Taking Care of Your Customers with Data

Tracy Borreson on February 3, 2016

Your customers are giving you information all the time – through their transactions, online search habits, which channels they respond on and which they do not – but how can you ensure that you are USING this information, and not just collecting a bunch of disparate data?

Historically, all of the above information types have been held in different systems – so how can we get these systems to talk to each other in order to get that 360o view of our customers?

  1. Get Aligned

If you have your own internal data team, then get them to profile all of your data sources to see which information maps to where and on what variables. I recommend using a unique identifier of some kind that can then be mapped across all your systems (like a Customer ID). Most databases allow for the creation of a unique identifier of this sort upon creation of the user – so use this and make sure that it flows across every single one of your systems.

If you don’t have your own internal data team, talk to your vendors and see if they have any API’s that you can take advantage of (Application Program Interfaces – the nifty back-end code that allows systems to talk to each other). These allow your data to flow freely between multiple systems, ensuring that if a record gets updated in ONE system, the change flows through to ALL systems!

  1. Customer Profiling

One of the best ways of profiling your customers, STILL, is by using this data to create your Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Customer Groups; groups of your customers that give you a better idea of how people are interacting with your brand. Make sure your profiles include the following items in order for them to be as complete as possible:

  • Demographic Details (age, education, family size, etc.)
  • Location Details (types of cities, towns, neighborhoods)
  • Activity Details (sports they like to play/watch, stores they shop at, general spends, etc.)
  • Media Interactions (magazines they read, TV channels they watch)
  • Social Media Interactions (active on Facebook, Twitter, etc.)

Most of this information, if not pulled directly from your data, can be appended by census data in the USA and Canada. Again, if this is not your forte, ask one of your trusted vendors to help. And if there’s no one in your current network that can help, there are always data companies as a third option.

  1. Bringing it All Together

Now that your systems are talking to each other, and you have your target customer profiles, we can start building communication programs to reach out to your customers in real-time. The best way to do this is with a Marketing Automation Platform. These systems are built to use the above two pieces and allow you to pre-build your communication programs so that they will automatically be distributed to your customers either 1) at a pre-determined time interval or 2) based on an action that they have taken. These systems remove the responsibility and management of these communication plans from your team - making it easier to execute more communication programs on an on-going basis.

How the Customer Feels

The goal of implementing programs of this nature is to ensure your customers feel GOOD about your brand; that the time that they have spent interacting with you is a good investment. This is a big responsibility. So make sure that you keep this in mind while going through the above three steps, and you can ensure that you are taking care of your customers with their data!