Building a Unified Customer Profile - Here's How to Do It

Posted on Sep 8, 2022 10:00:00 AM by Alex Hawker

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In today’s fast-paced competitive market, Communication Service Providers (CSPs) cannot make the mistake of assuming they know their customers and acting based on fragmented, incomplete assumptions.  

Research from Accenture found that 91% of customers say they are more likely to shop with brands and businesses that take the time to understand them and provide offers personalized to their interests.  

Knowing your customer is the key to implementing strong marketing strategies for business growth. It’s not enough, though, to rely on scattered observations or conversations with customers to understand them.  

Understanding your customers in an impactful way relies on a cohesive collection of verified actions and decisions they’ve taken - all of which collectively form a unified customer behavior profile.   

Building a unified customer profile for everyone you serve is the secret to knowing your customers and using that insight to fuel your engagement strategies. Here’s how to build a customer profile from the ground up.  

What is a Unified Customer Profile? 

A unified customer profile is an outline detailing their current needs, expectations, behaviors, pain points, as well as demographic data. A customer profile is built up using real-time first-person data gathered from customer interactions and engagements across all business touchpoints.  

It provides accurate customer representations for segmentation and reveals what they care and don’t care about, allowing you to create hyper-personalized experiences at scale. A customer profile can become your true north star in terms of building customer relationships and developing marketing and engagement strategies.  

 This requires collecting and using first person data to get an in-depth view of every behavioral trait and action to predict future behaviors and create experiences that delight them and surpass their expectations.  

Why is a Unified Customer Profile Important? 

Boosting customer retention, reducing churn, and increasing revenue all rely on one thing: creating the best possible customer experiences. This poses a challenge though, namely, how do you provide exceptional experiences for your customers when you don’t know who they are? 

It’s essential to close any existing gaps in understanding. Creating customer profiles is the way to do that. Having the data you need at your fingertips empowers you to build relationships that matter with your clients, fuel your interactions with them and create meaningful, impactful experiences that they will want to have again.  

5 Steps for Building Your Customer Profile  

    1. Harness data

Establish what customer data sources are accessible to you. Any points of contact customers can make across channels can be used to extract and unify data for analysis. Think of any campaigns, your website, social media, and support channels as definitive data sources.  

Historical and real-time data should be gathered for a comprehensive understanding of what makes a customer tick now and in the future.  

    1. Pull additional information

In addition to data from your channels, try to think beyond the “tried and tested” sources to gain additional data. Offline data, feedback data from surveys, contextual data, and more can help you to understand your customers beyond their direct interactions with your business.  

Having a better understanding of your customers helps you understand what motivates their action or inaction and allows you to further refine your responses.  

    1. Segment and group

Use your collected data to build dynamic profiles of your customers and, over time, you’ll pick up on common traits and behaviors across profiles. This is the start of your segmentation process.  

Segmenting and grouping customers as much as possible enables you to tailor your approaches for each segment of your audience as much as possible.  

    1. Automate and personalize

Once you’ve segmented your audience into identified groups you can use the insights you’ve gleaned from your analysis to begin pushing out data-driven strategies that will drive engagement across the board.  

Customized email campaigns, personalized messages, and tailored product marketing based on customer interests enrich their experience and can help push them further along their journey.  

You can also collect data based on their engagements to help further refine your marketing, improving customer lifetime value, ARPU, and long-term loyalty.  

Industry body TMForum has facilitated research into advanced systems capabilities which facilitate this exact approach Catalyst enables micro-segmentation to turbo-charge digital sales for telcos - TM Forum Inform 

    1. Optimize the customer experience

Tying into the point above, you should always try to keep perfecting the customer experience by continuously updating your customer profiles. It’s not enough to collect and analyze vital customer data only once and never again.  

Customers’ habits and preferences change over time and if you’re relying on outdated profiles to inform your engagement approaches, you’re leaving money on the table.  

Refreshing your profiles will reboot your efforts and prevent them from becoming misaligned with customer needs. How often you update your profiles will be up to you but, with time, you’ll land on a proper update period.  

Conclusion  

Leaving something as important as your customer engagement to assumption is not an option, for engagement that delivers results, you need data-driven customer profiles on your side.  

Having the right tool that enables you to deliver the kind of experience your customers want is also essential to building the ideal customer experience.  

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