Data has become an essential concept for all businesses, no matter their size or industry. In a world where customer experience can make or break your business, the only way to find out what your audience needs and wants from you is to pay attention to their data.
According to reports, consumer data is the world’s most valuable resource. Failing to properly collect and analyze that data could put you at risk of losing some serious opportunities for sales and growth.
Through proper data collection and analysis, business leaders can significantly improve the customer experience by getting a closer look at their customer’s needs and buying journeys.
Additionally, when you efficiently collect and evaluate your data, you can:
- Refine and improve your marketing strategy: Insights into what customers are saying about your business and how they’re responding to your marketing campaigns show you where to spend your marketing budget, and where to cut back.
- Improve your bottom line: When you know how to align your marketing, sales, and even product creation strategies to customer needs, you boost your chances of purchases. What’s more, you can even collect more repeat customers and brand advocates.
- Boost security and compliance: Data analytics can show you gaps in your strategy for privacy and security, so you can better defend your customers. You can also use this information to make sure you’re compliant with things like GDPR and other regulations.
How Can Companies Collect Data?
Gathering data is the first step of a successful customer data strategy. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to collect useful information online.
For instance, every time your customer calls your service team for help with a product issue, they’re generating data that you can collect with recordings. When your clients sign up for your email marketing campaigns, that’s another form of data.
Some data collection strategies are more complicated in nature and require the use of specialist software. If you want to track every stage of your buyer’s journey, from the point when they see an ad on Google, to the conversations they have with your brand after a purchase, you’ll need things like CRM tools and Google analytics.
Other data collection methods are far more simple. Usually, there are three methods that businesses use to gather information:
- Talking to customers: Talking to your clients is one of the best ways to learn about them. Asking for information in the form of polls, questionnaires, and surveys is a fantastic way to collect lots of useful insights on what your audience needs.
- Accessing existing data: There are sometimes additional forms of data on the market that you can use to inform your own insights. Market studies on your target audience or industry information produced by market leaders are often immensely helpful.
- Indirectly tracking customers: There are many tools online that can help track information about your customers. These tools, like Google analytics, can see which ads your customers click on to visit your site, and even which pages they visit the most.
As your business continues to grow and evolve, you can also dig into the information that you collect within your customer service records to see how clients have interacted with your sales and support departments over the years.
In addition to collecting data, companies can also purchase information in the form of third-party reports. However, it’s important to update that information with your own finding as much as possible. After all, every customer base is different.
An important point to make here is to always keep in mind the safety of the data you collect and comply with regulations regarding data collection.
Making the Most of Customer Data
Collecting data is the first piece of the puzzle. However, that information only becomes useful when you know how to properly translate and use it.
Companies need to start by determining what kind of goals they want to achieve with their consumer data. For some organizations, the key to success will be figuring out what kind of platforms their customers like to use most, or which products they buy most frequently. For other brands, it might be essential to gather data on customer sentiment and loyalty.
Since the best insights come from larger amounts of data, the biggest problem with analyzing your information is often sorting through and organizing all of that content. A human being would naturally struggle with this process.
Fortunately, computer algorithms are much better at dealing with lots of data at once. That’s why companies are increasingly relying on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
AI and machine learning are two of the key components of Industry 4.0, the new generation of the digital landscape, packed full of technology that’s ideal for capturing and using data. Artificial Intelligence tools can easily sort through vast amounts of information at speed, sorting that data into categories based on the insights that it can give.
There are even artificial intelligence tools on the market that can ensure you know when sensitive data needs to be encrypted or removed from your system.
On the other hand, machine learning gives companies the power to pull insights from their data based on trends and predictions. As the demand for data continues to grow, AI and ML will pave the way towards more informed decision making for business leaders.
The Future is Data
Data is essential to making better decisions for your business. Whether you’re trying to connect with customers on a deeper level or reduce your marketing costs, data can help you to achieve your goals. The key to success is figuring out how to collect and analyze data correctly.
Guest Author Bio: Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.