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Getting closer to the customer with an enhanced 360 degree view

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Product Marketing Manager - InfoSphere, IBM

It is time to get closer to your customers than ever before; so close, in fact, that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves. Apple’s luminary, Steve Jobs, was speaking a great deal of truth when he said this. But it is not as easy as it seems to know today’s connected customer.

With the onset of the digital revolution, the touch points between an organization and its customers have increased many times over; organizations now require specialized solutions to effectively manage these connections. If you don’t think start thinking like your customer and understanding them as individuals, you run the risk of losing them to the competition.

Giving your customer an enriched experience every time they reach you is the key, and an enhanced 360-degree view of the customer will be your savior as you attempt to understand the new, socially connected customer.

So, what is this enhanced 360 degree view of customer?

enhanced 360 degree view of customer lady shopping in supermarket using smartphone.jpgAs the name suggests, it empowers customer-facing professionals with enhanced and accurate information to engage customers, develop trusted relationships and improve loyalty. It also enables marketing teams to target the right customer with the right offer at the right time, increasing the success rate for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

To understand this concept a little deeper, let us take the example of John and Mary, who may be regular shoppers at your store.

A traditional 360 degree view shows that John and Mary are married, have three children, live on Elm Street and have made three purchases from your Main Street location last year.

An enhanced 360 degree view reveals that Mary called four times to complain about the quality of one of those products, that John posted comments about the poor quality in an online forum and that Mary has just tweeted questions about a competitor’s product.

These insights can trigger an appropriate action such as an email or a phone call with a targeted offer, potentially increasing John and Mary’s customer lifetime value with you.

The next question that comes to mind is: How do you establish an enhanced 360 degree view of your customers, or other key entities? For this you must be able to:

  1. Federate search, discovery and navigation securely across a wide range of applications, data sources and formats
  2. Eliminate duplicates and rationalize conflicting information through matching, linking and semantic reconciliation of master data to create and maintain a golden record
  3. Integrate high-quality data across multiple enterprise systems
  4. Manage new data types and navigate quickly through massive amounts of both structured and unstructured information from within and beyond the enterprise to find the most pertinent information
  5. Create a single, up-to-date view of customers or other key entities that can be used throughout the organization
  6. Leverage Hadoop systems so that information of all types, in any volume and at any velocity, can be incorporated into the single view
  7. Assess streaming data sources to analyze perishable data quickly and to select valuable data and insights to be stored for further processing
  8. Collect all customer data at one central location from which it can be more easily managed, analyzed and shared

These capabilities help you to gain a full understanding of your customer: what makes them tick, why they buy, how they prefer to shop, why they switch, what they’ll buy next and what factors lead them to recommend a company to others.

IBM recently published an eBook which discusses in detail the enhanced 360-degree view of customer. Download a free copy today.