Knowledge is Power: What You Can Do With Your Customer Data
Imagine if you owned a business 100 years ago and you were transported to the present day (by rubbing a lamp, or planting a magic bean, or something). Assuming your mind wasn’t completely blown and you were able to understand all the new technologies business owners use and how they work, you’d probably be pretty amazed.
Business owners in the modern world have an unbelievable amount of tools at their fingertips to make their operations run more efficiently. Many already make use of these, but sometimes they forget about something they already possess: customer data. Information about your customer is highly valuable. It can help you not only retain new customers, but bring back repeat business and generate referrals.
Of course, there’s no reason to be all 1916 about it. You shouldn’t keep that data contained in messy stacks of paper or rows of dented file cabinets. It should be in one digital repository that is organized and searchable, to help you to easily access the information and maximize it. And what can you do with this customer data?
Create a more personalized experience. Having access to a customer’s information at the click of a button lets you pull it up when they call with an order, and view their past orders or notes about their personal preferences. You’ll be able to say something like, “We’ll be happy to come by tomorrow, Mrs. Jones. I see in your customer notes that you prefer us to park on the street and not in your driveway – does that sound right?” Your customer will feel appreciated that you remember her as a repeat customer and valued her enough to note her preferences.
Create customized promotions. Storing information about your customer base means you can send out specific coupons or promotions for your products and services based on what you know they like and don’t like, or how they spend their money. If you keep track of what coupons or promotions did best, then you can run those during a slow period to bring in customers who otherwise might not walk through the door. You can also send out “we miss you!” promotions to customers if you see in your database that they haven’t used your service for a while.
Get helpful feedback. If your customer provides feedback – good or bad – you can make a note of it in your database and then use that to tweak or improve services. You know your business better than anyone else, but it never hurts to get an outside opinion, especially when it’s from a customer.
Improve your marketing. Knowing more about your customers helps you determine the best places to advertise and how they might be interested in hearing from you. For example, if you run ads in online news sites, you’ll be able to track who clicks on your ad from the site, and let you know how many leads you’re getting out of that ad. If you never get any hits, it might tell you your customers aren’t reading that site, and it’s best to allocate your marketing dollars elsewhere.
Improve organizational efficiency. For example, you can track the average length a certain job or service takes to fulfill and use that to better estimate to future customers what they can expect.
And most importantly: It will help you give better customer service. All of the above will allow you to use your knowledge about your customer base to make the business better, giving existing customers better service and bringing new customers in the door.
Even a business owner from 1916 could tell you that makes good sense. Check out our Resource Center for more tips just like this…and to keep you in the current century!
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