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What to do with the customer data you’ve collected

What to do with the customer data you’ve collected

Today’s technology allows businesses to gather a staggering amount of data from customers, site visitors, and users. Cybercriminals go to great lengths to steal or hold data for ransom because it's highly valuable. Your competitors also use data to get ahead in the game, which is why it’s very important for you not to fall behind on technology.

But gathering voluminous data is just the start; what spells the difference is its analysis. According to sociologist, historian, and activist W.E.B. Du Bois, “When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books. You will be reading meanings.”

Related article: The many benefits of technology integration for your business

First, you need to collect the right data so you can analyze and draw useful insights from it.

Strategies for effective data gathering

Here are several important strategies to turn gathered data into actionable insights:

  • Know the right things to measure — Every business is unique and should be treated accordingly. You need to know your business thoroughly, taking your internal and external stakeholders into consideration. To determine what data is important for your business, start with a clear vision, a concrete plan, and measurable key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Use segmentation — To help you dig deeper into your data, you can segment customers and visitors according to similar attributes, like age range, social status, geographical region, etc. Choosing the segments will depend on your business objectives.
  • Establish the context of your data — How was the data collected? What’s the meaning behind those numbers? And how important are they? Knowing the context behind your data is important, because it provides a sharper understanding of what those numbers are telling you. Reading data out of context can lead to a bad business decision based on a wrong interpretation.
  • Use Six Sigma’s DMAIC method to improve your business Six Sigma is a set of management tools to improve business processes. Its DMAIC method is a data-driven strategy consisting of five interconnected phases:
    • Define the problem and desired outcome.
    • Measure relevant data and the performance of the process.
    • Analyze the data and identify the causes of defects and opportunities for improvement.
    • Improve or modify the process to solve and prevent defects.
    • Control the process. Prevent and correct variations before they become defects.
  • Come up with a great hypothesis statement — Any analysis starts with a clear and well-articulated hypothesis, usually written in the following form: “If ________________ (I do this), then ________________ (this will happen).” A hypothesis statement will help give you focus as you analyze your data. For example, your hypothesis is: “If we keep our coffee shop open 24/7, then we will get customers from the night shift, too.” So you will focus on data that can tell you how many people in your area work night shifts, how many of them are coffee drinkers, and how many of them can afford the coffee you’re selling.
  • Integrate your data sources — By mining through and connecting your data sources, you will enhance your business and customer understanding, improve your chances of coming up with great insights, and make faster and better decisions.
  • Visualize your message — Remember all those presentations that used merely words and numbers? No? Neither will your audience. That’s why it’s important to use visuals (images, graphs, charts, tables, infographics, and the like) to help you tell a meaningful story instead of just enumerating data.
  • Do away with silo mentality in your organization — Silo mentality is a mindset wherein departments, sectors, or groups within an organization refuse to share knowledge or information with one another. A health organization thrives on communication and cooperation, not confrontation or competition typically cultivated by such mentality.
  • Hire the right people — Your technology may be excellent at collecting and collating data, but it’s your people who will come up with insights. Smart people know where to look for useful data and connect the dots to come up with valuable, actionable insights.

Related article: The many benefits of technology integration for your business

The use of insights culled from data

After collecting and analyzing the data, companies can now use these insights to:

  • Improve customer experience — Consumer data provides insights into consumer behavior. And with feedback and reviews, companies can now modify their goods or services to meet demands. Improving customer experience can even be made on an individual level. By knowing each person’s individual preferences, personalization is possible.
  • Refine the marketing strategy — Data reveals how customers behaved in the past as well as predict how they will behave in the future. With segmented, contextual data, companies can identify who will most likely engage and target highly specific markets. Businesses can now create smaller but more effective marketing campaigns aimed at more targeted audiences.

Data is the new currency. You need to optimize its use if you want to stay competitive and relevant. If your business is in Hanover, Morristown, and Madison, you’ll want to partner with a managed services provider like Online Computers. We use custom business intelligence and databases to improve your bottom line. For innovative IT solutions and proactive managed services, contact us today.

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