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Customers today share tons of personal data as they engage with an organization through an increasing number of channels and applications. This means that behind every Tweet, every ride-share request, and every other interaction, there is a customer who expects a personalized, unified experience, regardless of which department they engage. And they expect the same level of service from an organization who employs 50 locally or 50,000 people across the globe.

Organizations know this data is out there, but in order to become a customer company, they need to enable all customer-facing teams, from marketing to sales to customer service, to jointly capture this data, analyze it, and respond to it. This combined effort builds an actionable 360-degree view of the customer, and enables companies to deliver an engaging and personalized customer experience.

But the amount of information needed to create this 360-degree view is really the central question companies have to answer. What is too little information? Where you still don’t know enough about your customer to provide an engaging experience? This is the line that each company needs to define for themselves and their customers. 

I had a conversation recently with a former co-worker that touched on exactly this.  She said that in general, she loved cookies, retargeting, and the level of digital intelligence today, because it meant she only had to see ads for things she cared about.  She liked having someone else filter out all the white noise.  Her comments had me wondering: how would others define the ideal 360-degree view of their consumer self?

We asked our team here at Salesforce: "As a consumer, what would you consider as a company having a good 360-degree view of you? What would that mean to you personally?"  Here’s what they said:

”As a consumer, I'd want [the company] to have all of the information about my interactions with them all in one place, no matter where those interactions took place. For example, they should know that I've been a customer since 2001, called in last week about an order including a new watch, emailed for follow-up help, and then went online and asked a question about how to set the alarm on it. I know I had all of those interactions with that company, even though they were on different channels, so why wouldn’t the company know the same information about me?” -- Kevin Lada, Senior Solutions Engineer

”I think it's about personalization. I want to get the right service at the right time—fast, speedy service, whether I’m online or calling in. And speaking of calls, I don’t want to have to repeat my information to 5 different people when I call their support line! ” -- Keara Cho, Online Marketing Manager

“When I'm online, I understand I'm ‘paying’ for all the ‘free’ info with my attention via targeted ads.  That targeting requires tracking me and I'm OK with that because the alternative is paying with actual dollars. And dollars spent on online subscriptions or paywalls equals $0.” -- Irwin Liu, Customer Success

”For them to already have my purchase history/contact info, etc. whenever I call in, walk in the door to a store, or go online.  For instance, if I have items in my shopping cart online with a company—when I walk in to their store, the associate could pull up my info and then show me where those things are in the store.” -- Martha Walchuk, Product Marketing Manager

“It was a rare pleasure when my financial services company called me, proactively. Their research analysts published a report that affected my portfolio so they provided recommendations on how to limit my exposure. That was the day they became an advisor for me. I felt they really knew me so I wanted to continue that relationship with them.” -- Lisa Hammitt, VP Business Operations

“Visibility into all of my purchases across their locations—that I am the same Jeanine in any one of their stores.” -- Jeanine Thorpe, Senior Webinar Manager

“They know my purchase history, based on stuff I bought in the past, and then suggest new stuff based on latest trends—trends that cater to me, the consumer.  That type of experience would increase the chance I purchase from them.” -- Cliff Hawkins, Manager, Marketing Operations

“To know my past interaction history, see my current views/sentiment, and anticipate my evolving future needs with that company.” -- John C., Senior Analyst, Finance and Strategy

“To me, it means paying attention to my publicly shared social media activity, my browsing and shopping patterns. It also means all of that information being used smartly when I try to interact with them again, be it via content served to me on their website, my interaction with a call center rep, or a live chat. 

I love it when I interact with a customer service person and they know what my history is, what problem I'm having and can use any public information I've given them access to in order to solve my problem and make smart recommendations for upgrades and new product solutions.” -- Vivi Forny, Director, Events Demand Generation

"A 360-degree customer view would allow my interaction with a company to be experiential rather than transactional.  It dramatically increases the likelihood that I would continue to give a company my business." -- Sendhil Jayachandran, Director Product Marketing

“As a consumer, it's not significantly important to have a 360 degree view of me; rather, what's important is knowing what's the right data, at the right time, and then conveying that data to me to help me take the next step or action towards success. 

Personally, this means it is valuable to keep a look out for future needs, and know the steps or movements that are going to influence me. This helps me to prepare for what I will need, and then be there to offer it as soon as it is needed.” -- Josh Lee, Executive IT Support

“Considering that the company is offering a product/service of my choice, I would enjoy what they can do to please me as a consumer. At the same time, I would have very high expectations, they have to go beyond the coupon on my birthday.  Having the information doesn't differentiate the business, what you do with it does.” -- Maria Centeno, Senior Sourcing Manager

See any patterns?  Looks like historical context is a big winner, and the ability to connect that information over a variety of platforms is a growing trend.