What a 360-degree View of a Customer Looks Like
Rome wasn’t built in a day – and it didn’t fall in one either. Come the 4th and 5th centuries, the leaders neglected the needs of their various peoples, and oftentimes, as in the case of Majorian, they seemed outright surprised at the unpopularity of some measures. Could Majorian have used a 360-degree view of his Roman subjects (read: customers)?
Could the collapse of the Roman Empire (the Western one) have been prevented if the imperial bureaucracy was able to track their health and success via digital analytics? Almost definitely, too bad they only just missed the invention of the internet. However when boiled down to a more realistic picture, an empire runs poorly without helpful insight into the success of its policies and the wellbeing of its people.
As far as the Roman analogy can go, modern businesses frequently suffer the same shortcomings. If a business isn’t able to track the sentiment of its customers or the success of its products and initiatives, then they’re only working against themselves, just like Emperor Valentinian III.
If the nerdy historical references are getting tiresome, think of it like a 360-degree camera. A 360-degree picture captures more than just the face, but also the periphery and the context of the image. A 360-degree view of a customer provides this full image – the context and the history of the customer and their relationship to the business.
What is a 360-degree view?
As far as one for customers is concerned, a 360-degree view is a conglomeration of all customer data in one easy-to-read place. From customer health metrics, to data on interactions with customer service or support, to even social media interactions, a holistic 360-degree customer view takes everything into account to create an accurate picture of customer health.
What’s a holistic customer relationship?
A 360-degree view is holistic, meaning in this case, that nothing is left out. Much like holistic medicine, this dedication to the customer involves all aspects of the business relationship. Success with the product, customer goals, satisfaction and happiness, chances of churn or even expansion and up-sell – these are all integral aspects of a customer relationship, and a truly 360-degree, holistic view of a customer. Leaving nothing on the backburner and nothing to chance.
While it's true that a holistic view of a customer is meant to “treat” their problems and better their health (again, more medicine comparisons), it’s not meant to be a reactive approach, at least not solely. Much like in philosophy of science or in the philosophy of Parmenides (if that’s what floats your boat), a holistic view of the customer is necessary to understand the customer relationship at all.
A 360-degree view and customer engagement
If even one aspect is left out of the 360-degree view of the customer, say their retention metrics, then it’s not a 360-degree view and it’s not holistic – the total comprehension of the parts can only be seen as a whole picture, leave anything out and it is woefully incomplete and likely even false.
CSAT and NPS
Customer engagement is often measured by CSAT and NPS scores, essentially looking at how happy a customer is with the provided services and products. If the scores are good, it’s likely that they are engaging with the product. CSAT and NPS are great benchmark metrics and are easy to understand on their own, not to mention they are intrinsic parts to a fully 360-degree view of a customer.
But they are still only parts to a whole, and if they are taken alone as the be-all-end-all of a customer’s health, it is more than likely that businesses will be left in the dark and surprised when churn comes knocking.
Churn and Retention
Churn is the boogeyman, and when the boogeyman ultimately rears his head, it's usually a surprise. Even with robust measurements of CSAT and NPS, churn can still occur and seem almost out of the blue. However, this is rarely the case. If churn ever seems random or contrary to CSAT/NPS scores, it’s likely that warning signs were missed and that measuring by these metrics alone was not enough for a holistic customer health profile.
Churn and retention ultimately require metrics tailored to their specific requirements, such as a Customer Distress Index. A 360-degree view requires something along these lines – a data-driven approach to categorizing the success a customer is experiencing with a product or service, and not only their sentiment towards it.
Upsell and Expansion
Quite the opposite of churn, upsell and expansion opportunities are very important for business success. The happier a customer is, the more likely they are to expand their product suite. This line of reasoning is pretty straight forward; if a customer likes ice cream and they’re buying vanilla, then chances are they might also like vanilla with chocolate chips, vanilla with cookie dough, and so on. The only problem is how does a business know if a customer dislikes chocolate chips but loves cookie dough? Without data and automation tools identifying these expansion opportunities, a business is operating with both eyes closed.
The power of a 360-degree view of customers
The ultimate purpose of a 360-degree, holistic view of customers is to drive and ensure business success. Like how a holistic customer view is a sum of its parts, a business is the sum of its customers. Without a healthy relationship, and tools ensuring it, a business is only sealing its fate, ala Valentinian III.