Myth No. 4: A Centralized Customer Database Provides a 360-Degree View of the Customer


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Establishing a 360-degree view of the customer has long been the holy grail of any CRM program. Many companies consolidate their multiple customer databases into a centralized customer database and declare victory. Although establishing a single customer database is foundational to a 360-degree view of the customer, a customer database alone often won’t provide your company with a complete view of the customer. Here’s why:

  1. A centralized customer database often contains only basic or static data including name, address, account number, demographic and profile information. Although this core information is critical, it often won’t provide historical information regarding transactions or changes to address, account, or profile information. Without historical information, it’s difficult to get a complete picture of the customer.
  2. Customer interactions can take place in many forms, at multiple locations, and across multiple channels. Unless the customer database is specifically designed to store interactions, you’ll be missing an important element of your customer’s behaviors.
  3. Customer databases are often designed to support operational activities such as transaction processing, order management, and billing. Operational databases often lack robust customer analytics that are necessary to unlock the secrets of the customer experience.
  4. Customer feedback is often collected and managed separately from customer information. As a result, correlating customer sentiment to specific customers or customer segments can be difficult.

Although a centralized customer database is foundational to a 360-degree view of the customer, a database alone won’t provide the complete picture. Companies that are seeking to establish or improve their total customer experience should look beyond customer databases to more robust data warehousing capabilities that include a view of historical changes, transactions, interactions, and feedback that can provide a complete 360-degree view of the customer.

Robert Howard
Robert G. Howard, Partner at Kurt Salmon, has more than 20 years of experience designing and implementing innovative customer experiences across web, retail, customer care, and mobile channels. Mr. Howard is the co-author of the The Customer Experience Fiasco, and 7 Steps to Customer Experience Domination.


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