Many businesses feel overwhelmed by the number of data sources they have to handle. It feels like to achieve a single customer view, they need to do complex integrations, record every action of customers, and use confusing address lookup tools. When it comes to offline communications, everything seems even more challenging. Marketers often don’t know how to measure offline channels and what types of data to store.
As a result of such misunderstandings, 1 in 5 marketers cannot connect disparate records into a single customer view. Furthermore, almost 13% believe that a 360-degree customer view is impossible in practical terms. They think there is no way to collect all meaningful data coming from online and offline communications in the same place.
To dispel this myth, in our article, we’ll explain what is a single customer view and how to achieve it by connecting online and offline. Keep reading to learn:
- What is a single customer view? Reasons to centralize customer data
- Including offline channels into a single customer view: whys and hows (address lookup, reverse phone lookup, automation, and more)
- How to achieve a truly comprehensive online + offline single customer view with Inkit
What is a Single Customer View? Reasons to Centralize Customer Data
A single customer view (aka 360 degree or unified customer view) is an approach to collecting information about potential and existing customers when all details are merged into a single record. Unlike a data warehouse, which requires maintenance by IT specialists, the single customer view system is primarily designed for marketers. They usually include contact information shared by customers or collected through address lookup, behavioral data, and the history of interactions with individual customers.
Why you need to consolidate all customer data obtained through online and offline communications
To understand why data consolidation is essential for your business, let’s consider the following case. A customer places an order on your website providing a phone number and a physical address for shipment. They wait for 5 days as indicated in the online store, but don’t receive the goods. When the person texts you on social media explaining the situation, a manager recommends them to call the contact center directly. The customer (already disappointed with your services) gets in touch with the contact center that knows nothing about the previous interactions. Since there is no single customer view or address lookup, the customer is forced to repeat the whole story once again. If this happens, most likely, you will lose this lead forever and get a negative review of your services instead. Unified views could have helped to avoid such consequences and solve the customer’s problem much faster.
That’s why by implementing a single customer view, you make a considerable investment in your business success. It orders all online and offline communications and yields a range of other benefits:
- You enhance data quality and make information more reliable thanks to the combination of several data sources
- A single customer view boosts your analytics capabilities by collecting all meaningful information together
- You improve customer experience and support with instant access to customer information
- You build more data-driven marketing strategies and understand the target audience much better
- You prepare your company for further automation through data segmentation and standardization
As you can see, the prize is worth the effort. Once you set up your systems to achieve a single customer view, you will optimize most of the business processes. Such optimization always improves profitability in the long run and increases the ROI of marketing efforts.
Including Offline Channels into a Single Customer View: Address Lookup, Reverse Phone Lookup, Automation, and More
Even though customer services are gradually shifting online, offline communications still matter. Every day customers visit your physical stores, receive invoices and postcards by mail, and talk with your support representatives on the phone.
That’s why to turn siloed information into a single customer view, you need to record data shared through offline channels. It’s also necessary to fill in the information gaps and collect online and offline communications within one system. Here are some effective ways to get an omnichannel customer view.
Use address lookup and reverse phone lookup
If you are using direct mail for sending offline communications, reverse address lookup and people search tools are just what you need. USPS offers a set of address lookup services for finding a ZIP code by address. There are multiple additional solutions like PeopleFinder where you can find people based on their contact information. These are white pages services that use public records and, therefore, are regulatory compliant. The same approach works if you have a phone number and want to find extra details about its owner.
Use data enrichment for offline communications
Unlike phone or address lookups that require manual search, data enrichment and validation services are largely automated. For example, Inkit’s mail automation tool has a built-in data validation functionality that checks the accuracy of customers’ information. When integrated with TowerData and Iterable, Inkit allows you to send offline communications even if you know only an email address. It’s an excellent combination of software to enrich data and have a single customer view.
Collect offline contact details during all interactions
Ask customers to share more details at different touchpoints. You can request a physical address, email, or phone number while offering someone to join the loyalty program when they visit your store. Another option is to display a pop-up on your website and offer a one-time discount in exchange for an address. The primary goal is to connect online and offline communications and get more data.
Find ways to automate and track offline communications
Use customer support software to record offline communications that happen by phone. Tools like Zendesk or HubSpot help to synchronize emails, social media, chats, and other online interactions with offline communications by phone. You can leave notes in customers’ profiles to keep track of their requests and collect all essential details in one place. Hence, when a customer contacts you next time, a support representative will already know what happened before. As for direct mail, you can fully automate it with the help of Inkit. This tool tracks every mail piece delivered and contributes to a single customer view in many other ways. More information about how to use it in the next section.
How to Achieve a Truly Comprehensive Online + Offline Single Customer View with Inkit
Inkit serves as a point of contact between the digital world and offline communications. You just need to create an account and use Inkit’s webhook to connect the mail automation tool with third-party software. It supports over hundred of integrations with CRM systems, helpdesk software, email marketing, advertising, and other tools. Thus, you can use direct mail on equal terms with online channels to ensure a 360-degree customer view.
Apart from this, Inkit enhances your data quality with automated rendering and record keeping. In addition to tracking mail delivery, it also keeps copies of all mail pieces sent. You can access the history of offline communications and the contact information of customers in personalized accounts created for every recipient. Most importantly, Inkit includes data validation and enrichment capabilities to automatically verify customer information and complete it with additional details.
Want to use offline communications to create a single customer view? Try Inkit now to connect direct mail with online channels.