One of the most significant elements in helping a business get to know its customers is their data. Over recent years, consumers have started to take notice of how businesses use their data. While many aren’t bothered, a few are against a company getting its hands on their information. As a result, they are averse to sharing access to their data.
By limiting the data you collect to just the most pertinent pieces, you will still be able to extract useful knowledge about clients while also earning their trust. To help businesses wondering what kind of data to collect, we asked 13 professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following question:
“Getting to know your customers is wildly useful in better meeting their needs. What would you say is one of the best pieces of consumer data to collect from your customers, and why is it so valuable?”
Here’s what YEC community members had to say:
1. Communication Preferences
“Find out how they like to receive communication. Your audience likely uses streamlined media sources and in order to best serve them you want to communicate on their platform of choice. If you send emails to a group that lives primarily online via video apps, you are going to lose them. Know where they like to receive communication and what consistency they are comfortable with.” ~ Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
2. Contact Information
“Get their contact information. Believe it or not, email addresses and phone numbers and other points of contact change often. Put together a program where your customers can update their contact information and encourage them to do so in order to be able to reach them. If you can’t, your sales opportunities are essentially lost.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
3. Their Pain Points
“Understand the pain points that your customers are experiencing and, more importantly, how much money they are willing to spend in order to solve those problems. This is one of the most financially smart pieces of data that you can get directly from your prospects.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
4. User or Customer Intent
“User intent or customer intent is extremely valuable when trying to build good content and to rank for a specific keyword on search engines. When you understand what users are looking for and why, you’ll be better placed to help them get it through your business. Using analytics and other tools like customer relationship management software can help you understand customer intent and serve them better.” ~ Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
5. What They Value
“In my field, one of the greatest pieces to understand more than price point or budget is what customers value the most. This is gathered through questioning to identify their pain points and get deep on what they look for to feel safe, and what would provide them happiness.” ~ Julian Montoya, JM11 Investments
6. Their Perception
“Perception is key. Despite having great reports, scientific findings and rising revenues — none of that matters if it doesn’t resonate with the customer’s view of success in the transaction. Ask them how they feel about the product, and what they perceive is important in either pivoting your messaging or improving the visibility of the value you bring to the table.” ~ Richard Fong, Ready Green
7. Consumer Sentiment
“Sentiment — the qualitative approach most people don’t value enough. Too many marketers rely on surveys, which show good data, but they fail to do good qualitative research. Do actual customer interviews and listen to the emotions behind their responses, as this will tell you a lot about how they really think. For instance, did they get excited when you shared the ‘secret sauce’ of your product?” ~ Andy Karuza, LitPic
8. The Latest Changes
“Ask the question, ‘What has changed since we last spoke?’ We are a content marketing agency so understanding the frequent changes in our customers’ businesses is important, and without a doubt there is always an answer to that question that affects our content strategy plans for the account.” ~ Kelsey Raymond, Influence & Co.
9. Everyday Feedback
“Everyday feedback regarding our product is the most helpful piece of consumer data that we collect from our customers. By making it easy for users to contact us via our app and website, we receive daily feedback from them. This feedback has helped us improve our product and identify any tech issues quickly over the years.” ~ Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
10. Their Performance Evaluators
“In a business-to-business environment, knowing your customer’s performance evaluators can be crucial to success. It will allow you to hone your presentation in on the factors that will most influence their decision, whether it be cost, quality, etc. Equally important, you won’t waste your time promoting features and benefits that are impressive to you, but are inconsequential to the purchase decision.” ~ Charles Bogoian, Kenai Sports
11. Website Analytics
“Knowing where visitors spend the most time on your website tells you what they’re interested in and enjoy the most. This helps you refine your conversion strategy to produce content and products that specifically cater to their needs. Likewise, it’s important to pay attention to your bounce rate so you know what to avoid in the future.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
12. Customer Support Call Volume
“Customer support call volume is very useful to a business because it tells you whether your products are meeting customer needs and whether your training or onboarding materials are adequate, and it gives you insight into the gaps you need to close in the future. That data can help multiple teams in your organization, including marketing, sales, support and customer success.” ~ Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
13. Physical Location
“It’s always a good idea to find out where your audience lives. You can make smart decisions when publishing content and pushing out updates if you know your primary audience resides in a different time zone. As an added bonus, you can use this information to create personalized marketing that targets users based on their location.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC