By now every mid to large sized company on the earth is collecting customer data. Some do it better than others, and some use that data better than others. These giant companies didn’t just start with stockpiles of customer data, they had to start somewhere and so do you. There are many ways to begin collecting customer data, but no matter how you do it there’s a few things to always keep in mind.
Your customers are people just like you and me. We don’t like to be bothered with time consuming or invasive questionnaires after our very first interaction with a business. Sometimes in business I feel like we forget we’re just interacting with other people just like us. If you were at a party and someone came up to you to talk, I hope you wouldn’t bombard them with how awesome you are and then ask them random seemingly unconnected personal questions.
Keep it brief and simple, and in my opinion be upfront and completely honest with them about what you’re going to do with that information. Capture a first name and an email off the bat, don’t worry, they’ll be plenty of time to find out more about them. If you’re asking for that name and email, tell them that you’d like way to communicate with them about your business, special offers etc.
57% of consumers say they’re willing to share personal data in exchange for personalized offers or discounts – Salesforce “State of the Connected Consumer”
There’s no one right way to start collecting basic information from your customers. Look at how your customers interact with your business and use that. Do they shop online? Maybe they pay at a cash register. Whatever way they consume your information or buy from you there’s an opportunity to ask for some basic info.
If you look at collecting data as something you’re doing FOR the customer it starts to make a big difference. Think about how it will make shopping with you more fun, more efficient, and more rewarding for your customers! Once the data starts to pour in you’ll be able to tailor offers to each customer (just like every big business in the world) and they’ll feel like you understand them on a personal level.
More than half (52%) of consumers are somewhat likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize their communications to them – Salesforce “State of the Connected Consumer”
Not only that, but you’ll start to understand your customers better and realize what they have in common so you can start to market to non-customers that are similar to your best customers. This is yet another HUGE advantage that large companies have utilized…until now.
This patient measured approach will be the foundation for a great relationship with your customers as well as the roots of a powerful database that will allow you to interact with your consumers like large companies do. Your customers will now experience all the personalized comforts of dealing with a large business but with your unique small business approach and your marketing will be infinitely more efficient and profitable.
Additional resources if you’re interested:
Ryan Royal runs the day to day operations at Big Buck Research & Analytics, a full service market research and database analytics firm that levels the playing field for small and mid sized businesses. He enjoys living life as a husband, father and business owner. You can follow Ryan on LinkedIn, and Big Buck on Twitter, and Facebook or subscribe to the monthly digest!