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How Many Degrees Are in the 360° View of the Customer?

By Svetlana Sicular | March 18, 2014 | 1 Comment

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I’ve been watching the CRM space since the term CRM was coined. The view of the customer remained at invariable 360° while new ideas, methods and companies kept adding degree by degree to the full view.  Back in 2009, a CRM icon Tom Siebel was attacked by a charging elephant during an African safari. Ominously, this was exactly the time of changing epochs: another elephant, Hadoop, signified a new era in the 360° view of the customer.  This very year of 2009, Cloudera announced the availability of Cloudera Distribution Including Apache Hadoop. This very year MapReduce and HDFS became separate subprojects of Apache HadoopThe era of data has begun. 

Massive amounts of data about the interactions of people open the door to observing and understanding human behavior at an unprecedented scale. Big data technology capabilities lead to new data-driven and customer-centric business models and revenues. Organizations change because of new insights about customers. Depending on a use case, “customer” could mean consumer, employee, voter, patient, criminal, student or all of the above.  Last Sunday, I became a “skier.”  That’s how they call customers at Mt Rose Ski Tahoe.  One more degree.  The most successful innovators are primarily guided by a focus on meeting the needs of the end users whom their solutions serve — the customer, the client, the employee. Our recent research note Focus on the Customer or Employee to Innovate With Cloud, Mobile, Social and Big Data speaks about it in great depth.

User experience that supports people’s personal goals and lifestyles, whether they are customers or employees, is key to success more than ever. Personal analytics is a noteworthy and totally new type of analytics, quite distinct from the well-known business analytics. Personal analytics empowers individuals to make better decisions in their private lives, within their personal circumstances, anytime, anywhere. How many more degrees does that add to the 360° view of the customer?

Siebel Analytics was the first customer analytics solution. It ended up as OBIEE.  (By the way, Oracle just acquired BlueKai — degrees and degrees of “audience” data!)  Siebel Analytics nourished many analytics leaders, off the top of my head — Birst, Facebook Analytics, Splice Machine and even Cognos.  “I was very fortunate to have survived something you might not think was survivable,” said Tom Siebel  about the elephant attack. Tom Siebel is now running a big data company called C3. Data is pouring from more and more sources. Beacon devices for in-door positioning are gaining more attention. This means imminent customer tracking in retail stores and ball parks.

The bottom line: When declaring a 360° view of the customer, count carefully.  It could be 315°, or it could be 370°. Any angle greater than 360° means that the customer view is not expanding.


Follow Svetlana on Twitter @Sve_Sic

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1 Comment

  • Reem El-Agha says:

    The relationship between a company and its consumers is very important because any interaction a business has with its customers is going to leave an impression. Therefore I completely agree that taking a customer-centric approach can help a company create a positive impression on its customers. It enables a company to add value by distinguishing itself from competitors who do not offer the same positive experiences, to their customers. It is essential for businesses to frequently analyze customer data, to better understand and segment their customer base.

    Improving Contact Centers can help reduce the amount of low-value work done and can lead to a higher appreciation for the business, externally and internally. Business process maps are a great tool for accomplishing this task. For Contact Centers to remain effective, they should reduce inbound call times. In fact, inbound calls are lengthened by close to 40% due to poor skills researching customer history and making informed resolution-related decisions. Even small initiatives can still encounter roadblocks and unfortunately, resources for effective business process improvements are not always free.

    Most Contact Centers who want end-to-end business process flows will have to convince higher level executives to bring in a consulting firm who may or may not guarantee any real improvements. Business Process Maps as well as KPIs are great tools when it comes to reforming and standardizing business processes within an organization. The data represented in the process maps is so valuable; no consulting firm will make that data publicly accessible. However, for managers, who cannot make those executive level decisions, there are some resources available. This free online source provides various kinds of process flow templates, benchmarks, best practices and other improvement tools: