Single Customer View: what it is and how it works

Mia-Platform Team August 5 2020

The Single Customer View is a unique view of all the aggregated data of each customer and merged into a single record. It is becoming a central requirement for modern companies, also due to the development of digital channels and "tailor-made" approaches for each customer. The Single Customer View is necessary to get an overview of every action your customer performs: it is the starting point for building personalized relationships through different channels and obtaining a higher business value. In addition, the holistic vision helps the company to overcome the limits that come from internal subdivisions by product areas.

To obtain the Single Customer View, it is necessary to have data updated in real-time and complete, which is far from easy when the information is scattered in different silos: addresses and orders in the administration database, complaints in the CRM, products wish list in the website repositories, and so on. If the contact channels do not speak to each other, the information remains disaggregated, not updated, and does not allow us to understand the customer's value and to offer him a consistent experience on all the channels with the company.

The dispersion of data in silos, in fact, not only prevents having a holistic view of the customer but involves duplications and low quality of the information that makes it impossible to obtain further value with the analytical tools. When failing to gather the information collected along the customer journey on different channels and business contexts, it’s not possible to give fast and targeted responses and the customer experience will inevitably be bad. Therefore, to improve the user experience it is essential to have a holistic view of the customer, which is achieved only by aggregating the information available and updated in time, thus making the qualitative leap towards the omnichannel paradigm.

 

What type of data does the Single Customer View use?

Firstly, knowing the customer means having a single point of reference, reliable and updated, for all the data concerning him/her: e.g. personal information like contact details. Sometimes it happens that there is more than one personal data associated with a single customer, due to input errors, changes of e-mail, or company name on his personal information. The information has often different reliability depending on the channel from which it comes from: an incorrect address does not always prevent postal delivery, while an incorrect e-mail does not go through.

By knowing your customer, we mean to know what the customer buys, by having his historical purchasing data, which is aggregated for all business divisions, types of products, and services. If we consider a bank, for example, it will be necessary to view all the different services that the customer is currently using and those that he used in the past: deposit account, credit card, securities account, insurance services, and so on.

Meaningful interactions tracking with the company is also important: online contact form, e-mail, call center, PEC, etc. It is also useful to know from which channel the customer was acquired.

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Digital Integration Hub: the infrastructure for the Single Customer View

To achieve a holistic vision of each customer, the Single Customer View, it is necessary to build an infrastructure that is dedicated to the integration of information from different sources, which can be used to offer useful insights for the company.

This is the job of the DIH (Digital Integration Hub), a modern platform based on microservices, Fast Data, and APIs - which favors the integration with applications, frontends, and even external systems.

A Digital Integration Hub typically consists of an event-driven architecture that interfaces with the System of Record creates data streams, and brings them into a high-performance repository.

Then, a series of specially created microservices aggregates the data according to specific business and then exposes it via API to all company channels – either internal or external such as website, e-commerce, App, customer care - or sends it to other business systems, such as CRM. Controlled access to information is guaranteed by light and reliable API Gateway, which works as a single point of access to the system by filtering and managing incoming calls.

Today, the market presents DIH as ready-made or customizable solutions according to customer needs: this avoids developing the infrastructure from scratch, with a significant saving of time and costs.

 

What are the main benefits of applying a Single Customer View?

A DIH architecture integrates data stored in specialized corporate systems - CRM, marketing, sales, customer support, website/app tracking, social media, billing, and so on; improves information accessibility and enables unique, consolidated, and updated data views in real-time. The DIH also allows designing the customer journey, which is the entire path of interactions between the customer and the company, and therefore allows customizing the approaches and improving the customer experience and the services provided.

Single Customer Views are fundamental assets to make real-time data-driven decisions for those who are in charge of customer relations and marketing. Customer segmentation can be made using complete and updated information, and consolidated analytics. 

In the end, in addition to the omnichannel integration of customer data, the Single Customer Views allow better communication and cooperation among the different corporate functions

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