As your organization grows, so does the number of different systems you use to get your work done—pieces of software, databases, cloud applications, and more. Over time, data accumulates in each of these systems, each meant to serve a specific need or use case.
The result is a vast amount of data. Though useful within any individual system, the piecemeal construction makes it difficult to use the full range of your data in any meaningful way or to distill big-picture insights from it.
The solution is what’s known as a single pane of glass approach.
Here, we’ll explain what’s meant by ‘single pane of glass’ and the customer experience benefits organizations can reap from implementing this type of system.
What is a single pane of glass?
Single pane of glass is a term that originated in the IT field. It’s used to describe a management tool that brings together data from several different sources or interfaces—like the software, databases and applications we mentioned above—and presents it in a single, unified view.
Without a single pane of glass, viewing your data is like looking through eyeglasses from a bunch of different people, each with a different prescription. You might be looking at the same thing, but it appears a little different through each pair of glasses. Here, the “glasses” are our different systems. Instead, a single pane of glass gives everyone the same pair of theoretical glasses with which to view the world.
Though traditionally used in an IT context, a single pane of glass approach can offer great benefits in the customer service field, reducing pain points for both agents and customers.
What are the CX benefits of a single pane of glass?
A positive agent experience drives a positive customer experience, and a single pane of glass makes agents’ lives infinitely easier.
With a single pane of glass, a central dashboard displays data from all viewpoints in an intuitive user interface, making it quick and easy for agents to access and use the information they need. The dashboard can be customized to an individual’s or an organization’s liking based on their specific needs and preferences, with custom fields, automated reports, and more.
Instead of having to click back and forth through multiple screens working in several different programs, an agent’s user experience is much more streamlined, with access to all of their customer information, communications and internal notes in a single view.
Consistent customer experience
A negative customer experience is never a good thing, but an inconsistent one is, by some measures, worse. If a customer has a great experience one day and a terrible experience the next, the level of disappointment is heightened and the customer’s ability to have confidence in your brand in the future is significantly inhibited.
With a single pane of glass, everyone within a department or organization is looking at the same thing, with no data points unavailable or hidden based on access to different systems. This breeds consistency, allowing management to set clear expectations and eliminating guesswork on the part of agents.
According to research by McKinsey, the level of consistency within a customer journey is a strong predictor of overall customer experience and loyalty. In a study of the customer experience at banks, for example, variability in experience from branch to branch was much higher among the lower-performing brands.
Automation increases productivity and conserves resources. Trying to automate systems with siloed interfaces, however, is like trying to sail a ship with crew members who all speak different languages. It’s not impossible, but it’s very difficult and not at all practical. In fact, facilitating communication would probably be more work than sailing the actual ship!
When all data is unified through a single pane of glass, it becomes exponentially more powerful because you can put it to work anywhere. It can be used to create automated workflows that save time and cut down on errors.
When you’re looking at data from several different views, it’s tough to see how pieces of information relate to one another or draw any meaningful conclusions from it. The same pieces of data, for example, might be labeled differently or measured by different yardsticks, making it impossible to combine easily.
A single pane of glass standardizes the data, allowing you to compare apples to apples, so to speak. It’s much easier to see relationships, identify trends, and draw conclusions than can be used to inform strategic business decisions.
The customer experience benefits from more data. A single pane of glass helps you use the available data in the most effective, efficient and practical way, driving more positive interactions and higher customer satisfaction.