You’ve identified the customer data you want to collect, but now it’s time to actually go out and get it. But how? Identifying the best way to collect customer data can be challenging, but ultimately, the juice is worth the squeeze, and the process can lead to better business growth.
Let’s take a look at a few tried and true customer data collection methods that can help you learn more about your audience:
When you’re hiring for a new position, the best way to get to know your candidates is to interview them. Just like the hiring process, one of the best ways to collect customer data is through interviews.
Interviews can be conducted with current and past customers to gain insight into customers’ thoughts on your brand, as well as their wants, needs, behaviors, and preferences.
Advantages: Interviews allow for face-to-face, personal interactions, andinterviewers can pick up on nonverbal cues from interviewees.
Disadvantages: Interviews can cost more than online surveys and forms and require more planning. Answers can sometimes be biased, especially if questions are leading.
Online analytics are a great way to collect customer information because it involves hard data related to customer behavior, preferences, and interactions. You can gather online analytic data through your business’s website and social media channels.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram include analytics pages for business accounts so you can see who is visiting your page and interacting with your content and how. For website and in-app interactions, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) can help you collect valuable customer traffic and engagement data.
Advantages: Online analytics give you an unfiltered look at customer behaviors, offer hard data, and allow you to track real-time changes.
Disadvantages: If you’re collecting the wrong data, online analytics can feel like a futile effort.
With online forms, you can capture the information you need and hear directly from your customers with ease.
Nutshell’s form builder can help you easily create online forms. You can customize your online forms to reflect your brand perfectly and include numerous question types to ensure you can collect the exact information you’re looking for. Nutshell Forms also send data directly to your CRM.
Advantages: Online forms require less manual effort from sales teams than customer interviews and require much less planning when implementing them.
Disadvantages: Improper goal setting can lead to creating online forms that don’t directly address all the information you want to collect from your leads, so make sure clear objectives are in place beforehand.
Transactional data is exactly what it sounds like: customer data pulled from transactions with your business. To make the most out of transactional data collection, you should go beyond collecting a basic invoice. With transactional data, you can collect information like purchase history, buying and browsing behavior, and overall customer loyalty.
Advantages: Transactional data gives you insight into the buying behaviors of specific customers, allowing you to create a more detailed customer profile.
Disadvantages: The data points collected are limited to specific customers, products, and services, so the data requires additional analysis after being collected to glean larger insights.
One of the best ways you can improve your business and keep your customers happy is to collect and listen to their feedback. Whether you ask for it or not, customers will be happy to relay feedback about their experience with your business to you. Having a collection process in place for customer feedback is key to acquiring and acting on that feedback.
Customer feedback can be collected through verbal interactions, over the phone, through email, or through online forms and surveys.
Advantages: Customer feedback is raw, unfiltered feedback about your brand, products, and services, and it can help you improve customer experience.
Disadvantages: Customer feedback can sometimes be biased, and since it’s coming straight from the customer, certain things may be slightly over or underexaggerated.
Sometimes data collection doesn’t have to be a structured process—it can happen at any time, including in informal environments. Observing in-store customer behavior is a great way to get unfiltered customer information related to how they shop and their interactions with your products and services.
If you don’t have a physical location, don’t worry—you can still collect observational data online via heat mapping software to observe visitors’ interactions with your business’ website.
Advantages: Observational data gives you an unfiltered look at how your customers interact with your brand and its products and services.
Disadvantages: You can’t observe people 24/7 in-store, so there can be gaps in the data collected from your observations.
Often the most overlooked form of data collection is utilizing public records. They’re public for a reason. Why not make use of them?
Public records hold valuable information related to demographics, income, and other important information about service areas and business footprints. With the help of the other data you’ve collected, you can use public records to make educated inferences about how to support your business’s growth.
Advantages: Public records give businesses valuable insight into customers within specific geographic regions.
Disadvantages: The data offered in public records can be limited in terms of geographic location, context, and data type.
We may sound a little partial, given that we’re a CRM company and all, but we truly believe a CRM is an invaluable resource for collecting customer data.
Nutshell CRM can help you manage and enrich customer data and data related to customer interactions and engagement. Nutshell can even automatically pull in lead attribution data. How’s that for easy customer data collection?
What’s more, Nutshell CRM offers sales pipeline management, data tracking, and reporting features so you can view the details of your sales performance and begin working out a game plan to wow prospects and turn them into customers.
Advantages: Nutshell CRM is an all-in-one software that can help you collect customer data with ease and analyze said data to create personalized campaigns that keep customers knocking on your company’s door.
Overcoming “Disadvantages”: Common challenges associated with CRM software include being overly complicated, expensive, and having minimal customization options. Nutshell prides itself on offering a CRM solution that’s affordable, easy to navigate, and offers customization where you need it most.
Which data collection method works best?
So, we’ve weighed the pros and cons, but now it’s time to decide: which method of data collection is the best? Trick question—the “best” method of collecting customer data is subjective. Each business has its own unique sales goals, and to reach those goals, you need specific data to help you monitor your progress.
While transactional data may be the end-all-be-all for one business, that may not be the case for another, and that’s okay! Every business should choose and utilize data collection methods that suit their needs and help them reach their goals.
Easily manage customer data with Nutshell
When it comes to efficient customer data collection, Nutshell’s got your back. Nutshell’s intuitive CRM collects, organizes, and stores customer data, building customer profiles that allow for convenient browsing at any time.
Learn more about how Nutshell can help you collect customer data by starting a free trial of our all-in-one CRM system or attending a live product demo to get a closer look at what we’re all about.