Using GDPR to gain a single customer view

29th Mar 2018

For many years contact centre and customer experience professionals have spoken about getting a single, comprehensive view of each customer.

The thinking goes that if all the information on a given customer is either stored in one place, or at least accessible from a central system, the company can make much more informed decisions.

In our experience at Infinity, companies deploying centralised solutions that eliminate siloes see on average a 20% boost in productivity as well as improvements in customer satisfaction and loyalty rates.

Now, with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force, companies are having to find and catalogue all the data that they own on customers.

For many organisations, this will be a one-time exercise to pass an audit. But that’s missing a huge opportunity. Instead, companies should see GDPR as an opportunity to consolidate their data and put it to use to improve customer service and customer satisfaction.

Getting ready for GDPR

GDPR has an exhaustive list of requirements that organisations need to comply with: What data is considered ‘personal’? How should this be processed and managed? For how long should it be stored? What data security controls are in place? What rights do data subjects have to their own personal data, and how are those rights enforced?

As of May 25th 2018, organisations that have not answered these questions and put the necessary processes in place, could face fines of up to €20,000,000 or 4% of annual worldwide turnover.

Maintaining GDPR compliance without being able to have a single view of each customer is going to be complicated to say the least.

Customers will have new rights:  to know what data is stored about them, to access it, to correct it if necessary, to have it erased, and so on. Every company needs to have processes in place to handle these requests and action them.

From a technology point of view that’s fairly easy to do if all your data happens to be located in one place and accessible through a single user interface. When you take into account structured and unstructured data, plus automatically generated meta data, most companies have personal and sensitive customer data spread all around their technology infrastructure.

Prior to GDPR coming into force, companies need to discover all the personal and sensitive data held in their systems. Next they should create a comprehensive private data inventory to help them understand where the data is, who owns it, what is the legal basis for processing it, and how long they can retain it.

Data discovery tools, such as advanced search algorithms, can perform this task and bring all the data together in one place. That can be in one of your existing systems, or in a separate system for handling GDPR compliance.

Next is to automate the processing of GDPR requests to maintain ongoing compliance. Whether the single customer view of your data estate is a near real-time update of the data in all your systems, or you make it the actual place where you centrally store all data, the key is that you have accessible from one place all the information associated with any individual.

The benefits of single customer view

According to Experian, to date only 11% of companies claim to have a single customer view. For the vast majority of companies, data from different systems and transactions are kept in separate siloes. Unstructured data -- such as the content of emails and chat sessions, as well as meta data recording of what a customer does on the company website -- might not be stored at all.

In addition to making the organisation compliant, the process of discovering customer data, eliminating siloes and bringing all that information together has many benefits for the wider business:

  • Seamlessly manage interactions that cross multiple channels without asking the customer to repeat information or update the company;
  • Route customer enquiries to exactly the right team or person without delay;
  • Proactively engage the customer to head off service issues before they become a problem;
  • Personalise, upsell, cross-sell and offer renewals to meet a customer’s exact needs and circumstances.

On a simple level, when a customer calls into the contact centre, the agent should know that the customer has already emailed about the same issue. Taking it a step further, if the agent has access to the company’s website meta data, they might also see that the customer has tried several times to address the same issue up in the self-service system.

To facilitate a comprehensive customer view, it’s important too to have a single user interface for agents to access all this information. Intelligent workflow can even follow an interaction and present data on the agent’s screen at the appropriate time.

The result is faster, more accurate interactions that can easily take place over any channel and draw on any data source, system or process that is required for the agent to get the job done.

My suggestion is not to see GDPR as an annoyance, or another bureaucratic box to tick, but as an opportunity to finally create a single customer that you can use to improve customer experience across the board.

To download Infinity’s short guide to GDPR and the Single Customer View please click here:




Replies (0)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

There are currently no replies, be the first to post a reply.