I would like to stress that collecting customer information is not only the business owner’s job; it is everyone’s job.
Huh…what’s that? Simply put, Customer Data Management Strategy refers to how you collect and manage information about your customers. With a properly defined strategy you can gather meaningful customer data that will help you to foster profitable relationship with your customers.
If you are wondering why you need to capture customer data, please refer to my previous blog: Why customer data is important for your business?
In a nutshell, a proper customer data management strategy will cover:
a) What customer data to collect
b) How to collect customer data
c) How to store customer data
d) How to maintain customer data.
Let’s get started
Here I would like to share more on how you can get started with your customer data management strategy. But before that I would like to stress that collecting customer information is not only the business owner’s job; it is everyone’s job. So as the owner, you need to share and get the buy-in from all your staff on the importance of capturing customer data. You might want to set collecting customer data as one of the major KPI (Key Performance Indicator) for front office/customer service staffs. Also I encourage you to be creative in motivating and rewarding your staff so it becomes a fun process.
Now you and your team are all pumped up to collect customer data. Let me remind you the first and only rule on data collection: Do not harass customers for data. Endless form filling is enough to put a customer off a purchase. Data collection has to be a natural extension of your sales process. Do not attempt to collect too much data in one sitting but collect it bit by bit to build up a fuller picture of your customer gradually and in a non-annoying way. Review your customer touch-points to see where there may be opportunities to collect, check and confirm customer details. For example, you can conduct surveys on your business; give out free samples; organize competitions; roll out membership/reward program; share free resources like whitepapers or eBooks and many more. In most situations try to avoid asking for more than 5 pieces of information at a time (3 is even better). You should aim to gradually collect additional pieces of key information during future touch points with the customer.
Honesty is the Best Policy – This applies to customer data collection too. Be upfront and open with your customers on how you will use their information. If you plan to enrol them into a membership/reward program let them know the privileges that they can enjoy from your program. If you plan on using the data for sending personalized offers & promotions, let them know how and how often you plan to contact them. Remember that your ultimate intention is to build a long lasting profitable relationship with your customers. So no short-cuts; no short-changes.
Finally, Think Win-Win. As knowing your customer is a valuable insight for any businesses (win for you), people also naturally expect something of value in return for providing their information (win for them). When considering whether or not to give you their information, sweetener in the form of instant gratification can do wonders. Consider giving them an additional discount, freebies, cash vouchers for future purchases, extended warranty, loyalty points, etc.
Will share more on how to store and maintain the collected customer data in future posts. Keep growing 🙂