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8 Tips to Improving Your Customer Data Collection

Jessica True | April 4, 2024 |

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8 Tips to Improving Your Customer Data Collection

Customer data collection is essential for today's merchants. It can help inform a wide range of decisions as well as gauge various aspects of your operation. But how happy are you with the quality of that data? Do you ever feel you could improve the quality and thus see improvements in the areas you use it in?

Put simply, better data means better decisions and results. The big question is how to improve your data collection so we’ve gathered some tips to help you make a change for the better.

Customer data - things to consider

1. Goals

The first thing to consider is your goals. Being able to list the reasons you want better customer data can help identify various methods. Of course, you may have more than one goal so list the ones you have, ideally with the prioritized ones highlighted. 

  • Monitoring customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. 
  • Improving customer service. 
  • Identify pain points. 
  • Learn customer wants and needs. 
  • Improve processes.
  • Better forecasting and decision-making. 
  • Reduce costs/increase profits. 

2. Type of data

What your goals are will determine what type of data you need to collect. For example, if you were looking to improve contact center AI solutions, you might look at data such as contact information, location, and buying habits. Knowing the data you need to collect is going to help identify how you can improve your overall customer data collection.

3. Storage and protection

It’s also essential to have plans for storing and protecting the data you collect. Storage is going to depend on what data you are collecting and how much of it there is. A large multinational company will likely have a lot of data and may be utilizing data lakehouses. A smaller business might be using CRM (customer relationship management) solutions. 

The other thing you need to think about is protecting that data. There may be laws and regulations governing this and you need to comply or face potentially large financial penalties. Customers want to know you value their privacy and that any information you hold on them, confidential or otherwise, is protected from cybercriminals

Include encryption protocols, access controls, regular data backups, and security awareness training to ensure your employees understand the importance of safeguarding sensitive information.

8 Tips for Improving Your Customer Data Collection

There are many ways of collecting customer data and you may find that automation software can be as useful here as it can be with marketing. Tie the following tips together with your primary goals. 

1. Newsletters

Email newsletters can be a great way to both engage with your customers and collect the data you’re looking for. Remember to include a privacy notice and to make it easy for them to opt-out if they want to. Your newsletter can help identify the type of products they want you to carry as well as the sort of content in things such as blogs. You can also use them to measure customer satisfaction levels.

Additionally, consider leveraging email outreach platforms to automate and streamline your newsletter campaigns, ensuring efficient data collection and engagement.

2. Surveys

Surveys may be one of the best ways to gather qualitative data. They can help you drill down into the thoughts of both existing and potential customers. You can send them out as part of a newsletter or on your social media platforms. They can be an integral part of any customer feedback loop and can be applied to any area of your business, from website navigation to shipping, or from product quality to customer service. 

Additionally, consider incorporating form automation tools to streamline the survey process and efficiently gather data from your customers. Automated forms can save time and ensure consistency in data collection, allowing you to focus more on analyzing the insights gathered.

  1. 3. Chatbots 

The advent of AI-powered systems has seen dramatic changes in many areas of your business. Chatbots can be an efficient way of gathering certain data, especially during interactions with your website or your customer service lines. They can help you identify any pain points in your sales funnel or website as well as things that might be ‘missing’ from your site. 

  1. 4. Blogs

You may think of blogs as being primarily informative and a good way of bettering your SEO (search engine optimization), but the associated data can be helpful too. Monitoring what content is most popular, as well as collecting feedback, can help you improve future content. By comparing blog data, you can see what your customers like. 

For example, a blog on domain names might have a small number of people engaging with it but a blog about free SSL hosting could have a much higher number. By knowing what your customers want, you can improve their satisfaction levels. If you don’t already, consider asking people to subscribe to your blog just as they might subscribe to your newsletter.

  1. 5. Social media 

There is a good chance that many of your customers also connect with you on social media so this can be a useful place when it comes to customer data collection. Many of the platforms, including Facebook, offer insights into how your audience engages with you. This can give you data on the best times of the week/day to post, where your audience is, and other demographic factors. 

As we live in an omnichannel era, social media should be a main focus. By analyzing your existing customer data such as age, you can get an idea of what platforms your customers prefer. This can increase your audience and thus give you more data to collect. You will also find that social media can be where people will leave reviews and talk about your brand. 

6. Look within

You already have one of the richest veins of data available, your customers’ history with you. Whether you’re already using a CRM solution or not, your records contain plenty of relevant data that may be untapped. With good analytical tools, you can map any patterns that occur within those datasets, segment them into different groups, and add personalization. 

For example, you may notice that you have clusters of regular customers in certain geographical areas that could inform your logistics strategy. You might also notice patterns when it comes to the popularity of products or even when certain products sell well. This can help you when it comes to inventory management or forecasting future sales.

  1. 7. Website 

Your own website is another source of rich data that can inform you about key metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators). You can track website patterns using one of the many specialist analytic tools or, if you’re operating on a budget, Google Analytics can give you a lot of insights into how people are engaging with your website. 

Consider leveraging modern marketing techniques such as integrating QR codes strategically on your website. QR codes can provide a direct link between offline and online marketing efforts, allowing you to track customer interactions with physical products or advertisements through digital channels. By analyzing QR code scans, you can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences, enhancing your overall data collection strategy.

By looking closely at website data, you may see what pages are and aren’t working. You might decide to then go through an A/B testing process to see if you can improve results where needed. As well as site traffic, you can also monitor ad performance and where your leads are coming from. It can also highlight whether your remote support strategy (if you have one) is fulfilling all its requirements. 

Furthermore, consider leveraging your website as a platform for customer engagement and data collection. For instance, integrating an online designer clothing marketplace can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors, while also facilitating transactions and fostering business relationships within the fashion industry.

  1. 8. Make it fun or add incentives

While a lot of quantitative data is fairly easy to collect, it can sometimes be harder to collect qualitative data that can provide deeper insights. Add to that the fact that many people don’t want to fill in longer surveys, and you have a problem to overcome. You have a choice of ways in which to overcome that hurdle; add some fun or incentivize things. 

To go the former route, you can make any surveys fun to take part in. Add some graphics and make your survey more of a quiz. The latter option is likely to produce even better results. By rewarding people for their participation, with discounts, free shipping, or similar, then they will want to take part, thus improving your customer data collection. 

The Takeaway

Data has a thousand uses to your business but it is important not to be drowned in too much data. Identify your data-driven goals and then list the type of data you need to achieve those goals. Once you have carried out these two steps, then you can look at what methods will best work for you. 

Just as you might practice segmentation for marketing purposes, you could consider segmenting your data collection and analysis to suit different goals.

Author bio: Jessica True is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy and Operations at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns.