Data is just the start — In the second part of our series on the State of Data, we give you some practical tips on how to go from data-mongering to becoming useful to your users.
As we touched on last week, the real value of customer data is the value it can bring to your customers. Rather than collecting data for its own sake, think of it as the start of a conversation.
On that note, your first step is using this data to build a better understanding of the people who use your products. What should you look for?
A customer in the wild. Probably.
This one is straightforward: who are your heaviest users/most loyal customers? There is someone out there who spends more on what you have to offer than everyone else. You can find out who uses what the most, then learn why. These individuals are the cornerstone of your business, and you can learn more about them as people then you were ever able to before.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, or in this century, the Tweety customer gets the love. Whether they’re singing your praises or asking for refunds, you need to know why these people feel the need to associate with you online (or why others don’t).
You need to know who’s circling your brand in the water, that way you can turn a nibble into a bite. Who’s stumbling onto your products while looking for something similar? Who’s doing research into one of your products? Who keeps checking back to see if your prices have changed?
This is a trickier one, and getting the answer will require you to find out all of the above, plus use a bit of that old gut instinct. However, this is what all those shiny analytic tools are for. If you can find out who connects to your brand on a personal level, then you can find out why they do. If you know that, you’re in a great position. You can move towards growing this stable of brand loyalists and adjust your practices and processes accordingly (I know, easier said than done).
Once you’ve gotten a solid, data-driven understanding of the people who do business with you, the key is to not stop. Data isn’t enough. Go talk to them, interact with them, watch them, and let real human interactions add more depth and shading to the picture your data has drawn for you. Remember, this isn’t just a great way to learn about your customers, it’s the perfect occasion to connect with them.
Now that you’re able to identify different categories of customers, you can reward or assist them via one-on-one contact with a member of your team. It’s a chance to put a human face to your brand, and to build loyalty among your most active users. What form could this take?
A friendly phone call can go a long way towards winning hearts and minds.
Let’s say you’re a clothing retailer. Is there someone who just loves your all cotton t-shirts? Have they purchased one in every color? Well, now you have a chance to ask them why they can’t get enough of your product, and to let them know that you’ve sent over some free samples of your new, top-secret colors in their exact size.
If a customer can’t stop talking about how great you are, then show your appreciation by dropping them a line and giving them special access to information and offers they wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise. Make your most vocal customers your partners, and they’ll be able to persuade their friends and acquaintances to support your brand much more effectively than you ever could as a company.
If you can identify a customer who is deciding whether to buy one of your products, why not reach out to them and provide more information? Personally, I once kept a pair of shoes in my cart for a month while I tried to figure out how they compared to a different pair from the same company. If someone could’ve just called me up and said, ‘Oh, yeah the sole is a bit firmer, and you can turn down the tops’, I wouldn’t have waited for my old pair to fall apart first.
By: Mark Kersteen, Editor and Content Director, Incite