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Create Clarity in Customer Records with a Customer Utility Lookup

Are you striving for ways to improve customer communication strategies that deliver relevant content? Does your team struggle to deliver this content through the proper channel and in a timely manner?

Implementing a Customer Lookup Utility (CLU) solution can provide your unique business units (customer service, store personnel, regional offices, etc.) the ability to look up details on a customer through a web-based interface, and then make changes or notes to their customer records. This lookup is commonly used to view historical transaction details, promotions offered, as well as information on address and preferences.

CLU Workflow

The CLU is the visible user interface that contains a secure series of screens that allow for searching and displaying of account-level details. Behind the scenes is a powerful Operational Data Store (ODS) that resides in a clustered environment for 24/7 availability. The data model of the ODS is designed to handle frequent, concurrent transaction processing as well as batch file delivery. The ODS is synched with the CRM database so that both systems have the latest data available. In addition, a web services layer is used to enable real-time search, lookup, and update functionality.

How We Do It

Our approach to designing CLUs is a highly engaged model with multiple sessions between marketing, IT, and Merkle’s dedicated custom development team. After first agreeing to the high-level approach, the team will conduct multiple discovery sessions to understand the business requirements. Although the CLU has a recommended flow, it can be customized to meet your specific business needs. Once the base requirements are understood and the visual design is agreed to, the development team will be engaged to build the actual functionality. This will be accomplished through a series of sprints focusing on delivering each key subject area. Here is an example of what the interface looked like for one of our customers:


The CLU allows client personnel in customer service centers, stores, and regional offices to search for and edit customer information in real time. Security roles can be defined at the page level, down to the field level to provide varying levels of access based on the user’s role within the organization.

Through the CLU, users are able to:

  • Search for customers based upon a host of customer-associated variables, including name, address, email, telephone number, and customer or member ID
  • Review details about the customer, such as customer contact information, transaction and promotion history, account history, potential benefits available to them, and current preference settings
  • Make changes/notes in the customer’s file, such as changes to preferences, contact information, and notes on follow-ups required

The CLU is a custom built application, so during requirements a full set of functionality will be discussed. Some clients want the ability to view a customer’s change history/survivorship/lineage, others want to be able to merge/unmerge customer records, while others want to view surveys and results of promotion history and redemptions. The various security roles and privileges will also be custom designed to meet your specific needs.

Use Cases

This solution provides the ability to improve the customer experience by allowing for real-time access to information about their account and offers/promotions available to them. Some example Use Cases are:

  • A call center representative could instantly accommodate a customer’s wish to begin receiving literature in Braille or large print. They could immediately update an email address, phone number, or mailing address.
  • Store personnel could provide current information on promotions and offers available to customers. Information about recent transactions could be used to provide suggestions for related products, accessories, or services available.

By allowing for real-time interaction with the database, the client personnel are empowered to create exceptional, connected customer user experiences.

Interested in seeing how this solution impacted one of our customers? Read about how a nonprofit organization improved customer experiences by implementing a CLU.

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