Processing raw customer dataWhen it comes to developing strategies for using customer data, the question is usually not whether companies have the data they need but whether the data at hand is useful to the purposes of the company. Added value doesn’t come from raw data. If you want to use your customer data as a source of knowledge to inform decisions and improve strategies, you will need to prepare it and make it useful to your purposes.
The best way to do this is to filter your data for relevant characteristics of your customers and compile them into a unified customer profile. Of course you can segment you user or customer base and create more than one of these unified profiles. However the profiles should be communicated in a unified way across the whole company. That way different departments base the way they address customers off of the same information and hopefully manage to outwardly represent the company in a uniform way.
The more robust your customer profiles are, the better you can individually target potential users. Profiles with an appropriate amount of details lead to a better understanding of your customers needs and wishes and help you personalize your campaign and the way you communicate with your product’s users.
How to gather customer data?You can gather data at every touch-point with the customer along their journey. Touch-points to consider are emails as well as their open-rates and clicks, interactions with your website, filled (contact/support) forms, your users browsing behavior, mobile interactions… Store the gathered data in your holistic profiles to figure out exactly who your customers are, what drives them to making a buying decision and what they are looking for.
When gathering data it is important that you always respect your users privacy. Also try to be aware of your brands creepiness factor–it’s not always the best idea to emphasize just how much you know about your customers. Don’t insert yourself into your customers’ life too often an don’t abuse your knowledge. Generally you should try to use your knowledge in a tasteful way that is relevant and useful to your user.
What to do with Customer DataWhen used right, data mining and big data can serve as the basis for effective marketing, the discovery of cost-saving potentials and market analyses. The resulting customer profiles help marketers to know where to focus their time to save costs and gain higher returns. They are especially useful in the creation of customer specific content, campaign messaging and when deciding which campaigns to continue.
Information about your customers and the way they interact with your company is usually distributed across the whole company. Because of that you should try to gather data from all customer-facing departments in the organization such as the marketing department, customer service and sales. When data is stored in separate, disconnected systems, not all existing customer information can be used to make informed decisions. That’s why you should try to find some kind of master data management solution to eliminate information silos and make sure everybody can access the information they need.
You can also use your customer data to understand where customers interact with your brand and leverage these interactions to their fullest by personalizing you customer’s journey.
Personalizing the Customer JourneyCustomer centricity, customer experience and personalization are characteristics that can give your business a competitive edge. And while personalization can start with things as simple as including you customers first name in your email marketing you need to look past simple characteristics like name and age of your customers. If you want to get the most out of the information available to you, you need to use the behavioral data available to you. Behavioral data is especially useful because it doesn’t make assumptions about people and their behavior based on their demographic background, but only considers their actual behavior. While it is important to know who your customers are, you should be more interested in the question why they behave in the way they do.
The reason why you should personalize your customer journey is that customer journeys get complex very quickly. The path leading from the first point of contact to your user’s goal usually involves multiple touch-points across various channels. If you design the same journey for all of your customers, most of them will have to actively search for the information they need, since a general “one size fits all” journey will always include information or whole touch-points that are simply not relevant to the individual customer. This makes reaching the goal more complicated for every single customer and explains why users demand personalized communication and–if possible–personalized user journeys.
Ways to personalize the journey can include things such as
- Personalized communication: addressing your customers with their name and referring to interactions they had with you in the past
- Personalized offers: offering your customers products that complement products they bought in the past, similar products or products that where bought by customers with similar characteristics and behavioral patterns as them is often viewed as a valuable service and can strengthen the customer base and build brand loyalty
- Personalized information: if you run an online store, remind your customers of abandoned shopping baskets or inform them when items left in the basket are on sale. You can also provide them with fitting coupons or special deals
Improve acquisition and increase retentionOnce you defined your unified customer profile you can use it to save time and cost in the acquisition of new customers. People who share characteristics with your existing high-value users are more likely to follow your customer journey path and convert. If you try to identify and specifically target them you will likely get a much higher conversion rate than if you simply reached out to anybody.
If you have access to the data gathered by customer support as well as the behavioral data showing how your users interact with your product you can use it to increase customer retention. Start by identifying where your customers leave your website or stop using your product and then try to find the reason for their leaving. Most of the time customers who encounter a problem won’t even make a complaint to customer service but simply leave. This is why you need to take a look at the behavioral data in addition to the information gathered by your customer support team.
Try to eliminate problems with your product or in the customer journey without customers having to complain. Most of the time they won’t complain and even if they do you probably won’t manage to fix the problem in time to stop them from leaving.
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