The Importance of Data Capture
Today, integrating your CRM system with your website to maximise the effectiveness of data you hold is common practice, yet it’s worth remembering that there are good and bad ways of contacting your customers. Bombard them with daily updates, or send them content that is of little interest, and they’ll soon begin to switch off, or worse, start complaining. However, set a suitable level of communication and segment your data and you should see far greater results. Nevertheless, all of this hard work could still result in you being marked as a Spammer if you’ve not implemented a comprehensive data capture strategy.
Establishing how you collect and manage information about your customers, clients and prospects allows you to better understand and enhance your relationship with them. In this article we help to define a data capture strategy that ensures you’re gathering customer data effectively.
Identify what you need
Deciding what information you need is the key to achieving your marketing objectives. You might easily fall into the trap of collecting everything you can get a hold of, but if you can’t think of a use for it now, the likelihood is that it won’t be used in the future either. Start by working out what information is most important and how this is currently being captured.
Look for new data capture opportunities
Review your current customer touch-points and see where there might be opportunities to collect data that you are missing. This might be an additional step in the sign-up process or at POS. Additionally, think about how your data collection practice can integrate with your marketing strategy. If you’re attempting to increase sales of a particular product, why not ask your customers at the point capture whether they are interested in hearing about it.
Don’t forget to check you’ve gained consent from subscribers before getting in touch with them. Be clear in how their data will be used, set expectations of how often you plan on contacting them and ensure that they can easily unsubscribe from future communications should they wish to.
Get on the same page
An effective data capture strategy requires buy-in across the breadth of your business. Defining a standard format will ensure that your customer data remains consistent, whether it’s being entered directly into your CRM database by the Sales team or collected in-person on a tablet at one of your sites.
Make it easy for customers to give you their data – think about navigation, a logical flow and clear calls to action to maximise the number of people who register their information. By breaking up the process into smaller steps and showing the customer their progression, you can also track percentage completion and determine any barriers to sign-up.
If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try and try again
According to new research by Royal Mail, around 6% of annual revenue is being lost through poor quality data, ensure the data you request is correct at the point of collection. Data validation and avoiding free text fields will help to avoid typos or variations of the same response. Use drop-down lists or tick boxes where possible or ask your customer to verify their details. Repeatedly contacting customers with incorrect information can harm your reputation as a sender so the more robust the validation checks are at this stage, the lower the chance of poor data quality.
Paying for data
Many use data suppliers to provide a wealth of extra information on prospect customers in both the B2B and B2C sector. Whether this is through purchasing lists, using enrichment techniques to enhance existing customer data or even building a closely matched customer profile in external data sets. Third Party data can help boost your database however does come with a number of drawbacks.
Incentivising customers to provide data needn’t be costly, whether it’s with a discount or simply the added benefit of providing them with relevant offers and news about your product or service. Data validation and verification will be crucial however, to prevent customers supplying false data in return for their reward.
Finally, customer records become outdated approximately every 3 months. Maintain your database by ensuring it is regularly updated as well as acknowledging any changes that could cause someone to take offense to marketing messages; the most compelling example being human mortality. Safeguard your brand reputation by ensuring there are no badly timed communications following a bereavement. It is not sufficient to just collect customer data well; but maintain it carefully.
If you’re interested in finding out how Atreemo integrates with customer touch points, please contact one of our expert team.