The following is the second post of a three part series by Barbara Stevens, an experienced executive who has held management positions at professional sports teams and global franchises for over two decades.
Data is key to building and sustaining relationships with
your customers. Having a CRM full of rich data allows you to mine that data to
create specific segmentation. Having
tighter segments makes it easier for you to understand what will make which
customers happy, which will help determine future trends as well as facilitate
in the development to reward loyalty. Now you’re working smarter – not harder.
How to Collect More Data
There are various methods of collecting data - focus groups, surveys, secret shoppers and more. They are all pertinent and yet incomplete - you must actually talk to your customers to solicit them for feedback so you can understand them better and work smarter for them. Be open and active about asking to hear from them. When you do talk to your customers, you can simply ask "Do you feel we are doing a good job?" They'll tell you exactly how they feel. Then write it down.
Truthfully, there’s no shortage of ways to collect data on your customers – you can measure email open rates, you can conduct interviews, you can use promotions to gauge engagement and more. The key is to collect information in a customer-centric way. Having information tied to an individual helps you engage that customer more and target new customers that look and behave like your best customers.
How To Use Data
Once you have collected a lot of customer-centric data, patterns start to emerge. How do your most valuable customers engage with your brand? Are they on your email list? Do they come to your business more than once a month? Are they a Facebook fan? How do customers who just "fired you" behave? Do they open your emails less frequently? Do they spend less than your average ticket price? Do you have other current customers who act the same way? Knowing all of this information allows you to be smarter about who to engage people and where to allocate your precious resources.
Another way to use your data is to build smarter loyalty programs. For loyalty programs, communications used to focus on tangible benefits – what can consumers get from this program. This approach has lost its meaning – consumers can get more anywhere. As such, the market has changed in that consumers are demanding more. Rewards have evolved in the marketplace from being a nice little extra for one's loyalty to being perceived as an expected entitlement. At the same time, consumers have shifted, to some extent, away from a desire for possessions but rather to a desire for experiences. Overall, consumers are looking for more meaningful connections to brands, which means a more personal relationship to them. In order to accomplish this new type of loyalty, you have to collect data on who your customers are and what they love so you can offer them experiences that keep them engaged.