There’s all kinds of potential when it comes to collecting and getting the most out of customer data. It’s the foundation of your customers’ satisfaction, successful customer retention, and building repeat business. Here are some short and sweet tips on how you can collect customer data efficiently and safely, and use this information to build a strong business with happy customers that keep coming back.
1. What’s the best way to collect and manage customer data?
Whether it’s one of those steel file cabinets, or an app on your smartphone, there are all kinds of ways to collect customer data. Maybe you like the retro charm of the good old paper files. But take a second to think about things like time investment, clarity and flexibility, and a digital solution starts to look a lot better, especially in this day and age. For starters, there’s no need to worry about crashing computers that make you lose entire databases anymore. Ok, that stuff was a big issue way back in the 90s. But today, computers, smartphones and tablets run silky smooth (at least most of the time). And software solutions need less space, are simple to use, make changes easier, and provide countless other benefits.
But there’s no shortage of customer management software out there, and not all of it is the same. So before picking one, you should first sit down and ask yourself what your software actually needs to be able to do.
a) Opt for a cloud-based solution
Having a cloud-based software means that your data won’t be stored on the hard drive of your computer or mobile device, but in the so-called “cloud” of your software provider. This has a number of benefits. One of them is that you can access your data whenever you want, wherever you are. You’re not locked into one single device. So, whether you’re at your salon, your workshop, or office, sitting in front of your laptop, or on the couch scrolling through your smartphone, you’re always going to see the same, up-to-date information.
The second major benefit is that the server of the software provider is a lot more secure and reliable than your private hard drive (at least when it’s a good company). Major software companies operate with the latest and best security standards, and use the most professional, state-of-the-art servers. What does all this boil down to? A cloud-based solution makes you flexible and offers maximum security for your data.
b) Get software with a mobile version
You’re also going to want software that’s got a proper mobile version. This will make everything more flexible, and will have an enormous impact on your working day. As an independent business owner, you’ll quickly notice how helpful mobile customer management is, no matter how much time you spend in your business or on the road. Wherever you are, you’ll have access to your customer data 24/7. No more worrying about getting back to the one device you keep it stored on. If you’re a stylist, you’ve got your customer data right there in the salon. If you’re a handyman (or woman), your customer database always goes where you go. Something pop up in your head about a customer that you want to jot down? Grab your smartphone and get it entered into the customer profile right there on the spot.
c) Get a tool that’s integrated with an online booking solution
Many providers out there don’t just give you the option of managing customer data, but offer more powerful solutions that link a customer database with an online booking feature and a calendar. The Shore software is one example of such a solution. Any time an appointment is booked on your website or Facebook page by a customer who isn’t in your database yet, the system automatically creates a profile containing all the information the customer provides during booking. That takes all kinds of work off your hands and your customer management basically handles itself.
2. How can I get the most out of my customer data?
Why do you even need to collect customer data in the first place? Well, for starters, some of this information is simply necessary depending on the service you provide. If you’re a handyman, you won’t get much done if you don’t know your customer’s address. If you’re a personal trainer, you’ll have trouble getting by without people’s phone numbers. And there’s a bunch of other information you can benefit from. Knowing your customers is the ace up your sleeve when you’re trying to build customer relationships. Repeat customers are the foundation of success in just about every industry out there: You’ve already got them on board, which means you don’t have to pour all kinds of time and money into getting them to come to your business. They come in regularly, bringing you easy earnings. Just keep in mind that customers generally don’t bring you repeat business all by themselves. And that’s where you come in. The two pillars of customer retention are customer satisfaction and presence. And both are ultimately built on customer data.
a) Happy customers might be coming back. Unhappy ones probably not.
Our blog gives you all kinds of information and tips on how to increase customer satisfaction using a few simple methods. You’ll find a few links to these below. Here’s the gist:
Customers are happy when you know what they want. This includes everything from your service to the personal touch you give them. Of course it’s important for them to be happy with your service or product. But that’s only half the battle. Another important thing is that your customer feels at home at your business and has the right gut feeling about you. This is where customer data and information become such important factors. Get customer histories going. What are all the things the customer has bought from your business and when? Is there anything in particular about them you’ve noticed? Anything the customer simply didn’t want? What was good, what was bad?
A good example here is the hair industry. Let’s say you’ve got Mrs. Baker who uses this and that hair care product. She comes in every six weeks for a cut and color. She gets the hair color mix X plus Y, and so forth. Keep track of these things, and the customer is going to know you can be trusted and that you care.
And finally, it’s often the little details that can have the biggest impact. Make a note in the customer’s file about the things he or she likes to talk about, and you’re really going to score some points with them. Attention to special details opens the door for you to greet your customer with “Cup of coffee? Like you always take it?” Even if your customer isn’t aware of it, these are the things that are going to get customer retention rolling. Happy customers are the ones who come back.
b) It’s all about customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the be-all and end-all of every successful business. But sometimes it’s just not enough. Some people need a nudge or two. Of course, you can only nudge them when you’ve got the right customer data.
The first thing your mind might jump to here is the classic customer mailing. But let’s be honest: Those days are over. Mailings cost too much money and take up too much time. Grabbing customers’ attention is now done on Facebook, Instagram, or with an email newsletter. In general, social media is great for this. It doesn’t cost anything and it lets you distribute information quickly and easily. But in the end, a newsletter can still be more effective, because the people who sign up for it actually want to hear from you and get that nudge.
Manually sending out a newsletter is a lot of effort. You have to individually enter each email address. This makes for a lot of work, especially when you only want to send the newsletter to a certain customer group like your regulars. The good news is that there are software solutions for this which are available at a very affordable price. These basically automate your newsletter deliveries based on your customer data. Just add specific tags like “VIP” to your customers. When it’s time to send your newsletter, you simply select the tag you’re going for, and the newsletter is sent to all customers in the respective group. This only works of course when your customer management is linked to your newsletter software – just like Shore does it.
Collect and leverage customer data – the smart way!
Collect your customer data the right way and put it to work for you. That’s how you get customer retention going at a price you can afford. And with the right customer management software, storing and handling data will be a cakewalk. Use it to make your customers happy by delivering great customer service, keep them engaged with awesome newsletters, and get them coming back again and again.
Want to see a software that makes it a breeze to do all of these things? You can try out Shore for 15 days absolutely free of charge here. Check it out and see what Shore can do for your business.
All blog posts about customer data:
- 10 Tricks to Improve Customer Satisfaction
- Beyond Customer Retention Techniques
- If You Don’t Know Your Churn Rate and Customer Segments, You Don’t Know How to Keep Your Customers
- Customer Retention in the Age of Brick-and-Click Business: Are You Ready?
- Only If You Know Yourself, Will You Know How to Retain Customers: Take the Enneagram Quiz