I always smile when people tell me that there is a sudden new big data problem in their industry. I keep thinking back and remember when organizations were struggling with bytes of data, that then became kilobytes, then megabytes, and regardless of its size, it was always a bigger byte than they could chew.
Even with all of this data, I tend to advocate continuing to collect even more data on your customers. It’s this philosophy of “measuring them” that allows us to continue to get a holistic picture of the customer and how they want to engage with a company or engage with your competitors.
Though with this recommendation, many people often ask me where they should start. I suggest starting with an inventory of the data sources your company has already collected. To help you get started, we’ve created a document to help you start your data source inventory process. This tool looks at the most common data sources that might exist in your organization and then asks you to identify the data owner, any analytics tools being used on that data already, and the frequency with which the data is updated.
However, this list isn’t ever going to be a complete list of the potential data you might benefit from. There are other data sources that may make sense for you to collect and analyze. Companies that truly measure their customer base look beyond the obvious ones like market research, transactional surveys, purchase data, or visitation data to new sources like contact center transcripts, usage data, or online sentiments.
Gathering all of this information on your customers by itself is not the end goal. You’ll have to turn this aqueous and malleable data into concrete insights about the customers. And companies are doing just that and transforming what they’ve gathered on their customers into actionable insight. We talk about these and other examples in our Speakers’ Corner webisode “Measure Them.”
- A large U.S. chain of department stores gathers information on what customers say they would like to see in store with sales associates to help them inform the merchandising process.
- A small chain of quick service restaurants review regularly the menu items that are customized so they can create flavor fusions that customers would want to purchase in the future.
- A business-to-business manufacturing company has sales representatives fill out quick surveys immediately after on-site client visits to gauge account health and proactively repair relationships by getting qualitative and quantitative results
Interested in reading more musings from Jeffrey? Read his other blogs.