Without knowing your customer, you cannot offer them the experience you want them to have. Therefore, most marketing and sales business projects will require a data collection phase. Your company can also be or aspire to be a data driven company. In every case, you need a way to gather and store your data efficiently. Here are 5 customer data collection methods that actually work!
1. Data collection forms
Of all the existing data collection methods, forms are the most commonly used tools. On a website, the user fills in a form to subscribe to a newsletter, to create an account or to download an eBook for example. The data retrieved from the form is then stored in a CRM.
In order to obtain more data from existing customers, companies can send out forms directly to them. If you are thinking about sending out such a form, consider giving away a gift for every answer you will receive. This increases the response rate.
These forms are usually sent out by email. To increase the response rate even more than with a gift, you can send them by SMS or automated calls and include a link to your form in your SMS. If your reasons for gathering data are clear and that your gift is attractive, your customers should not see this as too intrusive, but more as an opportunity. Cherry on the cake: the forms can be linked directly to your CRM, so everything is done automatically, from the sending of the message to the actual filling of your CRM!
Surveys are often used by UX designers to gather information on how users perceive the company’s interfaces. While their primary goal is to gather information on usage, you can also use them to collect customer data.
Usually, a survey will contain a personal information section, where data such as age, gender or job are asked. These are information that you can also use for other purposes and that you might want to store. Be careful to not change the primary goal of your survey, which is to gather feedback. If you want to keep the data of the survey in your CRM, add an extra step at the end of your survey, asking for the necessary permissions.
Surveys usually get a high response rate when they are communicated well. To increase response rates for B2C companies, surveys can be sent out by SMS or automated calls rather than email.
3. Sales information
There are many customer data collection methods and most of them can be used simultaneously. If you are a B2B company, your sales team will probably know a lot about your customers. So that you can re-use that information, they need to update your CRM after every customer interaction. You can also create a list of fields that should be filled in for each customer and ask your sales to gather the missing information during meetings or calls with customers. Chances are that asking directly for a mobile phone number will be more successful than asking for it through a form.
If you work in a B2C company, you probably do not have a sales team that can gather customer data. You can however get the information you seek through account features. By implementing features such as “save this item for later” or a wishlist, you can gather information on product interest easily, for example.
4. Loyalty cards
Today, almost every company uses loyalty cards. If implemented well, they can really increase your customers’ loyalty, but they also serve secondary purposes. You can, for example, require a mobile phone number to send participants offers by SMS.
Loyalty cards are in fact one of the most powerful customer data collection methods for B2C companies. By being part of a community, customers feel more connected to the company. They are more inclined to share their data with someone they trust, so the moment they subscribe to a loyalty program is probably a good timing to ask for data.
5. Analytics tools
Collecting customer data is not only about classical personal data, such as age, gender, email address and so on. It is also about getting to know you customer better. There is in fact a lot of information your customers give you unconsciously by visiting your website, for example. If they visit the same page three times, you can deduct that they have a real interest in that specific product or service.
Analytics tools can gather and give you that kind of information. Most companies already have some kind of tracking tool on their website, but these tools are often not seen as data collection tools. Using it as such and mixing the information you receive from your analytics platform with the other customer data collection methods will allow you to get the big picture and implement a real customer centric strategy.