In the age of ever-evolving technology, growth of the internet of things and increased access to analytical tools, businesses are able to pull big, as well as small data from a range of areas. This will help them optimize their business processes and ultimately customer experience.
But while all the technology in the world is available, and the data is ready and waiting, it often isn’t utilized by businesses to streamline processes for the better. While it may seem daunting, delving into all the information that your business has managed to collect, educating yourself on what is happening with your internal processes and customers, and ultimately how you can improve, is a vital part of the growth of your business. So, if you’re sitting on a wealth of data, how can you use it to effectively optimize your business?
Customer service and loyalty
As the most important factor to the continued success of your company, use the information you gather about your customers to improve their experiences and ultimately loyalty. You could revolutionise a process that might be causing your business to lag behind. Perhaps your target market has changed and you need to provide an offering better suited to a new demographic, or perhaps your stores are getting too full and you need to consider opening up a few new branches.
Utilize data smartly
Utilizing data from purchase history, customer service contacts and social media feedback can provide key insights into what a business can improve on. This not only helps you figure out what isn’t working, but also helps you stay ahead of competition by keeping up with customer trends and preferences. According to an article by Forbes, as many as 79% of customers will easily switch to a competitor within one week of poor service. Staying on top of customer data will prove valuable in the process of providing a better service to your customers.
Consider your customers
Not only can you improve upon the shopping experience of your customers, but also the post-shopping experience with regards to the return process. Make use of the feedback that your customer service team receives on a daily basis, to figure out whether or not your returns process is as simple and painless as you’d like it to be. If you don’t currently make use of a customer service team, it’s simple enough to invest in business process outsourcing, whereby a call centre can be established and run for you by a third party.
Marketing and promotions
Gathering insights about your customer’s behaviour not only helps you improve your general service, but also how you market your products to your customers. Looking into the behaviours of clients, businesses can target different customers more appropriately, according to their shopping behaviors and preferences. This, ultimately will allow you to offer a more personalized experience to each customer. A recent study by PwC found that 94% of senior business people found personalisation a key ingredient in marketing to customers.
From popular purchasing times, online browsing times and customer concerns, to preferred contact methods and frequent customer purchases; a business can use this data to personalize marketing efforts and promotions towards individual customers. The ability to target customers with adverts and promotions specific to their shopping habits and preferences will encourage more sales and increase loyalty to your brand.
Do your sales not get as many customers in as you’d hoped, or are your newsletters not being read? You could be targeting the wrong demographic, or sending out your promotional mailers when no one is online. You could be sending out too many adverts, which can often cause customers not to open them at all as the line between serious promotion and blatant spam becomes blurred. Educate yourself on how your customers consume your adverts and you’ll be more likely to target the right people at the right time.
Products or services
Customer data is highly useful in the quest to improve products or services. While you may do your best to ensure your offerings are as ready for the market as possible, your best feedback will come from your customers, who use your products and services in real-time situations. From online reviews and call centre feedback, to an in-store comments box and social media comments, there are a number of ways to collect information about how your customers perceive your current offerings and what you could do to improve them.
Using data to improve
Not only can this data help you improve on your current products, but also what products you could offer in the future. You might find that a large majority of your customers have been asking for a new variety of your product, or have been trying to find out whether they could purchase a popular product in the near future that you have yet to look into. If you find there is a demand for a new product, you can even use your various data collection channels to find out how much your most frequent customers would be willing to pay for it. The only way to find out is to listen to your customers, who, according to research by OpinionLab, prefer to give feedback by actively reaching out to a brand. 75% of consumers surveyed revealed that they approach a brand after a bad experience via email, phone or a feedback form.
If you stay on top of this data, chances are you can offer a new product, or an improved product before customers even ask for it. Finding out what your most popular product is, what competitors are offering and whether or not your customers would be interested in it, will increase interest in your business, and highlight your brand as one that offers a more personalized experience that puts customer interests first.
"Optimizing your business according to the data you find will provide a better overall experience to your customers"
While there are many other ways in which utilizing the data you collect can help optimize your business, these three aspects are key to ensuring your business runs as well as it possibly can. By understanding the information that you collect, you can figure out how to improve your customer service and retention, increase the efficacy of your marketing campaigns, and offer new and improved products or services to meet customers’ ever-changing needs. All in all, optimizing your business according to the data you find will provide a better overall experience to your customers, and hopefully help the growth of your business.