There are tremendous benefits to be reaped by creating holistic 360-degree customer profiles. For starters, they offer a complete and consolidated view of the customer’s relationship with your brand. In turn, such profiles can greatly inform on how best to engage with your customers in order to meet both business objectives and customer expectations – a boon for any business. Unfortunately, however, according to Gartner Inc., fewer than 10% of companies actually take the time to build 360-degree customer profiles, and of those, only 5% actually use them consistently to grow their businesses. Let’s run through the steps to developing a 360-degree profile to clarify the many advantages that such a holistic customer view can afford your business.
What is a 360°Customer Profile
A 360-degree customer profile brings together data from multiple internal, third-party, public and social media sources to help create a holistic view of your client, and uncovers relationships not just between people and organizations, but products, locations, contracts, activities and transactions, among others. The collected data is then aggregated to help define what’s important to your customer base and, in turn, applies these customer insights to deliver personalized and targeted customer experiences. As such, 360-degree customer profiles allow companies to get a holistic view of their customers, enabling them to anticipate their wants and needs and allowing them to tailor their approach to their customers’ expectations. It’s easy to see why a 360-degree customer view is so advantageous – when a business or a brand is able to effectively personalize the engagement they have with their customers, they are directly impacting customer satisfaction, retention and, of course, their bottom line. And statistics bear this out: according to Salesforce Research, 84% of customers say that they would be more likely to do business with brands that treat them as individuals (think targeted advertising), as opposed to numbers. In addition, 79% of customers consider brand experience to be just as important as a company’s products and services.
ABCs of Customer Behavior
Understanding customer behavior is an essential part of any business’s success – without a solid grasp of your consumers’ behavior patterns, it’s nearly impossible to effectively address your target audience, or to gain or retain customers for that matter. The retail/restaurant industries have never seen fiercer competition – there’s simply more players on the field and more brands fighting for a proverbial piece of the pie. As such, the businesses that go out of their way to try and gain a better understanding of their customers are in a far better position to cater to their customers’ wants and needs with targeted marketing initiatives and offers, and customizable solutions. The conventional methods for collecting customer insights and data, while still effective and relevant today, simply do not provide all of the requisite information to create a holistic customer view. This is where on-site guest Wi-Fi comes in, which can help complete the customer profile with precious insights on customer behaviors across a variety of channels.
Encouraging Customers to Share Their Data
In order to access as much customer information as possible, it’s important to get customers on board with sharing their data. While this may seem like a difficult feat, recent statistics demonstrate consumers’ willingness to share personal information in exchange for something of value in return. A poll by Acxiom and DMA recently found that 58% of consumers are happy to provide data when there is a clear benefit to doing so (a sale, or coupon, for instance). Of course, you’ll want to make sure you respect some basic rules whenever it comes to collecting customer data.
- Make sure you are 100% transparent about terms and conditions and privacy policies – i.e. who will have access to their information and how it will be used
- Reiterate your commitment to data security
- Ensure you are offering something of value in exchange for your customer’s information
The Importance of Centralized Profiles
As you start to build your customer profiles and as more and more data comes in, businesses will need to organize this data in useful ways that not only store the information, but also highlight similarities or differences between customers and across channels and platforms. The key to creating holistic customer identities, in fact, lies in centralized profiles that you can access and cross-reference across the business – where communication flows from one business unit to the next, so that customer data can be used to support all areas of the business. Linking loyalty programs and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools will help further flesh-out the 360-degree customer profile, as well as help inform customer engagement across the business.
Using Your Profile to Gain a Competitive Edge
No business can expect success without their customers, which is why customer-centric companies are ahead of the pack and can always expect to reap the greatest rewards. These customer profiles allow a 360-degree view of the customer base. While such profiles take time, commitment and dedication to develop, they go a long way towards building a business’s long-term success and enable them to provide their customers with tailored products and solutions along with the very best customer service experience each and every time they visit, in-store or online.