How to Gain, Keep, and Evangelize Through Understanding the Whole Customer View

Big data analytics

Gone are the days when the goal of a marketing campaign was to increase page views and email opens. In today’s world, where the majority of customers are using smartphones among five or six other screens in their digital lives, attention must be paid to every channel in which your customer may interact with your brand. With the competition just a click away, gaining a holistic view of your customer across all of their interactions with your brand is imperative.

Traditionally, companies have focused on maximizing customer satisfaction at the various touchpoints where they interact with the organization, but this has often created a misleading picture of the customer’s feeling about the brand. For example, your customers may be pleased with the outcome of a transaction at the payment touchpoint, but that does not mean that they are satisfied with other aspects of the company’s performance.

Whole Customer View

Putting the customer’s experience in the context of the end-to-end interaction with your product or service has become known as the “whole customer” view. It is a holistic view of your customer across all interactions with your brand. Companies everywhere are changing the fundamental nature of their corporate cultures to embrace customer-experience management at every level.

While vast quantities of data can now be collected about customers’ actions, motivations, and online behaviors, assembling those pieces into a coherent picture that can transform leads into conversions, and ideally, into evangelists for your brand, is more challenging. According to a 2015 survey of 600+ digital marketers by Econsultancy, over 82 percent agree that “achieving a single customer view is critical to our long-term success,” but only 18 percent of respondents “currently use a single customer profile for most of their marketing applications” (Customer Experience Optimization Report, Econsultancy, March 2015).

Here are some steps to begin transforming your operation into one that is based on the whole customer view.

1. Map Out Your Whole Customer Journey — Create a map of all possible touchpoints from lead generation through post-purchase customer service. Show how all departments impact the customer experience.
2. Take a “Deep Dive” in to Each Touchpoint — Identify policy choices and company processes that could unintentionally cause an adverse customer experience. For example, the technical support department may have chosen to implement a fee for technical support, assuming that the fee would move people toward self-service options. The department considers their plan a success when call volume drops and the use of website support options increases. What they have not considered is the ill will that was created among the customer base, resulting in negative reviews and a decrease in repeat customers. Be honest in the deep dive and align all department objectives.
3. Get Cross-Functional Teams to See it From the Customer’s Perspective — It is common for most departments to have never considered the entire customer experience. Have an interdepartmental meeting in which stakeholders get to see the customer journey from start to finish as well as how their individual actions and policies could affect perceptions, and ultimately, sales. The result could be a great brainstorming session that produces new internal collaborations and a shared objective to improve the whole customer experience.
4. Adjust Your Choice of Metrics and Measurement Systems — Changing internal processes and mindsets is only half the battle. You must also pick new metrics to measure customer satisfaction throughout the customers’ journeys with the brand. Today, thousands of data items are available to help you understand and measure the customer journey across the many channels available. How to merge all this data into useful goals, objectives, and ultimately, marketing campaigns can be a major challenge. Many technology providers have emerged to connect these dots, but too often, analysts are faced with fragmented datasets across multiple providers. It is critical to have an integrated customer-analytics solution, such as Adobe Analytics, to collect and combine all of your online and offline customer data and seamlessly apply data science and machine learning to discover and measure optimal customer segments and audiences.
5. Consider Privacy Protection — Remember that, with the analytics at your disposal, most of your customers will be unfamiliar with the level of awareness of their actions you have.
6. Understand Your Ideal Customer — Start pushing out that profile from your analytics solution to extend your reach and find customers/audiences who match that profile. Look for a service provider that can do this “lookalike modeling,” and then activate these new audiences in marketing execution and optimization solutions. Check out Adobe Audience Manager for ideas about how to do this.

The benefits of centering your organization around the whole customer are worth the effort. You will be able to:

  • Develop Personalized Content that customers are demanding. Today’s customers want you to know and use their buying history to come up with personalized suggestions.
  • Provide Useful and Contextually Relevant Content that users want.
  • Create Timely Experiences throughout your channels and touchpoints that take in to account location, needs, and circumstances.
  • Create Consistent Digital Assets that are accessible on any device. Today’s customers may start their journeys on their phones and end it on desktops, tablets, or laptops.
  • Consider Social Networks and provide opportunities for customers to connect at each step in their journeys.
  • Create Customers Who Feel Served from the very start of their journeys, and thus, are more likely to convert.
  • Understand the Importance of Service Beyond the Purchase and provide customers with reasons to refer others to you, and hopefully, become your brand evangelists.

Embracing the “whole customer” can energize your organization at every level, making it relevant and vibrant in a world that is very different from what it was just a few years ago. Every member of your company at every level can benefit from this razor-sharp focus on the idea that has, when you think about it, always been true: meet the needs of the customer, and you will meet your company’s needs.

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Kalyan Banga224 Posts

I am Kalyan Banga, a Post Graduate in Business Analytics from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, a premier management institute, ranked best B-School in Asia in FT Masters management global rankings. I have spent 14 years in field of Research & Analytics.

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