Acquiring, converting, engaging, and retaining customers is the most important challenge facing businesses of any size. But the proliferation of data, which has been made possible by significant advances in technology, have allowed businesses to capture information on their customers and helped to level the playing field between businesses big and small. Analyzing this data can give you visibility into every facet of your business, helping to inform data-driven and actionable feedback. And cloud database software can help.
Forbes recently looked at some of the key customer analytics that businesses can use to inform their operations. They included:
If a customer is happy with your business’ product or service, they’re much more likely to return or recommend you to their friends. Knowing if you’re meeting their expectations is therefore a valuable metric. Whether you interact with them in person, online through social media or third-party review websites, or through a combination of quantitative and qualitative feedback, you can assess their satisfaction and remedy any failures.
Knowing the long-term value of each of your customers -- that is, how long they’re likely to stay a customer, how much and how often they’re likely to spend -- can help you to look beyond individual transactions and understand the larger impact they can have on your business. Knowing this, you can look at ways to increase the length of the relationship, maximize its value, and better evaluate the potential return on investments in marketing your business to them.
No one business can be all things to all people, so rather than viewing your customers as a single group it’s more effective to segment them into sub-groups and target your marketing efforts accordingly. Variables like demographics, purchasing patterns, and how your customers engage with your business are some examples of how you can better understand them. And the internet can provide a vast source of customer data for you to mine and analyze.
Knowing where you generate the most sales, both in numbers and total value, can help you to better target your resources more efficiently. For example, if you do business in a bricks and mortar store, online, and by phone, sales channel analytics will attribute each sale to its channel and subtract the costs it took to generate it.
However, it’s important to note that your business is a holistic whole. Your customers may have been introduced to your product at your store, thought about it at home, and then completed the purchase online. Talking to your customers in-person or asking brief survey questions online (“Where did you first hear about us?”) can help you to qualify your data.
There are an endless number of tools you can use to extract data from the behavior of your website’s visitors and analyze it to optimize the user experience to increase engagement, conversion, and sales, but Google Analytics is the industry leader. If your website isn’t already set up to track and report on it, this should be the first thing you do when you’re finished reading this article.
Just as advances in technology have made data more accessible to your business, so too have they developed easier and more economical ways to manage it. For example, cloud database software makes it easy for anyone to create and deploy relational database-driven applications, such as web forms and reports, that help your small business manage and share your data.
Web-based services, make it easy to enter, manage, extract, and analyze data with the power of a database and the ease of use of a spreadsheet.
For example, you can send out a form to your existing customers and ask them to evaluate your business’ product or service. Then, you can analyze their responses by their satisfaction, link them to particular insights, and inform actions to resolve those themes.
Another example could be to track of all the customer references you collect for your product or service in another table, which is linked to your previous customer satisfaction table. These can be used for future marketing efforts, or to keep handy as references on sales calls.