As our communication channels and platforms evolve, companies aim to bridge the gap between markets, plants, departments, and countries. Each country, with its individual identity and cultural characteristics, drives the need for technology to solve everyday problems in different ways.
Over time, organisations end up with many applications, some bespoke and some “off the shelf”, each containing different categories of customer data. These applications become central to business as usual (BAU). Moreover, with business logic embedded deep within these fragmented systems, organisations become chained to them. Walking away becomes difficult, particularly when there is little documentation of how these applications function. Consequently, enterprises finance the skills required to maintain and initiate different programmes to get a single view of their customer’s interactions This can give rise to a Master Data Management (MDM) nightmare, service bus integration, micro-services, complex data warehouses, and expensive service/support contracts to maintain functionality.
When working across fragmented systems, searching for details of the latest customer interaction (including the last transaction, payment status, and service history) become time-consuming and impacts the quality of service and productivity.
To get to that “single view of the customer”, change programmes are initiated in an organisation with these issues. However, as part of this change, the impact does not entirely become clear until you begin to scratch through the logic embedded in each application. Traceability and dependency become barriers to change. Project estimates become invalid and the program suffers from severe delays and receives negative publicity, leaving the team deflated, exhausted, and resistant to change.
CRM is emerging as a single development platform which bridges the gap between different stacks of applications and aims to provide that “single view of the customer”. CRM is, therefore, at the heart of new business.
A single view of each customer brings an organisation closer to the voice of the customers which enables an organisation to sell better, serve better, and to maintain strong customer relationships. Some industries which have benefited from CRM solutions include:
- Manufacturing and distribution
- Claim management
- The Ministry of Defence
Each industry has its unique definition of “customer” and “business process lifecycles”, either B2C or B2B. CRM becomes a developmental platform which can be moulded to fit any business.
A “single view of the customer” helps business make decisions faster. However, companies must take one step back and ask: what does this slogan mean? Why is it important for your organisation to achieve a single view of the customer?
Knowing your customer and providing the highest level of quality and service remain to be the goals of the most successful organisations in this information rich, customer centric and increasingly competitive market.