Customers stand in a line. You can capture information from your customers in ethical ways to achieve your business goals.

Keys to Capture Better Information about Your Customers

Are you using customer information to drive sales?

If you aren't doing it today, consider starting. This move can help your business benefit in big ways. Here's how. When your customers interact with your business through your website, chatbot, social media pages, or any other means, they can give valuable clues about who they are, what they’re looking for, and the decision factors they’ll use to make a purchase.

You need to capture these clues and use tools to analyze them. When you do, you can make some important insights that transform how, where, and when you market to your customers—and what you can say to influence their next steps.

Ready to learn more? Let's get started.

 

Why should I collect customer data?

The right data can help you learn about your customers’ needs, objections, opinions of your offerings, and motivators for making a purchase. All of these insights can drive some major wins for your business. Here are a few:

  • They can help you spot the common pain points your customers experience and highlight features that address them.
  • They can help you write marketing messages that land with individual customers.
  • They're often useful for identifying the platforms your audience is using (so you can make a point of building your presence there!).
  • They might help you develop new products or services that address their needs.
  • They may help you find commonalities in what bothers people about your brand. Then, you can work on fixes.

 

Great customer data can help you get a clear idea of who you serve, what they want, and how you must deliver. This information can give you an edge over competitors who haven’t started capturing it. It can also help level the playing field between you and competitors who always seem well-positioned.

 

What kinds of data should I collect?

There are four categories of data you might want to collect:

  1. Identity data, which could include first and last name, mailing and shipping address, telephone number, date of birth, gender, preferred language, payment preferences, and account information.
  2. Quantitative data, which may include when, where, and what a person purchases, how much they spend, what they return, their cart abandonment patterns, which emails they open and/or click through, the times in which they visit your website, whether they register for information, and the details of interactions they have with your business.
  3. Descriptive data, which might include demographic information such as marital status, number of children, career, education level, income, hobbies, or interests.
  4. Qualitative data, which may include information on your customers’ opinions, motivations, perceptions, and attitudes about what you offer.

 

In every case, the data you collect should help you understand your customers, find patterns, and form important insights that can help you sell, market, and serve your customers more effectively.

 

How do I collect this data?

There are lots of ways to collect customer data. Many do so by leveraging their website, social media pages, storefront, and phone conversations. Here, you’ll find some ideas for collecting and storing this valuable information.

 

Online registrations

One way to gather data is to simply ask your customers to provide it. Create a sign-up process that asks for the info you need to market and sell to your customers.

 

Lead forms

For many businesses, this is the go-to way to collect customer info. You might offer a free resource (a checklist, an e-book, or a seminar) or a free trial that requires your audience to register with their name, address, phone number, email address, and other key pieces of data.

Many customers will provide this data, but only if they believe the item is high enough in value to be worth the effort.

If you’re interested in this option, you’ll need to place a form on your site to request customer data. JotForm and Zoho Forms are two popular options that can help you with this task.

 

Surveys

Surveys are also great ways to capture customer information, provided you ask for your respondent’s info along with answers to your questions.

You can use an online survey tool such as Pollfish to take on this task.

 

Loyalty programs

You can learn a lot about what, when, and why your customers make purchases by setting up a loyalty program. Most programs require users to share their name and key demographic info so they can receive offers, exclusive deals, and notifications tailored to their preferences.

Loyalty solutions like Glue, Kangaroo, and Stamped.io are popular, robust options.

 

Checkout processes

Lots of businesses capture valuable customer data through the checkout process.

You can use this process to collect demographic information, too. When you do, you'll learn what specific customers add to their carts, what they spend, and how often they return to your store. Then, you can start building the story of your buyers’ patterns and preferences. You can also develop campaigns for people interested in specific products or product lines and encourage future visits.

Before investing in a solution, check out your online shopping platform’s reporting options. Many have great tools for evaluating these data points.

 

Web tracking technologies

You can also set up tracking cookies to learn who's visiting your website, how they found it, and the paths they explore within it.

Web tracking is illegal without customer consent. You must state that you use cookies. And, you'll need your users to affirm their consent before they proceed through your pages.

You can use web analytic tools such as Google Analytics, tracking pixels in email newsletters, or mouse-tracking heatmaps (Mouseflow has a great one) to observe your customers’ patterns.

 

Where should I store the information I collect?

You can store the data in your customer relationship management (CRM) solution or customer data platform (CDP) for future use.

Looking for a robust CRM that works well with many of the other approaches we’ll discuss here? Zoho CRM, Keap, or HubSpot are great options for most growing businesses. If you’d prefer a CDP, which centralizes all the data you collect through various channels, including offline and unstructured data, Blueshift is a popular choice.

Coach your marketing, sales, and service teams to input data based on the conversations they have with a customer. This data can help you build patterns that allow you to understand your audience. Plus, it can help you ensure you’re connecting with them on the points that matter most.

Who can help me set up these programs?

Ideally, you’ll work with your IT team to set up these tools and calibrate them to work for your business. But if you don’t have an IT pro in-house, you can work with a fractional (by-the-hour) IT team to take on this task. Here are a few we like to recommend:

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Electric

Lightning-Fast Tech Support, Guaranteed.

From response to resolution, Electric's support team puts the “help” back in helpdesk. 

Their team guarantees that you’ll hear back from an IT expert within 10 minutes every single time. And, while real-time support is important, Electric's team can also help you with device management, network and server management, security and compliance, monitoring, and strategic projects. 

 

Check this out: For a limited time, you can save 10% on Electric's suite of services, simply by following the link below. Restrictions may apply. Contact Electric.ai for details.

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Netrix

Reclaim Your Workday with Managed Services.

Looking for round-the-clock access to a team of IT experts? Try Netrix. 

Their team can help you decrease system and network downtime, leverage the latest technology, increase your productivity and efficiency, and strategize for IT-backed growth and success. 

Netrix can also support your business through disaster recovery and business continuity planning and can take on your business's security-related challenges

BroadField Technology

Your Dedicated Team for Support, Strategy, and Optimization.

BroadField Technology offers a full range of IT services and solutions that can help your business run at its best.  

With services that include concierge-style support, network and infrastructure strategy, cybersecurity, and 24/7 proactive remote monitoring, BroadField works proactively and reactively to keep your businesses' critical systems up and running.

Want to learn more? Contact their team to build a customized plan for your business.

 

When collecting customer data, how can I be sure I’m complying with data security and privacy laws?

Laws vary by state and country, so it’s important to run your plans for collection by an attorney well-versed in the laws that apply.

You can also use privacy tools such as Osano or Usercentrics, to ensure your compliance.

Depending on your business and the locations you serve, you may need to comply with the essential data capture rules. For instance, if you serve the European market, you'll need to abide by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This digital privacy law specifies how data can be collected, stored, and shared. It also states the rights users have over their data. There are also state-specific privacy laws that give consumers greater control over the personal information businesses collect on them.

There are other specific laws you may need to abide by, too. One is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a rule established in the United States to safeguard patients' health records and protect patient rights. Another is the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), an information security standard designed to protect consumers’ payment card details when transacting with businesses.

Compliance will require you to take a few simple steps:

  1. Post your privacy policies and data collection practice on your site. If your site uses cookies, you must also include a notice on this practice and obtain user consent.
  2. Encrypt the data you collect, share, and store. Your collection forms and data storage systems should include options that make this possible.
  3. Restrict who has access to customer data with access management tools (lots of owners use One Identity or strongDM for this task).
  4. Offer safe-data management training to your employees and others who will access or use the data.
  5. Ensure your security settings are robust.

 

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Again, you consider working with an IT pro who specializes in systems integration and security practices to help you create robust and compliant data collection programs.

 

What’s next?

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