10 Important Questions to Ask Yourself When Managing Customer Data

10 Important Questions to Ask When Managing Customer Data

The digital terrain is perpetually changing so everybody involved must have the resiliency to adapt to new technology. And with data playing a crucial role, knowing what to do with it can spell the difference between a profit-earning campaign and a strategy that’s headed straight down the drain.

The business environment across different industries is increasingly becoming data-driven, so companies must depend on metrics such as campaign measurements, consumer statistics and real-time data collected from customer interactions to keep up and stay relevant with the competition. For this reason, creating a data management strategy that collects, links and processes data across available channels in a secure manner is key to a business’ success.

It is crystal clear that effective data management is needed to help your company gain profit. Improper handling of data may result to the distribution and analysis of incorrect data. As a result, valuable revenue is lost. According to a quality data research report, a mere 10% of commercial companies claimed that none of their resources is wasted by poor data quality and 83% claim that inaccurate prospect or customer data impact their revenue.

As it goes with any business move to help the company realise its goals, there is always a right way to manage data even if means getting help from IT outsourcing companies. When customers put a great deal of faith in you every time they give their personal information, you have a huge responsibility of taking care of it.

You have to understand that a relationship built on trust is crucial in establishing a loyal customer base and gaining a business advantage. So, before you start planning how to manage their data, you will need to ask yourself these important questions first.

10 Important Questions to Ask When Managing Customer Data [Infographic]

1. Should I be spending the time to collect data from customers instead of just finding ways of earning from them?

Having a significant understanding of your customer base is key to growing your business effectively, so collecting data about them gives you the much-needed insight in steering your business in the right direction. This will provide you with the ability to come up with more effective marketing strategies that involve a more targeted approach.

2. What kind of data should I be collecting?

A good start is focusing on the basics since you will need that information to get in contact with your customers in the future. This includes their name, phone number, email and mailing address. You can also go deeper into their personal information, which will help you streamline your strategies. Demographic tidbits such as age, gender and profession can be useful.

Customers may not want to share all these information at first, but as their trust in you grows they may be more inclined to give you more personal facts about their lifestyle and personality. You can go as deep as asking about their marital status, children and among others as soon as trust has been established.

Aside from personal information, a record of their transactions from past purchases can give you an in-depth look into their buying habits. This information can help your marketing strategy by pre-emptively promoting to them, particularly when they are due to make a purchase. This is also an opportunity for you to recommend a better version or send a sample to nudge them in the right direction.

3. How can I effectively collect customer data?

An opportunity will always present itself each time a customer interacts with your company. You can collect valuable data by asking how they heard about you and if they can be added to your mailing list. After making a purchase, you can send them an email of a feedback survey that contains questions about their buying experience including questions about their demographics.

It is important to note that according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, it is illegal to procure an email address from specific online sources that include blogs and internet chat rooms without the explicit permission of site users and owners.

4. How do I organise and store customer data?

All the data you collect won’t do you much good if you don’t have an efficient method to organise and store them, and a basic Excel spreadsheet isn’t one of them. The best, quickest and most cost-effective way to store, track, organise and analyse customer data is to use an all-in-one customer relationship management solution.

5. How do I keep my customers’ personal and financial data protected?

The first step in safeguarding all the valuable customer data in your possession is through encryption. This includes their names, both email and mailing addresses, credit card information, spending habits and other sensitive data in your system.

When it comes to protecting data, investing in a cybersecurity plan will always be a prudent move. You might consider acquiring the services of a data security specialist to help you with the task. Makes sure they use the highest encryption standards available for a robust security system in place.

6. How often do I need to update the records to correct errors and complete the missing details?

Customer data is perpetually changing. Many switch numbers, move to another place of residence, and there are also those who even legally change their names on a yearly basis. This makes it impossible for traditional customer relationship and data management systems to keep up with the rapid changes, resulting in gaps and inconsistencies in your records. You will need a system in place that updates and validates your customer records at least daily to avoid wasting time and money in targeting the wrong audience using the wrong message.

7. What benefits can I get from the data I collect?

The biggest advantage you can get out of collecting data is the way it adds value to your customers. It also helps you have a deeper understanding of your target customers, giving you a clearer picture of how to communicate and market to them. This will effectively streamline your strategies for a more successful marketing campaign that boosts sales.

8. Is it legal to collect customer data?

All you have to do to legally collect customer information is to create a customer information privacy policy that is accessible to read by your customers. This should make everything clear, including information on who is collecting the data, what it will be used for and if you have plans on sharing it with others.

9. Can I sell customer information to third-party marketers?

The choice is entirely yours. Like many companies, customer information is sold to turn in a profit, but be warned: doing so could alienate your customers. When this happens, many of them don’t come back once they leave.

If businesses use customer data like a mailing list, what usually happens is they just spam them with emails. But if they use it to engage in an intelligent conversation and include relevant offers, they are likely to turn into a preferred partner. It should be noted that if you ever decide to sell customer data to third parties, you should clearly make it known in your privacy policy.

10. What are the most common mistakes to avoid?

The most common mistake businesses make thus far is doing everything too fast. The right thing to do is not to force your way into them but instead, ease yourself in and let them build a foundation of trust with you. Getting in too deep and too fast when asking for your customers’ personal information can be off-putting and drive them away the moment you engage them.

Conclusion

Asking the right questions when managing data will indeed point you in the right direction. This will help you refine your whole process and create a more effective marketing strategy. Keep in mind that the main focus here is establishing trust and not breaking that trust since you will be handling their personal information, so use their data wisely. Pretty soon you will be able to reap the wonderful benefits of managing their data responsibly, which include growing your customer base, building trust with your customers and ultimately boosting your profit.

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James Patterson
James Patterson

James Patterson, Head of Business Development, Global Corporate Clients joined transcosmos in 2007. He oversees business development and sales and marketing initiatives throughout the EMEA and APAC regions for transcosmos IT and Customer Support Services, managing a team of sales professionals and consultants in these territories. James fully understands and supports the requirements and challenges of complex IT Support and Customer Service environments, having guided an array of large organizations through the consultative process of developing complex solutions to fit the customer’s needs. Previous to transcosmos, James was a regional Sales Manager in the Health and Leisure Industry winning many awards for exceeding sales targets and being innovative.

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