From mobile apps, websites and customer service chat to in-store experiences, consumers are engaging with businesses across a growing number of touchpoints. It's clear that omnichannel is not a passing trend; it's here to stay, and organizations are quickly taking stock of what they need to do to adapt.
To accommodate omnichannel growth, companies are finding that they need to rethink how they manage data. In the digital era where customers are shifting to online interactions, identity data management is expanding from employee and partner identity management to customer identities--and managing customer identities for omnichannel engagement has an entirely unique set of requirements.
A hallmark feature of omnichannel is the number of touchpoints that require identity data services. It's one of the main advantages of omnichannel in that there are more opportunities to personalize customer interactions to increase revenue and brand loyalty. But if identity data is not managed properly, the consequences are not just missed opportunities for meaningful engagement. The negative results are brand damaging customer experiences that can be the undoing of omnichannel success.
One of the main culprits of poor omnichannel experiences is siloed data. When data is collected and stored at each touchpoint, app or function, customer experience suffers. The consumer's interaction with you is defined by the limited amount of data captured by each channel instead of the whole range of experiences a customer has with you. The result is a disjointed, frustrating interaction that reflects badly on your brand.
To effectively support omnichannel strategies, identity management solutions must have the ability to establish a single view of the customer. By aggregating information from different data silos, brands gain a holistic, 360-degree profile of the consumer with attributes, preference data and privacy settings that can be used consistently across all channels.
The advantages of a unified customer view include being able to ensure that the data is accurate and current at each touchpoint. Customers no longer experience the frustration of changing account information on their mobile app, for example, and finding the changes have not been applied to their web based online account.
Another benefit is that a single customer view provides companies with a way to capture and consistently honor customer communication and privacy preferences. Brands can ask users to share how they would like to receive notifications and offers, which topics or products they would like to learn about and their preferred privacy settings. This data is stored with the single profile so that these preferences are followed at every touchpoint for every interaction.
A unified customer profile also offers insights into customer behaviors that are impossible to glean from data in silos. It presents a complete picture of how customers are interacting with your business across channels so that you can recognize trends or interests and use this information to deliver better, more personalized services. It facilitates the journey to learning who your customers are so that you can personalize interactions and deliver the products and services they want.
Identity and preference data demands are going to continue to expand and become more complex as digital customer engagement evolves, particularly with trends like the Internet of Things on the horizon creating even more touch points and opportunities for data collection and use. Gaining a single view of the customer may seem like a daunting prospect, but it doesn't have to be. The right customer identity and access management solution (CIAM) can deliver the capabilities to create a unified customer view that supports your omnichannel strategy.