What is Customer 360?
The idea behind Customer 360 is to build a complete and accurate picture of every customer by aggregating all of each customer’s structured and unstructured data from across your organization. With this unified knowledge, you can create wonderful customer experiences, personalize interactions with your customers, and build greater customer insights.
The problem is that customer data exists in multiple databases across touchpoints (e.g., in-store, over the web, via social media, and telephone), geographies, and product lines. Duplicates and discrepancies are unavoidable when these systems are not synchronized.
Customer 360 acts as the hub that links and synchronizes the information about your customers. It becomes the source of reference for finding the most up-to-date information. Many call this the “single source of truth” about the customer. The data can then be de-duplicated, aggregated, analyzed, and displayed on demand.
Customer 360 is not about creating a new database with all of your customer data. You do not replicate all of your data. Instead, you keep selected information in the Customer 360 database for fast access and then link the records to the source records in the source databases.
Customer 360 is also not about building a Single Customer View. Although, multiple Single Customer Views may be created from Customer 360 data.
The biggest Customer 360 challenge is to correctly identify all of the records belonging to a particular customer because of inconsistencies across databases and poor data quality.
How is Customer 360 different from Single Customer View?
While a Single Customer View (SCV) is sometimes called a 360-Degree Customer View, it is not the same as Customer 360. Unfortunately, the terms are very similar and confusion can result.
The distinction is that Single Customer View is about the presentation of customer information. It may be a single screen or report containing information about a specific customer that is aggregated from multiple sources. For example, a customer’s ID number may be used to retrieve information stored separately on the sales database, finance database, and customer support database. The data itself may or may not be synchronized. SCV may just gather the customer information in a meaningful way to those who need it at the time they need it.
Different departments or individuals usually need a different view of the same customer. For example, a sales associate may be given a view with a selected set of information and a customer service representative might be shown a different, but overlapping, set of information.
The key is that you can create a Single Customer View from selected customer data by pulling information from different databases without implementing Customer 360. This does have a risk that the data from different databases will not be synchronized and the data presented on the same screen could be inconsistent.