Customer data is one of the many business assets that is taken for granted by many small firms, yet it is one of the most important management and marketing tools that one can leverage on and gain handsomely.
Customer details such as email, telephone numbers, items purchased and when, quantities purchased and locality can be used to make key management, product development and marketing decisions that help to grow your business.
When a customer buys from you, makes inquiries or simply visits to window-shop and satisfy their curiosity, they leave a trail or valuable information, which if collected and kept in a structured system can help you understand their behaviour and preferences. You can use this information to profile and tailor-make your marketing messages and propositions.
Basically, with a good system to manage your customer information, you can tell the type of products a customer buys, when they are likely to buy, their payment history, nature of their business and even the depth of their pockets.
This information, if well utilized, can increase your efficiency and cut down on your marketing costs tremendously. For instance, you can profile and keep emails or phone numbers of customers according to certain unique features or products that tinges them. In this case, whenever you have a new product or offer, you can easily reach out to them directly via email, WhatsApp or a phone call.
It is also very easy to do a simple survey to establish their level of satisfaction with whatever products they are using and if need be modify or design a new product that meets their needs.
Well-managed customer data can be used to market slow moving products as well. All you need is to send an email or call them and make an appealing proposal.
Your customers are a great source of testimonials and references that you can use to convince and persuade non-customers to join your family.
There is hardly any form of advertisement that is more powerful than an endorsement, reference or recommendation of a happy customer who is viewed as independent, non-partisan, and with no interests whatsoever. If you know your customers well across all social strata, you can easily request or prompt them to make statements or comments that you can publicize as recommendations or endorsements and gain marketing mileage.
Customer information can be used to know the movement and ways of your competitors. For example, if a customer who has been buying several of your products starts buying few of them, you might need to find out where they are buying the others and why.
It could be that your competitor is offering those particular products at a better deal, and if you are not careful you may lose the others as well.
The main challenge with customer information is that whereas gathering it is easy, keeping it and analysing it into a usable form is tedious and time consuming. However, the returns on investment are very high.
This article was first published in The Business Daily on March 5, 2019