Gaining a 360 Degree View of Your Customers

by Corie Kaftalovich

January 11, 2011

With 2011 well underway, businesses of all sizes are working in overtime in attempt to achieve their New Year’s resolutions. Whether a business is striving to increase revenue, inbound leads or response time, their ability to achieve any one of these goals depends on one crucial element-their customers.

As the focal point of any business, customers impact every component of a company, from product development to content in marketing campaigns to procedures in support programs. All companies can attest to the fact that having a specific target market and knowing everything about that market, plays a key role in their success or failure.  I therefore recommend that before any company begins to tackle any one of their new goals, they ask themselves, do I have a 360 degree view of my customers? 

What does a 360 degree view contain?

A 360 degree customer view includes the capturing of customer values, behaviours, demographics and all information pertaining to their accounts and interactions with an organization. In essence, this view provides a holistic approach for understanding who your customers are and how they prefer to be served.

What are the benefits of having this view?

In having this all-encompassing view of your customers, businesses can effectively enhance customer relationships and improve each department’s interaction with customers. From a marketing standpoint, having a detailed customer data repository serves a vital role in segmentation and the development of targeted marketing campaigns that can be accurately measured.  Sales can greatly benefit by b eing able to provide more personal and proactive customer service and also to gauge who their most profitable customers are. Customer service departments can use the detailed customer data to develop a strategic service program and to identify the most valuable customers who require extra support.

The overall impact of having a 360 degree view of your customers is to reduce costs, increase customer satisfaction and ultimately to do business better.

How can I gain this view?

So how can an organization begin to develop and employ a 360 degree view of their customers? In my opinion, one of the simplest and most cost-effective methods is using a CRM solution.  Not only does CRM software offer the ability to manage a robust contact database, but it provides advanced features to include specific fields, detailed comments, association with opportunities and closed business and chronological organization of all communication between the customer and the company. CRM solutions also provide superior reporting functions to slice and dice customer data for segmentation purposes and to analyze the effectiveness of marketing, sales and customer support efforts.

In essence, CRM solutions provide the tools companies need to capture extensive customer data and optimize it for the overall improvement of customer satisfaction and business success. Once implemented, the company must commit to continually update and maintain their database and also to integrate this data across all departments in their organization. 

Gaining a 360 degree view of each customer can and will improve a company’s ability to satisfy and retain customers. Adopting a CRM solution is one method of obtaining this comprehensive view in a cost-effective, simple and timely manner. So before tackling your 2011 goals, consider whethe r your company truly understands your customers inside and out and if not, CRM might be your best solution.

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Scott Wallask

9/25/2013 8:51:27 PM

Your point is well-taken about gauging who the most profitable customers are. In a narrow CRM view, a person who orders a lot of products may appear to be a profitable customer, but if that person also takes up a lot of back-end support and services, he or she may not be as profitable in the big picture -- and a 360 degree view can help make things clearer.