For the past few years, the industry has been abuzz with “360-degree customer profiles” and for good reason: when created correctly, these profiles offer a complete and consolidated view of the customer’s relationship with the brand. Businesses that achieve a 360-degree view of their customers are able to see each person’s interaction with their business no matter where those interactions take place.

For instance, a retailer with a complete view of its customers would know about the products that a shopper has purchased online and in-person, so it can make tailored recommendations based on each shopper’s preferences, buying history, and even sizing information.

360-degree customer view can also be applied to restaurant brands. A restaurant that has comprehensive customer profiles would have a clear record of the food and dining preferences of its patrons. Favorite dishes, previous purchases, and allergy information are all stored in each customer’s profile, and this helps the restaurant’s staff when making food recommendations.

The benefits of 360-degree customer profiles

360-degree customer profiles shed light on interactions that the customer has had with the brand across multiple channels — including their on-site behaviors, on the brand’s website, and in their mobile app. This helps businesses “connect the dots” between multiple touchpoints.

When brands have a clear view of someone’s history (i.e., their on-site visits, previous purchases, conversations with on-site staff, notable events, etc.), businesses can get to know the customer better, anticipate their needs, and meet their expectations.

Offering relevant, personalized customer experiences will lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty. When brands are able to effectively personalize their interactions with customers, they’ll reap the rewards in the form of repeat visits and purchases.

Salesforce Research found that 84% of customers say that they would be more likely to do business with brands that treat them as individuals, and not numbers. Moreover, 79% of customers say that the brand experience is as important as the company’s products and services and 79% of customers would trust companies more if businesses would use people’s data to personalize their experience.

How can brands achieve a 360-degree customer view?

By now we’ve established that having 360-degree customer view is a game-changer for businesses. But how exactly can brands achieve this view? There isn’t a cookie-cutter solution for everyone, but there are a handful of best practices to consider.

Understand on-site behaviors. Physical locations continue to be a significant part of the customer journey. In fact, 60% of Gen Zers prefer to shop in-store. This means it is essential that businesses use on-site customer data to create and enrich customer profiles.

But the traditional methods for collecting on-site customer data — e.g., through POS systems alone or loyalty programs — won’t give brands the full picture of their customers.

Who are the customers? When did they visit the location? Which places did they visit? How much time did they spend there? The only way to answer these questions is for brands to offer guest WiFi. By enabling customers to connect to their WiFi network, businesses can glean insights into customers and their on-site behaviors.

Encourage customers to share their data. It’s critical to get customers on board with the company’s data efforts. To build meaningful profiles, businesses must encourage customers to share their information.

Getting customers comfortable with sharing their information starts with respecting their privacy. To that end, businesses must stay on top of privacy regulation laws — such as GDPR — and choose solution providers that allow them to configure their WiFi services based on each location’s privacy rules.

For best results, brands must make the WiFi onboarding process as simple as possible. Businesses should give customers multiple login options — i.e., phone number, email and social — so they can choose the option they’re most comfortable with.

Have a unified identity for each customer. Businesses should centralize all (consented) customer data into a single customer view. This means that whether a customer makes an on-site visit, buys something online, or gets in touch with the brand’s call center, all their interactions should feed into a centralized profile. This ensures that the business gets a full picture of the customer’s relationship with the brand.

The key to creating unified customer identities lies in having tightly-integrated systems. It’s important for brands to ensure that their solutions can “talk” to each other, so that customer data flows smoothly from one system to the next.

Selecting the right solution providers is critical. Businesses must do their research to determine which solutions can integrate with each other and which data points can be synced together.

Get multiple teams in sync. It’s not just about technology, though. Members of various teams, including sales, customer service, marketing, and IT, should all play a role in making sure that customer data is properly collected, stored and used. Getting various teams on board and in sync with the company’s customer data initiatives starts with staff training and education.

Businesses should see to it that their employees understand the value of 360-degree customer profiles. Of course, the training that each staff member receives depends on their role. Those with customer-facing jobs would benefit from knowing how to encourage customers to share their information, while employees in marketing or HQ should know the ins and outs of viewing, analyzing and understanding customer data.

Be competitive with real 360-degree customer profiles

Customer-centricity is absolutely critical for brands that want to thrive in the coming years. And the only way to achieve that is to have a complete and accurate view of each customer’s relationship with the company, including on-site customer data.

Creating real 360-degree customer profiles takes work, but the payoff is more than worth it. Having a singular view of all customer interactions enables brands to understand, and ultimately, serve its customers better.

Cloud4Wi helps businesses do all that and more, through a robust application suite that lets brands gain actionable customer insights. Get in touch to learn more or view our success stories.