Before the Digital Revolution, businesses used to revolve around the brand. The brand name and goodwill used to drive in customers.
But it is a different scene now. The connectivity allowed by digitization has made it possible for customers to access a much larger range of products and brands.
This variety and independence of choice have made the customer the centercentre of business now.
That means, if a customer does not receive the user experience and service they are expecting, they will simply move on to the next option.
According to a 2018 Accenture study, 48% of consumers surveyed simply left a business’s website to make the same purchase elsewhere because the user experience was unsatisfactory.
This is even more visible in B2B e-commerce. B2B customers are far more aware of what they deserve and what can be expected from e-commerce services.
A customer expects would be expecting the following from any B2B commerce platform:
- An intuitive experience throughout the e-commerce customer lifecycle
- Full accessibility of all offerings online over the B2B e-commerce portal
- Transparency in pricing
- A fast and efficient journey from order to delivery
- Responsive and informed customer service
But that is not all. Although not immediately necessary, fluidity in the scalability of the B2B e-commerce platform with the business of the customer is essential too.
If a customer realizes that you are not able to level up your services with their needs and demands, they would simply choose from other B2B e-commerce solutions that can.
What is the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform?
Everyone knows that Salesforce is one of the best B2B e-commerce platforms out there. It specializes in providing SaaS-based services that help brands implement and optimize the best B2B commerce establishment possible.
Customer 360 is a redefined approach to B2B commerce that Salesforce introduced, keeping the customer at the center.
The Customer 360 Salesforce B2B e-commerce experience aims to give a brand an all-round, or as the name suggests, a 360-degree view of a customer and build up their on-field commerce around their journey or actions.
There are three trends in the e-commerce industry that have found special favor with customers. These are:
- Omnichannel communication and access
- Quick, intuitive responses
The solution to highly personalized, interactive, and omnichannel B2B commerce lay in AI and data analytics.
While Einstein AI was the answer from Salesforce to the former, Customer 360 was the answer to the latter.
The main aim of Customer 360 was to allow every piece of information regarding the customer to be made easily and centrally available to the business from one place.
This would allow the business to understand the psyche of the customer better and to take prompt action.
As per the report of “State of the connected customer” by Salesforce, says that around 84% of the customers say that the experience with the company is very essential – just like their products and services.
The same research reports say that around 66% of the customers wish to pay more for a good experience.
Main Features of Customer 360
When introduced, the features that stood out the most for the Salesforce Customer 360 Platform were:
1) Unified Data Management Interface
This reinforces a clicks-not-code based approach to make available all customer data from a variety of external applications under a single dash, just like Salesforce Integration services.
The user will thus have access to all the data they need in one place, allowing them a more big-picture view of the situation.
The connections from the external sources to the Salesforce platform can be established with only a few clicks.
The company will not have to code a dozen APIs to make that happen. Most importantly, the connections will be fully secure and reliable.
2) Universal Customer 360 ID
A universal customer ID helps make the customer experience smooth. The customer ID thus generated will help in the recognition of that customer at any point, channel, or platform of engagement in the system.
This will happen irrespective of the identification information that the customer used for the interaction, like mobile number, email address, name, or username.
This will help keep the profile of the user updated at all necessary locations. It also means that all a person at the company has to do is use that customer ID and all information regarding the customer will be made instantly accessible to them.
3) Use Case-based Packages
Packages are pre-built sets of actions that are kept ready to deploy when a certain common action is taken by a customer, like viewing a product or abandoning the cart.
Whenever one of these known instances are detected by the system, it triggers the package to create a chain of events relevant to the triggering action.
Packages allow easier cross-channel communication of data for a connected user experience. It also provides reusability, which greatly reduces the load on the system., ,
How Does Customer 360 Encourage Agility?
The previous data organization model used in big and small business e-commerce solutions was based on interconnected data silos.
Any cross-sector data was accessed via requests and the required data was sent over to the requesting entity. This resulted in duplication of data and unnecessarily burdened the system.
Customer 360 solves the problem by providing secure connections that allow an agent to access data through retrieval instead of copying.
It does away with the silo system that connected systems on the basis of way too many aspects like e-commerce business departments, services, operations, etc.,
By centralizing all operations around a single identity, ie, the customer, these complexities are smoothed out. It is also where the universal Customer 360 ID comes in.
Any company official, be they in sales, customer service, marketing, or any other department, can access a customer’s information in one go simply by using the ID.
There will be no more hassle of digging out exactly what identifier the customer used for a particular action for which information is required.
Packages help reduce response time between the action of a customer and the response elicited from the company.
This is made possible by pre-defining a set of if-then clauses to be deployed when the customer performs does a certain action.
Ever wondered how any e-commerce site instantly sends you those “Oh no, looks like you did that, so how about this?” messages? TIt is because the action you took set off an alarm that, in turn, switched on a true-false decider elsewhere.
This activated whatever a pre-set response for the value returned, which, in this case, was that message.
But this happens on a much larger scale behind the scenes in Salesforce.
Moreover, the fact that this is all SaaS cloud-based means that there are no physical barriers that prevent information from flowing to information flow from any point to the other. Of course, Customer 360 also enforces strict security and selective accessibility rules.
This is to ensure that any company member only gets access to what they should and not any more that can lead to data misuse and abuse.
Use Case to Define Agility in Salesforce Customer 360
Say a customer is interested interest in a product and goes quite far in the buying process before abandoning it because it falls short of their needs.
This information will be stored in the Salesforce B2B Commerce Cloud. If a Package is set, it will send the information to the Salesforce Service Cloud, Salesforce Sales Cloud, and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
The first will instantly start engaging the customer for more information behind the action.
Once it realizes the customer is looking for a scale-up, it relays to the marketing sector to provide information to the customer for the same.
The second will store the information for analytical purposes that will be used later in analyzing customer behaviour and financial performance.
This will be used to design later business plans and better anticipate when a customer is ready to level up.
The third will be used to divert to a new marketing response to the customer with better offers as well as to incorporate the information obtained from this interaction to influence future campaigns.
It derives from both the above so that it can start showing upscale products to the customer at the right time and opportunity.
This becomes especially useful in Salesforce to Salesforce integrations where you need partners to also be able to access customer information.
Due to a single 360 ID, all customer information is updated in real-time; you do not have to notify each organization separately or worry about outdated data being passed on.
Also, because Customer 360 will put every bit of information aton your fingertips, customer segmentation will become easier.
Based on this, you can create and update your personas for more effective mass campaigns as well as more efficient lead funnels.
Some examples of B2B commerce that can benefit from this are the banking and insurance sector, multi-brand clothing and makeup companies, essential products company chains, franchises, supermarkets with branches, etc.
Agility As The Solution
The agility of a platform can be strictly defined as the adaptive and responsive customer interaction that the platform can deliver.
In that sense, Salesforce Customer 360 provides the perfect B2B e-commerce strategy with a blend of techniques for modern B2B customer interactions to always update the system and elicit the response expected by the customer from the platform.
When you are backed by AI and a high-dimensional data analytics interface, it becomes much easier to maintain agility as you scale with Salesforce.