When you call customer service to ask a question after placing an order and they know exactly who you are and what you ordered, that is made possible by eCommerce customer integration.
In this blog series, we have discussed eCommerce integration in general and the specifics of eCommerce order integration and eCommerce product integration. This final article in the series will explain customer integration in more detail.
Customer Integration: What It Is
Customer integration is the process of synchronizing customer data to match between the website and the backend system often used by customer service. Customer information usually includes
- Order information, including billing and shipping information
- Account information, including customer type (wholesale, tax exempt, etc.) and other unique identifiers, such as a special pricing model
- Demographic information, including sex, age, job title (ex: purchasing manager)
Customer Integration: How It Is Used
Usually customer information is updated on the website (by the customer or the business) when placing an order and is then pushed to the system of record (SOR).
For example, a customer updates his/her online account and this information is pushed to the system of record. Now when the customer calls customer service, a record of the customer’s updated account information is available to the customer service representative.
Customer Integration: Why It Is Difficult
It is very likely that customer information will include multiple addresses. The problem with address information is non-standardization. For example, addresses in the United States use city, state and zip code, but many other countries don’t label addresses in this way. Even addresses within the United States have inconsistencies with street labels, building names and apartment numbers. Having fields to accommodate different address possibilities makes the process of customer integration difficult. Using an address validation service via USPS for online transactions allows merchants to streamline their shipping processes.
Dealing with both online and offline customer orders is also challenging. Many retailers offer different ways to purchase, such as online, by mail, over the phone or in brick-and-mortar stores. The customer information required to place these orders will vary and the method of collecting the information is not always the same and not always matched up with other purchases.
Despite these difficulties with customer integration, it is still essential for customer service and billing. As a collaborative partner, Acumium strives to help our customers make the integration process as easy as possible to allow for a smooth business operation.