Why Do Companies Pursue a Single Customer View?

March 1, 2019

Customer experience (CX) is a critical and growing priority for many companies – and it’s making them want to bring their customer data together. Indeed, improving the customer experience is the biggest driver for achieving a single customer view, according to a recent report [download page] from Experian Data Quality.

But CX improvements aren’t the only motivator for the elusive single customer view. The study, based on a global survey of more than 1,000 business leaders, also found there were other drivers for achieving a single customer view that followed closely behind. Improving operational efficiency, for example, is a key factor for many respondents, while improving strategic decisions also is a strong consideration. Increasing customer retention and increasing customer sales were both drivers for almost as many businesses, though slightly fewer pointed to cost reduction as a motivating factor.

So, where do most single customer views reside? Currently most (42%) single customer views reside in a central CRM. However, about 3 in 10 (28%) respondents said it resides in a marketing automation platform, and more than one-quarter (28%) say it hosted with a service provider. Another fifth (21%) say it resides in a data lake.

It is worth noting that while many respondents reported that single customer view resided in a central CRM, some 29% of businesses also said that there are different views of the customer across the business.

Poor Data Quality a Key Challenge for Customer Experience

Despite the good intentions to unify all data, for many it appears to be a Sisyphean task.

Separate research by the CMO Council has found that more than three-quarters (78%) of B2C marketers don’t believe a single customer view is something that is realistic or attainable for their organization. The same study found that half of the marketers felt that their organization’s customer experience was either not very good or poor.

According to Experian’s report, there are three key challenges that are impacting the ability to deliver excellent customer experience. These three challenges actually ranked equally, with 30% of respondents naming each of the following: the method of interaction is changing; legacy systems or lack of new technology; and poor data quality.

Poor data quality is a problem that has haunted businesses for some time. Almost all (95%) of organizations reported seeing an impact on their business due to poor data. Organizations also believe that, on average, 29% of their customer or prospect data is inaccurate in some way. The good news is that this figure is down 4% points from last year, which is a small step in the right direction.

To read more, download the report here.

About the Data: Data for the report comes from a survey conducted in November 2018 of more than 1,000 individuals from the US, UK, Brazil and Australia. Respondents represent a variety of industries and roles within the organizations and were selected based on their visibility into their organization’s customer or prospect data management practices.

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