What Companies Can Use Customer Data For

By Rhonda Campbell

Data, including customer data, rules the Internet. If you only log onto the Internet to connect with relatives and friends at social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Floost, you can still see how much data fills the digital space. What you probably won’t see are customer tracking software and customer data analysis applications working behind the scenes.


Reasons to Use Customer Data

A pertinent piece of data mining material you can use as a small business leader or marketer comes directly from customers who conduct online sales with you. For example, as a small business owner you may want to collect your customers’ names, email addresses, browsing habits and telephone numbers. You may also want to perform customer data analysis on recent visitors to find out which products at your website customers review or click on most. In addition, if you operate businesses like car dealerships and furniture stores, organizations that process financial data for customers, you can also use database software to collect your customers’ birthdays and home addresses when completing business transactions.

Some of this customer data can be used to:

  • Send customers birthday greetings (a great relationship builder)
  • Email customers your most current newsletters
  • Alert customers to upcoming sales your business is offering
  • Share sales coupons, contests and giveaways with customers
  • Give customers the email address to your company Facebook, Twitter, etc. page

Before collecting customer data at your small business website, share your privacy policy with customers. Also, work with your technology team to develop customer data protection processes at your small business. Additionally, inform customers of the reasons/situations you may use their information for (e.g. send them discount coupons, newsletters). Get customers’ approval to use their data before you reach out to them or send them any information. After all, it is the customer’s data, not yours. Here is an example of a privacy policy.

Using Customer Data to Measure Customer Relationship Efforts

After you start connecting with your customers online, use customer data management software to measure the results of your investment (ROI) or efforts. To do this consider:

  • Adding unique URLs to the end of coupons you run at certain social media networks.
  • For example, you can create a unique URL to run a 50 percent off coupon on Twitter and another URL to run the same ad on Facebook.
  • Set up the coupon so customers can get the coupon code as soon as they click on the link.
  • Design the link so it parks at a page at your small business website. This way you can run analytics on the coupons and quickly see which social media networks yield you the best results.

By measuring the results of your efforts you can avoid gathering customer data that simply sits in a customer database. You can also avoid thinking that you have value-added data when, in reality, that might not be the case. Also, when communicating with customers, keep the customer and her preferences, wants and interests as a top priority.

After all, no relationship thrives when the main goal of anyone in the relationship is to receive (e.g. customer sales). On the other hand, relationships thrive when both parties enjoy a healthy and balanced amount of give and receive (e.g. customer sales, coupons, discounts, giveaways, customer data).

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http://www.usa.gov/About/Privacy-Security.shtml USA.gov: Privacy Policy

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