In today’s world, data is so much more than ones and zeros—it’s wealth. Look at companies like Facebook or Google. Their most valuable asset isn’t their code, their employees, or even their advertisement revenue. What makes these companies so valuable is the volume of data they have about their users.
While the idea of data being a valuable asset is an obvious one for giant tech companies, Facebook, Google, and other tech giants aren’t the only ones who should care about data. Every business can benefit from gathering, organizing, and interpreting data.
No matter what industry you’re in, there’s a near-endless amount of data you could gather from your audience—information that could help you serve them better, drive more revenue, and create experiences that keep customers coming back for years.
When it comes to data, there are so many possibilities that you might find yourself completely overwhelmed and unsure about what data points you should even care about. If that sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive into why customer data matters and the foundational pieces of information you should record for each contact.
How can data make my business more effective?
Data can tell you how to communicate with your audience. The more you know about how your customers have interacted with you in the past, the easier it becomes to serve them proactively. Furthermore, if you collect enough data about enough people, you’ll start to notice patterns and trends that you might not see when looking at an individual customer.
How should businesses store and maintain data?
Because of the volume of customer data you likely have access to, it’s helpful to have a centralized location where everything can be stored, maintained, organized, and analyzed. Investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a great place to start.
While most businesses use a CRM solution to maintain contact data, 60% of businesses say their data is too messy to be reliable. Trying to interpret disorganized, difficult-to-access data will cause a lot of unnecessary headaches. Whatever tool you decide to use, make sure it is dependable and user-friendly.
5 data points every local business should prioritize
1. General contact information
Key identifying information (name, location, etc.) and contact addresses (phone number, email address, etc.) are the foundation upon which you should build your database. This information is essential and will allow you to use data to provide context for current contact conversations and inform future interactions.
No other pieces of data are worth tracking without dependable records of who your customers are and how to contact them. Simply put, make sure to identify and centralize your core contact information before focusing on other types of data.
2. Lead source
Knowing how people usually discover your business will help you make the most of your marketing budget and find new customers more effectively. If you don’t know which of your channels (email, website, tv/radio ads) or campaigns (referral discounts, holiday sales) are driving the most leads to your business, it’s going to be difficult to optimize your marketing strategy.
Don’t get us wrong—experimentation and innovation are good things. Making a blind guess about how to optimize your marketing strategy with no data to back you up, though, is a recipe for disaster.
3. Past purchase data
Knowing what a contact purchased, why they made the purchase, and how often they have made follow-up purchases can have tremendous implications for the products or services you offer. This information can help you market more effectively to existing customers and new leads. When thinking about past purchase data, ask questions like:
- How recently did a specific customer make a purchase?
- How frequently does this customer purchase compared to other customers?
- Are there any commonalities in how customers interact with you right before they purchase?
Having a centralized contact database will make it possible for you to find the answers to these questions. This type of intel is invaluable for your sellers and marketers. By arming your team with a foundational understanding of how your best customers make purchase decisions, you allow them to provide more value for and create stronger relationships with new and repeat customers.
Keeping track of reviews your contacts have left about your business is another way to improve your marketing strategy and overall business operations. Having data about those who have left you five-star reviews on public sites provides insight into who is likely to be a repeat purchaser.
On the flip side, knowing who has left a negative review allows you to take swift action to remedy the situation—and hopefully retain the less-than-pleased customer for future purchases.
5. NPS/CSAT scores
Net promoter scores (NPS) and customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) provide a rating and description of a customer’s experience with your team, your services, or the products they purchased from you.
While reviews give you feedback in a public forum like Google or Facebook, NPS and CSAT scores are a private form of feedback that you can use to learn what your customers like and dislike about doing business with you. These scores can help you identify customers who are considered promoters of your business. Once you know who your top supporters are, you can market to them more effectively and strengthen the trust they already have for your brand. You can do this by sending top promoters a referral promotion or educating them about other products or services you offer.
There’s an old adage that says, “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” The same is true for your business; to improve customer communications and relationships, you must have historical data that gives concrete evidence of what works and what doesn’t.
Organized data is one of the most valuable assets you have as a business owner. If your data is stored in spreadsheets or across several different tools, it will become increasingly difficult to implement its findings in future business decisions.
Your data is trying to tell you stories whether you’re listening or not. Taking the time now to organize and interpret data will allow you to confidently guide the direction of your business for years to come.