Single Customer View – Consistent Dialogue Throughout the Customer Journey
Published on 23 September 2015 | Author Sebastian Pieper0
Internet users in Germany are using digital services with an average of 2.4 terminal devices (PC, Smartphone, Tablet) and the trend is rising (source: BVDW). Mobile marketing is becoming obligatory. However, users are not only employing different (mobile) terminal devices, but are also consuming marketing information via a number of digital (mobile) channels. 79% of German internet users read and send emails (source: BVDW). 67% are active social media users (source: Bitkom) and this sector can be sub-divided into a multitude of different channels: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Xing, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram etc. apps are used by 44% of German internet users on their mobile terminal devices. Even the significance of mobile messengers is continuously increasing. WhatsApp is already used by 35% of mobile internet users (source: ARD/ZDF). Furthermore, there are a number of other channels, such as search engines, websites, online shops, communities, SMS, geo-location services, PoS terminals, display ads, video portals, etc.
New terminal devices, such as smartwatches or in-car-communication are bound to increase the number of channels even further. Important for companies: Channels are not only used for non-commercial information, but also for marketing content. Email, e.g. is the most important channel for service communication in e-commerce (source: ECC). Approximately a third of users research companies and brands via social media (source: Tomorrow Focus Media). 58% use shopping apps (source: Arbitron).
Multi-channel, cross-channel, omni-channel – there are many terms referring to the more or less integrated marketing communication via several channels. However, all these concepts focus on the channels used for communication. We need to shift our perspective from focussing on channels and take a user point of view. Users are moving confidently in an environment which consists of a large number of digital touchpoints and available information. Users do not distinguish anymore between individual channels. They expect that the information requested in a specific usage context is available right where they are, in high quality, at the right point in time, touchpoint-specifically processed and therefore adapted to the usage behaviour. A user whose expectations are not met, will switch to another provider and this is easier that ever in the digital world. The “power” of users over companies is increasing, established behavioural patters are changing.
All-embracing Digital Environment Instead of Channel Mix
Situations such as the following are still common: a user returns a product because he is not satisfied and finds the same product promoted again in his next newsletter edition. After an initial enquiry via social media, the call centre worker asks the same, already solved questions again over the phone. A male user receives suitable offers of a fashion company via email, but near a PoS of the same company, his app suggests current lady’s fashion offers.
The challenge for companies to avoid these situations is to provide exactly the communication at each touchpoint, which is either explicitly expected by a user or implicitly matches his usage context, i.e. when the user creates an occasion for communication through his behaviour. All touchpoints should be linked in a way that the user is offered a valuable support throughout his customer journey or in a broader context, throughout his entire lifecycle. The still existing breaks between different channels therefore merge into touchpoints and into a common marketing environment, which permanently surround the user and where the user can easily and comfortably move (convenience). According to a study by Gartner, only 43% of companies have understood the customer journey of their users and have adapted their marketing activities accordingly.
An important task is consistent communication at each touchpoint. As mentioned above, users do not differentiate between the individual channels in which the touchpoints are located. They see the same company at each touchpoint and expect a consistent company image. Consistency does not only mean to communicate uniform messages and to create measures in a uniform CI. Consistency means a lot more than picking up the communication from the previous touchpoints at each new touchpoint and creating a continuous dialogue along the customer journey. A single customer view at each touchpoint is necessary. This presupposes a central database, which can be accessed from each touchpoint and updated in real-time in case of changes. Data from all available sources (e.g. from email marketing and online shop) must be compiled in a central database and technical processes must be established to allow for a continuous real-time synchronisation between database and data sources. However, you must take into consideration legal restrictions (see Trend 1: Data Use Management). The merging of data from different sources is only permitted with the user’s consent.
To create a central database for a single customer view as well as real-time processes is a challenge faced by companies, who wish to guarantee a consistent dialogue along the customer journey. Companies must also be able to process content in an individualised (see Trend 3: Super Personalising) and context-sensitive way, as well as touchpoint-suitably. With the number of touchpoints the demand on content fragments as well as content variations increases. This requires solutions for automated content processing (see Trend 3: Super Personalising).
The digital environment the user is moving in is becoming more and more complex. Users do not distinguish between individual channels but expect to receive the right information, in the right quality, at the right time and correctly i.e. touchpoint-specifically processed at each touchpoint. In order to meet these expectations, companies must merge touchpoints in all channels in a comprehensive marketing environment, which continuously surrounds the users. A single customer view across all touchpoints must be ensured. A central data stock and real-time processes for continuous data updating become necessary.
Arbitron: Mobile Smartphone Panel
Bitkom: Soziale Netzwerke 2013
BVDW: Online-Nutzung durch mobile Endgeräte deutlich gestiegen
ECC Cologne: Online-Commerce: Servicewüste oder -oase?
Econsultancy: Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014
Tomorrow Focus Media: Social Trends
Free Download: 8 Digital Marketing Trends 2015
Establishing a single customer view is just one of the digital marketing trends for the year 2015. In a free document we give a detailed look on the eight most important trends. You can find the download here: https://www.artegic.com/marketing-trends