Since you have to find appropriate solutions for storing, evaluating and distributing your data to the relevant teams, it might be beneficial to not gather all the data you can get. Assuming you don’t want to drown in your own data, you should carefully consider which information about your customers you can use for targeting and product development. It’s easiest to do this once you are aware of the different categories of customer data.
The Four Types of Customer DataIdentity Data: every information that tells you, who exactly an individual is. This includes facts which make it possible to identify unique individuals precisely. Identity data can include information such as the full name of your users, their postal address, telephone number, email address, social network information, their account name, customer ID…
Descriptive Data: this kind of data contains facts that further describe, who your user is. Information about their family, their marital status, their job and career details. Another important information you should know about your individual users is what permissions they gave you concerning the usage of their data. Which permissions to communicate did they grant you and for which reasons are you not allowed to contact them?
Quantitative Data: quantitative data is measurable operational data that people produce when using your product. It enables you to understand how your users behaved, reacted or transacted. Quantitative Data describes every activity completed between the customer and your business and can be further split into behavioural data and interaction data and communication information:
- Behavioural and Interaction Data: general patterns customers produce while using and directly interacting with your product. This includes purchases, registrations, browsing, clicks, navigation paths, using the customer support form, renewal of subscriptions, abandoned shopping carts and whether they use different devices.
- Communication Information: every information concerning past and future communication between you and your customers. This data can include the date of your exchange, channels used, emails opened, click through rates as well as social media activity (likes, follows, comments…) and customer service information.
Qualitative/Attitudinal Data: data that aims to describe your users’ potential behaviour and attitudes towards your products (How do customers rate your service? Do they value your product? Would they purchase it again?). It also includes their opinions, preference data and motivational aspects (Why was the product purchased? What was the key reason for the purchase?). This kind of data is usually gathered in surveys, focus groups or usability tests.
Questions to ponder before you start gathering dataBefore you start gathering information about your customers you should relate the data to your business model and -goals to get a clear idea of your needs. Which data is critical to the core success of your business? This helps you understand which data is valuable and therefore should be collected and evaluated.
Another issue to consider is the protection of your customers’ data. If customers give you information like their email address, they trust that you won’t sell their data or use it to spam them. Be careful about how you use your data or you risk losing customers: use the information you gathered to figure out which content is the most relevant and useful to your customers and focus on addressing their specific needs.
When thinking about what information you need to gather always start with the basics like your users name and email. You can use this to personalize your emails as well as your marketing. Once you established a certain degree of trust, you can start gathering additional information-such as demographic information-via feedback questionnaire.
What about transactional data? Transactional data should always be recorded as it’s basically free. You don’t need to explicitly ask your users for this kind of data since they produce it automatically. Their purchase and interaction history will also help you personalize your offers. If everything works out, your users won’t feel like you invaded their space and by suggesting fitting or complementary products to their purchase history you’re merely offering good service.
Do you really need all the information you can get about your customers? While you need a way to contact your customers for marketing purposes, to gather their feedback and answer their questions you should question whether you really need to know the name of their first pet. Only try to collect data about your users if you can do so in a natural, non-threatening way.
Mistakes to avoid when gathering dataHaving determined which data is the most useful to you and should therefore be gathered, there are a few potential hurdles to avoid:
- Don’t ask for too much information up front–always try to develop some kind of relationship before asking for any information other than your user’s name and email address.
- Don’t scare customers off by asking personal questions. If people don’t understand why you need the information you’re asking for they’ll feel like you’re invading their privacy.
- Don’t use long forms to gather Information. They are hard to fill in and can easily lead you users to leave your website.
- Don’t use your users trust to become a pest. Restrain your marketing efforts and try to offer useful, relevant and engaging (quality) content to your customers.
- Don’t get lost in your data. Organize it so that it’s useful to you. Know what you want your data to give you and find a system that will help you achieve just that. That way you can use your collected data to personalize your communication and marketing, modify and refine your customer persona and develop engaging content.
Are you still looking for a solution to help you manage you customer data? We’re working on just that. Stay up to date!
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