Support and the Single View of the Customer


Remember when marketers had giant ad budgets but no one could really tell how many people were clicking? Or how much of their work actually directly led to sales? Or link the success of a digital campaign back to the buying funnel?

Marketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia remembers. “The bane of marketing since forever has been measuring,” he says.

It’s hard to believe that there was a time when marketers didn’t have much of an idea of how they were doing, because that’s history now. In a short period of time, we’ve gone from knowing nothing about our customers and the ROI of our efforts, to being able to understand our customers as individuals.

As this VentureBeat piece points out, “The key is no longer demographic segmentation, which has little predictive power. Instead, the key is behavior segmentation. In other words, what you do is much more important than who you are.”

Marketers now know who their customers are and what they do.  Marketers know what their customers do and don’t find engaging. They know what they’re buying and when they do it. They even know exactly what they’re interacting with.

This seismic shift is a result of having a single view of the customer. What we know about our customers has completely changed marketing – and it’s changing the world of customer service too.

The single view of the customer changes everything

Here are just a few of the changes that have come about in the field of marketing as a result of having a single view of the customer:

  • Targeting groups and masses -> targeting at the individual level
  • Marketing that interrupts (e.g. ads, popups)  -> marketing that delivers “anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them”
  • Little feedback -> Knowing exactly how audience is reacting to and engaging with us

This is what’s possible when you have context. Interactions can be individual and incredibly precise.

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The Best Marketing Delivers

Now, look at the way support teams are able to use this data to achieve real-time results:

“Insurance giant Nationwide puts a lot of stock in its customer experience, so they knew they needed to find another way.

One of the best stories they told me was about a customer whose RV broke down on vacation,” Pisoni says. “The local broker told him he wasn’t covered, so he called Nationwide corporate.” It was a complicated problem, and the customer service rep didn’t know how to solve it; in the old model, the case would have taken days. rep posted the issue internally, got colleagues involved from claims and product, and they figured out that not only was the guy covered, he was also eligible for emergency funds. He was on his way without a huge bill in three hours.”

  • Both customer service team + company have access to a complete customer history
  • Multiple teams collaborate using the same up-to-date information, from product to payments
  • They’re able to ditch the script and actively work across the company to resolve the matter

This remarkable case shows that the individualized support experience is becoming the norm, rather than an exception. Armed with information and access to one another, teams are more agile than ever.

If that seems like a time-sensitive story, try this scenario that took place on a Virgin Train:

Virgin Train Poop

A 16-year old kid on a train to Glasgow used the bathroom and realized there was no toilet tissue left. Nightmare.

Think about all the moving parts that had to come together behind the scenes to get this kid an emergency roll of toilet tissue.

First, it would have had to catch the eye of an eagle-eyed social media manager who would have to respond quickly. They would have to start forming a super quick game plan. They’d have to coordinate with train staff and perhaps even ground staff. The toilet tissue deliverer would have to get the all the critical details fast (not a second to lose!) in order to have a successful final hand-off.

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The takeaway

Customer support is becoming more agile than ever. Much of what great support requires goes beyond just “knowing your customer.” It’s about putting together lots of moving parts and bringing together multiple teams and elements to deliver quick, individualized help. This requires quick thinking, speed, and an unprecedented level of collaboration across a company.

Having a single view of the customer is both a great power and a great responsibility. We may have all this incredibly valuable intelligence, but it’s no competitive advantage until you become truly responsive to your customer, especially when they really need it.

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