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Imagine that retailers, banks, and hospitals can access all data about their customers through a single interface––the data might include the last product a customer purchased (retailers), their financial information (banks), or their medical history (hospitals). This concept of a constantly refreshed, accurate, timely customer data layer is known as a 360-degree view of the customer.

What is a 360-degree view of the customer?

A 360-degree view of the customer is a continuous discipline that enables a company to provide an accurate, timely, and complete view of their customers so that its stakeholders (i.e., employees, partners, customers and systems) have the information they need to set the customer and company up for success.

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Access to data — particularly customer data — is critical for companies looking to transform customer experience; they need to be able to understand who their customers are, their customers’ needs, and how customers interact with the company in order to create positive experiences and stand apart from the competition.

This is why a customer 360 doesn’t stop with collecting data; a great 360-degree view of the customer is constantly refreshed and helps move the customers along the desired journey, delivering a seamless and high-quality customer experience that involves a whole company, its partners, and channels.

Challenges with creating a 360-degree view of the customer

Building a 360-degree view of the customer is easier said than done. That is why fewer than 10% of companies actually have customer 360 views. Challenges arise because of the large number of fragmented systems. In addition, the frequency and speed of change in those systems make the customer data time-consuming to transform, process, manage, secure, and access.

When enterprises begin to construct their data apparatus, they often imagine a data warehouse or a data lake from which they can draw insights about their customers and value chain.  However, trying to extract actionable insights out of data housed in a static data warehouse will ultimately be doomed because it is impossible to meet everyone’s business needs with a single system.   

A 360-degree view of the customer should be thought of as a holistic system of systems, rather than a big pool of data that flows from various systems into a data warehouse. Data can be grouped in domains across systems (e.g. location, channel preferences) and used in various ways, such as combining data across two systems to understand how a customer moves across channels. This allows the business to shift their thinking from “what data do I have” to “what can I do with it.”

But how can businesses shift their thinking in this way? Read our whitepaper to learn how companies can modularize their 360-degree customer view to accommodate market trends and other factors in order to deliver the right experience to customers at the right time.

Also, be sure to register for watch our webinar A single customer view: learnings from financial services firms, where we discuss how MuleSoft and PwC have helped leading financial services firms differentiate themselves through personalized experiences.

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