If your business has any contact with customers, then you have a wealth of data at your fingertips that can be used for marketing, to improve the customer experience, or even to guide business decisions.
What is customer data?
First things first: what is customer data? It’s anything that your business collects about your customers (or prospective customers). That could be as simple as their contact information, or it could be details on purchases made, demographic data, or information about how customers are using your products or services.
Why collect customer data?
Organisations of all sizes, from small businesses to global conglomerates, can benefit from the collection of data from customer interactions. It helps businesses to better understand who their customers are, what the customer journey is like, and it can improve both your sales processes and your customer service. It sounds good - but how can you use this data effectively?
How to use customer data
Have you ever run a customer survey? Do you have Google Analytics set up on your website? Do you track social media interactions and engagements? Or do you run email marketing campaigns?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, with a little bit of data analysis, you can utilise the information you’ve gathered to improve your business.
Create a better customer experience
Customer service is one of the most important factors in increasing sales and turning one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers. Microsoft found that 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
But how do you know whether you’re providing a good customer service experience? That’s where data comes in. Send follow-up emails to customers who have purchased from you to ask them about their experience. If you frequently see the same improvement requests coming through from customers, you know that’s an area of focus for your business to work on.
Tools like Google Analytics are invaluable for helping you to determine what to upsell and cross-sell to customers. You can see what items customers have frequently purchased together, so the next time someone adds a particular product to their basket, you can attempt to increase the basket value by suggesting other products they might like.
Create personalised experiences
If you have a loyalty programme, you have instant access to a huge amount of data that can be used to create a personalised experience for your existing customers. You know what they like and what they frequently buy, so you can tailor vouchers, offers and discounts - even free gifts - to suit them. You can also use this data to make product recommendations if they’re signed in and shopping online.
Improve the in-store experience
With the data gathered online, from tools like GA, you can improve the experience for shoppers in your bricks and mortar store, if you have one. For example, you might see that customers in London buy more of a particular product than customers in Scotland. This allows you to customise in-store offers and shop windows to suit the region, rather than taking the same approach for all locations.
Develop new products or services
Customer feedback can be a key part of your market research and product development. Why not send out a survey to loyal customers, offering the chance to enter a prize draw as an incentive, to gather information about what products they’d be interested in?
Say you’re a yoga brand that’s thinking about expanding to create a subscription-based yoga app. You could send out a survey to understand whether this is something your current customer base would be interested in, get their opinions on price points, and an idea of how many different classes and teachers they would want access to.
Create engaging content
Data collected from customer surveys is not only useful for improving your customer experience but could also prove to be highly valuable for creating engaging marketing and social material. Polling your customers about their attitudes and opinions can generate interesting content for infographics, increasing your brand awareness, building valuable links to your website, and helping you to reach out to an entirely new customer base.
What is CRM data analysis?
As well as all the great data that can be collected from other sources, customer relationship management (CRM) tools are useful for gathering and organising customer information. CRM software is extremely powerful, allowing a business to manage all of its relationships with customers.
CRM technology brings together customer data from all of its sources to give both customer support agents and sales managers a clear picture of who your customers are and how they use your products and services. It takes all of your customer interactions and provides real-time data - and that data can help you to improve your customer experience, create a better sales cycle, and much more through data analysis and predictive modelling.
How to use CRM data
A CRM benefits everyone in your business, from your sales team to those working on the front line dealing with customers every day. A CRM simplifies big data, making it more manageable and actionable. Some of the ways you could use CRM data include:
- Customer segmentation: You can drill down into the data to create lists of customers, such as those who are most likely to purchase a particular product. You can then push out focused email marketing campaigns for those customers, or suggest products they’re likely to purchase.
- Reporting: Powerful reporting on your sales and marketing processes to help you understand what needs improvement and what’s working well.
- Increase productivity: Smart automation of tasks will cut down the amount of time your sales team spends on prospecting, chasing leads and setting up meetings.
- Reduce customer service contacts: Tracking customer interactions will allow you to see if any issues could be easily resolved with self-serve content, meaning customer support agents can work on higher priority tasks.
- Prioritise issues: Speaking of priorities, a CRM will allow you to prioritise customer issues so you can work through the most important ones first, improving your response times and increasing customer satisfaction.
Benefits of a CRM
Why use a CRM? Is there any benefit to it or can you just continue to utilise data from multiple sources, stored in different places? We’ve rounded up some of the key benefits of CRMs, helping you to better collect and analyse your customer data.
Track issues across channels
What happens if a customer gets in touch on Twitter, but then moves to live chat or a phone call? It could be hard to keep track of whether that complaint was ever resolved leaving you with an unhappy customer - but with a CRM system, it will track conversations across channels automatically.
See all your customer data in one place
Having all of your customer data in one place allows employees to deliver a personalised service as well as resolving issues quicker and more efficiently. If they can easily see that Steve reached out last week to ask when his order was due, or that Liz recently gave a product a five-star review, you can anticipate their needs much better than if you were going in blind.
Bring together fractured data
Businesses are collecting more data than ever before - and that can make it tricky to keep on top of. A CRM ensures your customer information isn’t siloed. Rather, everything is stored in one central place so your team can see everything they need to know at once.
Allow multiple teams access
With CRMs that are cloud-based or have mobile apps, multiple team members can access the data at once, and they can do so from wherever they might be. So if your sales manager is working from home or travelling to a meeting and needs to follow up on a lead, they can simply log in and get the data they need without any fuss.
Automate boring tasks
A CRM allows you to free up time usually spent on repetitive tasks, like data entry or service emails. The tool will do this manually, giving you hundreds of hours back that can be better spent on more valuable tasks like chasing up leads or ensuring customers have a great experience.