By katie simpson on May 21, 2014
Tags: Data Collection
Customer service, whether in manufacturing or day care, is crucial to your business. But what if you could move beyond simply responding to customers’ needs? What if you could anticipate them? With new data analysis and customer service tools and technologies, smalls businesses can now uncover powerful data and trends that big businesses have access to. Here are some ideas to help you improve.
You may have an overall idea of who you work with, but do you know who they are and where they’re located? With mobile apps, you can easily collect simple information to give you a better understanding of your customers. For instance, if you’re a service-based business, collect the locations of houses or businesses you visit. Combine these points on a map to see where you work, and where you don’t. The open areas could be ripe for your growth, and the overall data can be used to improve your scheduling and efficiency.
If you’re in daycare, ask information from the families you work with. Do you work with families where both parents work? How many kids do they have? How did they learn about your daycare? No matter what industry you’re in, you can find out important information from your customers. This will help you understand your customer profile, and how to reach out to prospects.
You have a thorough customer purchase history already in your system. Every transaction records the services you provide. The flip side of that? You have a long history of what your customers want. While this data can’t predict the future, it can give you better estimates for what your customers want. Even better, you can use this to incentivize loyalty and future purchases.
For instance, lets say you’re a wholesale food distributor. By going through your transaction history, you see that every April you have a surge in demand for strawberries. You could create special discounts around those strawberry sales to encourage larger orders, or repeat buys. With enough transactions, you can anticipate what your customers will want and when. This will help you prepare for the future, and deal with the day-day.
What you don’t hear from your customers will tell you a lot as well. For instance, one pool maintenance and cleaning service was struggling to get customers’ feedback. He would send long, detailed reports about their pools and add his notes about issues at the end of the report. But customers often wouldn’t respond.
After talking with customers, he realized that they weren’t interested in long detailed reports. If there were issues, they wanted to read that first. This information helped him make important changes to his forms. He streamlined his inspections, and added any notes on issues to the beginning of his reports. Now his customers will not only see but also respond to these issues, making his follow up a breeze.
Are you struggling to hear from customers? This could be a user experience issue rather than a refusal to call. Quality experience doesn’t just mean collecting numbers, but also listening to your customers’ stories. Take time to speak with customers about their experience so you can find the issue. Then the changes you’ll need to make will be clear. This process will save time for both you and your customers.
At the end of the day, data is just numbers. It can’t tell you what to or not to do, nor can it predict the future. Use your data to understand where you have come from, and where you are today. By understanding the past and present, you’ll have the best perspective to decide your future.
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