Data is at the heart of any business. It should be collected at every point where there is interaction with customers. However, when businesses consider collecting data, they should think about what they want, why they want it and where they can get it from.
Sounds obvious? The trouble is that many businesses store data ‘just in case’, creating a database of little use to them and which drains resources. So, here are some key steps to consider:
1. Set objectives
Businesses need to ask some pragmatic questions about what is achievable. Any data capture must be proportionate to the businesses’ relationship with the customer. Businesses should, of course, collect the information they need to market to prospects but they shouldn’t collect in-depth information until they know whether prospects are going to become customers.
2. Capture the right data
More detailed data can be recorded about high value customers than for those with whom the business has fewer dealings. It’s also very useful to learn how the customer heard about the firm, to check on the efficacy of your own marketing and to see who’s recommending your business.
Some data capture particularly factual data can be automated with the customer effectively filling in a form.
Once such data is collected, the data house should rank and dovetail it into the database in a useable form. However, human contact is important when collecting information about the customer’s relationship with the company, why they like or dislike the product or service and how the business can serve their needs. A greater degree of depth can be gained through manual data capture client reactions, intonations, nuances, etc.
4. Capture lifestyle data
Businesses often capture data for two specific reasons. Firstly, in larger organisations the more marketers understand about individual contacts, the more they are able to tailor their marketing. Secondly, many small businesses are managed by their owners, so understanding the owner becomes critical. Collecting consumer-type information can be done direct from the individual and then be enhanced from a third-party data source.
5. Get collegues on board
Once businesses have decided what data they need and why, they have to motivate their staff to collect it. It is vital that staff understand why the data they are capturing is important. Staff renumeration and recognition packages need to reflect success and accuracy in data capture.
Data should be collected at all touch points by any member of staff who has communication with customers.
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