The Holy Grail of Customer Engagement

As customers (also members, patients, citizens, subscribers, partners, and a wide variety of the labels organizations give to all of us) we understand a simple truth: We, as an individual, should be recognized by those organizations we interact with as a unique person with unique history. In addition, we should always be recognized by the businesses and organizations we interact with as one, single person, regardless of how many channels we leverage or the features or modes of interaction in which we choose to engage.

But, as marketers and technologists, we realize this is the “holy grail” of customer engagement: a 360 view of customers. With data contained in various CRM systems, policy administration systems, sales systems, claims systems, call center case systems and a myriad of other sources, a true 360 view of customers is challenged by fragmented customer data.

During Salesforce Connections earlier this week, Eric Stahl, SVP of Salesforce, sought to build on the announcement of the Salesforce Customer 360 Technology Initiative, which was made at Dreamforce 2018. The initial phase of the Customer 360 initiative is focused on customer identity and the concept of a unified customer ID. The unified customer ID will help businesses figure out, as Eric stated, that, “you are a person in the Marketing Cloud and you are the same person in the Commerce Cloud,and the Sales Cloud and the Service Cloud. That is not four people, that is one person!” Eric continued to point out that, while that seems like a simple solution, it is in fact a big challenge. Salesforce is looking tackle that challenge and is seeking to roll out the unified customer ID by the end of the year. This initiative helps connect the interactions across the cloud and tie the customer touchpoints together.

Building on this initiative, Salesforce announced a major new product at Connections—a Customer Data Platform. This Customer Data Platform is positioned as a consumer-scale data platform that allows segmentation and activation tools, as well as AI-powered insights. Salesforce is going after the “holy grail” of Customer 360 and attempting to connect data about a customer across all parts of the organization. Allowing data to be imported and leveraged to improve engagement, rate campaigns, discover audiences, and improve conversion is a powerful promise.

Will Salesforce be able to deliver on that promise? We will all be eagerly watching!