Know Your Audience: Using Data for Customer Care
One of the keys to great customer service is knowing your audience and who they are. The more you know about them, the better sales, service, and follow up you can provide. However, the days of personal interactions with your customer at the sales counter have gone to the digital age.
However, along with that transition, customers now carry and wear devices that tell you a great deal about them, and they share much of that data when they log into websites, make purchases, and use social media to talk about all of it.
In short, there is a mountain of data out there, commonly referred to as big data. The problem with big data is that, well, it’s big. Somehow you have to take that pile of data, determine what is relevant, sort through it, and keep only the information you need to better care for your customers.
Where do you get that data, and how do you use it for customer care?
Census and Public Data
There is a lot of data out there about the demographics of a certain area, and that data can be used to inform a lot of things about business, including what locations you should target, age, sexual orientation, income and more. This data is, for the most part, anonymous, so it does not relate to specific customers. However, it does relate to a city, region, or even state.
When it comes to customer care, location will often determine how you approach the customer. The causal approach that works with someone from the Northwest will not always resonate with a New Yorker, nor will you use the same words and phrases in the same way.
Location, sex, and income will also often determine the expectations the customer might have. Using this simple, general data can help you begin the journey of personalization.
When it comes to specifics about your customer and the audience you are reaching, other data gathered within your industry can be very useful. At least some of your competition has been around longer than you have and analyzing their customer base can help you get a good sense of your own, and the target market you should have.
Be careful with this though. One of the reasons you may be in a certain business is because the market is shifting, and the older companies are failing to adapt. While it may be useful to know where they have come from, it is better to have a good idea of where you are going and who your target audience is.
Still, you can gain a great deal of knowledge from the past, and if things do not go for you the way you think they will, it is not a bad idea to reset with an established market while you try to reach new ones.
Once you have been in business long enough and you have an established customer base, you will be able to analyze your own data. This is why it is essential to maintain data in a good customer care CRM, so that you can generalize and analyze that data. This data quickly tells you two things that help with customer care.
Are we reaching our target audience? You probably had a target audience in mind. Is that who you are reaching, or do your customers not match that persona at all? if the two do not match, you need to decide whether to shift your target to those you are actually attracting, or shift your message to reach those you were targeting in the first place.
Are our customers satisfied? Are your customers coming back to you again and again, or do they make a single purchase and disappear? You also use a CRM to track all customer interactions, so you can see the percentage of complaints and issues you have had, the type of those complaints, and whether those issues are resolved for customers.
This information can inform future customer care, not just when dealing with complaints, but when initially reaching out. It can also help inform product and service improvements that will improve customer retention in the future.
Once we have dived down past enterprise data, the level of personal information has been reached. This is where privacy protection and only using data for certain purposes matters. While personalization make a customer experience better for the most part, customers also want to know they are protected, and not just anyone has access to their data.
This is where the usefulness meets privacy, a fine line to walk. However, a good CRM and the right data policies can help you balance both, and still provide great customer care.
You might also want to read “4 Ways 3D Printing can help your Business”.
Big Data is a gold mine in many ways. However, for all of that data to be useful for customer care it needs to be curated, analyzed, and categorized so it is useful. From general public data to personal information, each piece plays its own role. Know your audience, and use this data for the right thing: to keep your customers happy and coming back over and over again.
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