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    Flexible single customer view: Strength or weakness?

    Nov 13, 2017 Jozo Kovac 3 min read

    Great products are usually built around a great and simple idea. A great idea, executed well, becomes your strength and you can build a great business around it. Sometimes it goes the other way. Especially when new people – friends, customers, employees – do not understand the idea behind it. Then your strength can be perceived as a weakness and that’s the right time to deal with it. Let’s discuss how flexibility impacts Exponea as a product.
    We have designed Exponea to serve an abstract goal; to help companies better understand and improve communication with their customers. It needs to be data-driven. So, at the heart we built 360 degree customer profiles or a single view of the individual customer. What, exactly, should be included in the single view of a customer? The answer, generally, varies as it depends on company specifics. (So, we built a flexible single view of customer that covers the various needs of companies from our target segment.)

    Exponea: Attributes in Single Customer View

    Exponea: Attributes in Single Customer View

    Google Analytics: Filters

    Google Analytics: Filters

    With which version would you be more likely to work?
    The single view of customer in Exponea is designed as our strength. It has many great properties:

    • Easy ingestion of customer related data from various sources, especially from web/mobile apps.
    • Users can easily define dynamic attributes based on all available data.
    • Built-in tools for creation of complex attributes (segmentations, predictions, formulas, etc.).
    • Real-time evaluation (in milliseconds).

    It’s a dream solution for many users. Traditionally, companies spend months in the business requirements collection phase and generate spreadsheets of attributes. In the future, they will be hard-coded into databases. Exponea skips this process and fulfills a promise to the the user –  you can easily enhance your single view of a customer on the fly. Just make sure you collect the right data and all collected data is available instantly. Our users do not know what ETL is, never needed it.
    On the other side it has some disadvantages:

    • Customer profiles are empty by default. (Everything is possible but your first impression: no attributes.)
    • It’s not inspiring by default. (Hey, what should be in my single view of customer? Am I doing it right?)
    • Too much freedom often leads to chaos. (Do you really need 100s of attributes in your profile?)
    • Management of profile requires leadership on client’s side, as product does not enforce it.

    We are aware of the disadvantages and there are ways to mitigate most of them. Our consultants that onboard new clients and support existing clients are instructed on how to keep the customer profile clean and productive. Reactions of clients are mixed. New clients are often confused. Should I really build my own attributes? It looks too complex and I haven’t got enough time. Some senior clients are super happy – they create attributes with ease and target their campaigns with the highest degree of accuracy.
    From the technological perspective, it would be way more efficient to make a fixed list of attributes available in the customer profile. It would be highly appreciated by new users as well. Senior users see disadvantages. It would limit their options. And there would be a black box problem – how are those fields actually calculated? How often? Based on what data?
    We will work on a solution that combines the best from both worlds. Make the onboarding experience pleasant and present those powerful features to clients only when they are ready. In the meantime, there’s an initiative. We have been asking all consultants and customer success managers in Exponea to review data management and create far superior profiles. We know that with the power of Exponea and improved management, we can deliver first-class satisfaction. Flexibility is built into Exponea and is there as our strength which distinguishes us from competitors. If it is a weakness, we need to know about it and solve it case by case.

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