Think of someone you know well. You know what films they enjoy, how they take their coffee, where they buy their clothes, what they call their pet. You didn’t build that picture from a single conversation. Our identities derive from multiple conversations, behaviours, likes and dislikes, networks and associates. We build up a picture of an individual based on our shared experiences. And in the digital world, this knowledge is represented by billions of bytes of data.
It’s the same for the organisations that we deal with. It doesn’t matter whether they’re supermarkets and travel companies, utilities, banks, insurers or telecom providers. Every time we interact with them, we share a further small indicator of our identity. Pulling together these indicators in real time gives them the fullest picture of who we are as an individual. It’s called a Total Customer View (TCV), and it’s the basis of the way customer relationships will operate in the future.
Curiosity wins the customer
Customer data fuels today’s digital economy. It provides a solid base of evidence for the intelligence needed to improve each customer’s experience. It is a key differentiator on an increasingly level playing field. From loyalty programmes to social media, our personal data, used appropriately, gives businesses the ability to recognise us and anticipate what it is that we really want to talk to them about.
Data goes beyond what businesses themselves collect. When it comes in via multiple channels and platforms and in myriad different formats, it helps identify milestones on an individual customer’s journey and links them all together. Accurate, up-to-date intelligence gives the right context for every customer interaction. However, stitching together customer data from external sources must respect permissions, consent and customers’ privacy. This is not just to comply with ever tightening regulation but also to earn a fundamental level of trust.
Having access to accurate dynamic intelligence in real time helps organisations build stronger customer relationships. Decisions about credit, for example, can be made faster, as providers can pull together an instant view of previous payments, purchase behaviour and affordability.
Understand who your customers are, and what they do
Referencing external data within any given process can give insight into the identities of billions of global consumers. Companies can start to recognise and identify customers, wherever they originate. And this applies across any channel, device or country of origin.
This level of insight also helps to combat fraud and ensure compliance with everything from data protection to money laundering regulations.
The customer pulse
A TCV drives today’s multichannel organisations with smart use of customer-related data, keeping a finger on the pulse at every stage of the customer journey.
Is building and maintaining a TCV worth the effort?
The answer has to be an emphatic ‘yes’. Delivering the seamless personalised experience that customers come to expect is practically impossible without one.
Total Customer View in action:
John Lewis Partnership’s Click and Collect programme shows how integrated data improves experience – and the bottom line.  Customers browse and purchase products on the web, then collect them from their local store whenever they like.
Making this service possible meant integrating numerous systems: ERPs, websites, mobile shopping apps, delivery systems, and fulfilment centres.
The results have been worth the effort: gross sales increased 9.7% between 2013 and 2014 and 30% of John Lewis shopping now takes place online.
 Guide : The Secrets to Enabling Omnichannel Retailing. MuleSoft. October 2015.