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Piecing together the SCV puzzle

As you can see from my wonderful author profile above, my name is Scott Drayton. I spend far too much of my spare time sitting inside playing my Xbox. I also mostly use Outlook for my personal email needs, and own a laptop that runs Windows.

Don’t worry, you haven’t accidently clicked on a terrible dating profile. What I am going to illustrate is just how quickly the Single Customer View (SCV) that you need to effectively serve your customers, can become a tangled mess of duplicate records using a brief story about my life.

Me, Myself, and I

When I was 14, I joined MSN Messenger calling myself a hilarious, but very niche, Shaun of the Dead reference. I was in a bit of a rush and so I put a load of nonsense in all the account fields so I could get cracking wasting hours of my life as soon as possible.

After a few years, I got bored of this and bought my first Xbox to fill my time. To be able to play online, I had to create an account (an equally hilarious Simpsons reference). This time, I needed to put in legitimate details into the form. Being 17, I still lived with my parents, so had this as the address on my account. Not being a big fan of my middle name though, I chose not to put this into my account details.

Fast forward a few years, and I am applying for universities. Suddenly my hilarious Shaun of the Dead and Simpsons references were no longer going to cut it. So, I created a more sensible email address with all the details filled in (even my middle name this time, just in case).

Thankfully, my time wasted on Xbox and MSN didn’t stop me from getting accepted into university – so off I went. Like a lot of students, however, my laptop was no longer up to scratch so I bought a new one. This time however, my address was my Coventry University halls.

Fast forward one last time to a few weeks ago. I break my phone whilst walking home and decide to buy myself a new one. My account when dealing with my phone, however, has a completely different home address as I have since flown the coop and moved out of my parent’s house.

So why did I just tell you this fascinating story? Well if you look through the story, you will see that to all intents and purposes there are five different versions of Scott Drayton out there (shudders):

  • ‘MSN Shaun of the Dead fan’ me
  • ‘Xbox Simpsons fan’ me
  • ‘Sensible university’ me
  • ‘Coventry-based’ me
  • ‘Strong, independent, but clumsy’ me (current me)

Throw in other common personal changes such as surname changes through marriage and you can see just how quickly the database you thought was perfect can become a data version of a Where’s Wally puzzle.

No SCV – no TLC

A huge problem that results from this kind of thing is that you won’t be able treat the customer the way you would if you knew that all those duplicates were actually me and the full story behind them. Our recent research showed that 60% of organisations’ top priority with their data is improving customer experience, yet only 29% are looking to create a Single Customer View. The gap between the two of these stats suggests a lack of understanding of the important link between them.

With my story, for example, you have five different people who use five different products/services, who are in very different stages of their life. So rather than being able to promote the products/services best tailored to my current situation (a semi-regular gamer, who uses his phone for social media more than calling people, and no longer lives in Coventry), I may well get five fragmented communications, none of which are particularly well suited to me. Simply put, how can you provide a great customer experience if you don’t have the full picture of who your customer actually is? Let’s not forget that it’s also a huge waste of time and effort contacting me five times and it may well impact my perception of how much you care about my data.

Now imagine the possibilities that exist if the company could identify that each of those records is in fact me, link them together and use that complete view to deliver a more relevant approach. At Experian we describe this as a ‘universal view’ - one that moves beyond the traditional notion of a more technical ‘single customer view’ and combines analytics with the database technology to develop a deeper, more meaningful understanding of customers, their needs and motivations. Without that one, universal view of each of your customers (that can be easily obtained and used), you risk missing out on benefits such as:

  • Delivering a more personalised service based upon their touchpoints with you.
  • Encouraging upsells, renewals or even winning customers back if they leave with more targeted messaging.
  • Providing a more efficient customer service – communicating with them in the way they want with all relevant information to hand.
  • Reducing the chances of you spamming a customer with multiple messages due to multiple accounts – and the risk of sensitive information being sent to out of date contact details.

These are only the benefits from a customer experience perspective. When you also consider the operational efficiencies, fraud risk identification, and regulatory compliance advantages – it’s clear why creating your own universal view should be high on your list of priorities. You can read in more depth about these areas in our brand new ‘Towards a Universal Customer View’ white paper.

Single Customer Views – they aren’t new

The idea of creating a complete view of your customers is far from a new one. There have always been people like ‘MSN Shaun of the Dead fan’ me that refuse to care about your database accuracy (shocking I know) when rushing through forms or forget their log in details and so just set up a brand-new account instead (also guilty). However, the explosion of data, new regulations, and an increasingly competitive landscape have all pushed the idea front and centre in recent years.

This is why our new data management platform, Aperture Data Studio, has been specifically built to make this potentially difficult task as simple as possible. Our 4-stage process helps you investigate, assess, improve and control your data to create an accurate, holistic, and complete view of your customers. Find out how we can help you kick-start your Single Customer View project today so you can do everyone a favour by making sure there is only the one Scott Drayton.