Retailers are getting really good at reconciling customer data from across different sales channels--be they brick and mortar, web site, catalog or telephone--and unifying it into a single view of the customer. And they're doing this at the operational level, so they'll know that I've been on the web site within an hour or two of my coming into the store. The good news is that a single identifier, like phone number, is nice but not imperative. With CDI, a company can take a handful of key customer identification attributes--say like phone number, street address and birth date--and come up with a reliable and re-usable customer identifier that can be used to pinpoint that customer across systems. So you no longer need to designate a unique phone number across your systems in order to identify a unique customer.
With customer data integration the capabilities are more reliable and robust, and you can find the actual customer you're after. Unless, that is, she pays cash for that candy bar!
- For more information on CDI challenges, read "Customer data integration evolves to customer hubs, Forrester says."
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