Regardless of the type of business you run, the industry you’re in, or the clients you service, you and your team surely collect data about customers frequently. In this day and age, when data is more prevalent and vital than ever, not to mention lucrative to hackers, it’s crucial to track, manage, secure, use, and preserve client details effectively.
This idea may sound a little overwhelming, but the practice doesn’t have to be. There are multiple steps you can take to manage data in your business successfully.
Work Out Your Goals
It’s essential to get clear on exactly which goals you’re pursuing with data management, so you can be more focused on collecting and managing relevant information. Use some strategic thinking and planning to understand the purpose(s) behind your data usage.
For example, your goals may relate to discovering customer buying habits and patterns, targeting a specific buyer profile, making better decisions, improving or automating processes, developing improved sales and marketing techniques, etc. Honing in on these things will reduce the likelihood that you miss out on capturing the key details required or that your data management systems get overcrowded and unorganized due to too much irrelevant information.
Understand Data Types and Collection Opportunities
It’s helpful to understand the different types of data you may handle and the various opportunities for electronic data capture. There are numerous strategies and tools for collecting data, so tailor approaches accordingly. Some examples of the data types you may want to gather are first name and email address or phone number from potential leads and information from current clients received via testimonials, reviews, feedback forms, surveys, referrals, and the like.
Online, you can source details about where a visitor lands on your website, how long they spend on each page, and where they are when they exit your site. You may get data from questions people ask via customer service avenues, from the quotes you provide interested parties, and sales calls. Consider your business and how information flows to, from, and around it to pinpoint the best sources of data collection.
Be Upfront with Customers about Data Capture and Use
Utilize Tech Tools
A helpful way to manage data is to invest in customer database software. Take a look online, and you’ll find plenty of options to choose from today. While a spreadsheet used to be the primary tool used in the past, now there are affordable tech tools that take a lot of the heavy lifting out of this area for you.
A customer relationship management (CRM) tool compliant with all the latest online privacy regulations is an excellent place to start. These programs make the organization and collection of intel not only easier but also safer. Plus, they allow you to segment customer insights to better find the information you need, when you need it.
Using a CRM program allows you to keep all business data in one place and track every customer interaction. As such, important details don’t get missed or forgotten. This kind of system provides you with a comprehensive, overall picture of your customers and where your business is at and can automate many tasks related to information gathering or usage.
Successful data management involves keeping information secure from prying eyes. Take security seriously to mitigate the risks of a data breach, which could cause significant issues. You need a plan for keeping information safe at all times, so people never have a reason to distrust your business.
It’s generally safer to store data online, saved to the cloud, rather than as hard copies that can be discovered in the trash, mislaid, or stolen by workers. For digital records, be vigilant too, though, and use solid passwords, secured computers, locked Wi-Fi networks, and a backup system. Always train your team on methods for keeping hackers at bay. Plus, it pays to limit who has access to intel in your business.
Two other suggestions for handling customer data are:
- Periodically clean up information stores to fix errors and erase duplicates and out-of-date details
- Create a data recovery plan, so you and your team have a way to try to retrieve information if it’s stolen, accidentally deleted, or otherwise compromised
Every step you take to manage data better will boost your business and reduce the chances of data-related issues compromising it over the years.