policy activity and interaction history across all channels (incorporating community posts, recent product views, campaign activity and process history).
2. Present: Providing a view of the present requires key customer information about who they are and how they relate to the organization, but it also requires determining the context of the call.
3. Future: By understanding the past and present behaviors of a customer, businesses can take findings and map a future relationship. Using digital intelligence, it is possible to tell if there are upsell or cross-sell opportunities e.g. By analyzing what customers have previously or presently looked at, marketers and sellers can predict future buying behaviors and create a plan that addresses pain points and queries.


The Benefits of a 360-Degree View:

  1. Customer alignment (Creating lasting relationships with clients is crucial to any business. The use of an intelligent and robust CRM systems, means different departments can record and share correct, meaningful data or information about a customer, regardless of the medium used.)
  2. Predicting customer behavior (Having a 360-degree view of the customer can help the business form a closer one-to-one relationship with the customer, which in turn helps streamline the interaction);
  3. Enables predictive analysis (By collecting various pieces of the customer journey, a business can start to get a clearer picture of how customers may act. A 360-view captures each customer’s interaction history and maps out an outcome for each event);
  4.  Drives customer intelligence (The more comprehensive a data collection process is the more fine-tuned persona planning will be. Look beyond analytics to include anecdotal data or feedback from customer service representatives with continuous contact with customers.);
  5. Drive customer loyalty (Improving a customer’s lifetime value boils down to a strong customer experience.);
  6. Improves the chance of sales through service (While most contact centers are very much service-based, when organizations begin to lose market-share, focus will likely turn to sales through service and customer retention. A 360-degree view of the customer enables the contact center to view a customer’s purchase history and offer discounts specially to them.).

A 360-degree view of customers gives the opportunity to deal with low-value customers differently.

How to achieve a 360-degree view?

  1. Social listening tools: One of the best way to examine customer behavior is through social media. Three of the most effective tools include:

    Mention – A combination of social monitoring, analytics and competitor data, Mention allows brands to monitor their mention anywhere online.
    Hootsuite – This platform allows an organization to monitor any mentions on social media in real time.
    Keyhole – By tracking industry-specific keywords, Keyhole enables a brand to keep an eye on specific keywords or hashtags they may already be or aim to be an influencer on.

    In addition, consumer traits like browsing and shopping patterns in tandem with social media activity, can be added to a CRM and used for more detailed persona creation and customer segmentation.

  2.  Overlap data : Every customer interaction should be tied to a business goal regardless of the outcome of the event. For instance, if a customer interacts with a call center and is dissatisfied, there is data to be collected for customer retention. At the same time, customers and prospects leave footprints each time they interact with a business. Whether it’s on a website, through an app or leaving comments on social media, marketers have the ability to mine their data and understand intent.
  3. Data audit: Without high-quality data, insights will be neither accurate or relevant. By creating consistency around how data is entered and managed, it will be easier to communicate cross-departmentally. In order to properly segment your customers, you need a process for categorization. The data won’t make sense if you aren’t able to properly segment your customer silos and will hinder you from making salient observations about your customers.
  4. Getting new customers is important for business growth, but keeping the customers you have and seeing them coming back for more is equally (if not more) important for longer-term sustainable growth. Timely and relevant communication is at the heart of building customer relationships. An effective CRM solution will help gain and maintain a 360-degree view of your customers and their journeys with products and organization. In conclusion a successful 360-degree customer view is one that is built over time, based on data and fed into across departments to provide a holistic view of your customers.