New arrivals to the world of the entrepreneur are no doubt thinking about data – customer data to be exact. Revolutions in software and the proliferation of mobile internet access has meant more data collection and analysis than most companies know what to do with, especially the young ones.
However, the overwhelming nature of data these days can easily lead to an “analysis paralysis” situation for budding entrepreneurs. What to focus on, what to discard, and what to save for later are all important issues to address. Then there’s the matter of acting on the data – something easier said than done when there are 1001 ways to address an observation, but only a handful of ways to effectively solve the problem.
Then there is the issue of ethics. Collecting and using customer data can be a tightrope if integrity and honesty are virtues which a company wishes to uphold.
Never fear – here is the upstart guide to effectively and ethically utilizing customer data:
Improve the customer experience.
If data can help improve the customer experience, customers are less likely to complain or even care about the collection. With this in mind it’s a good idea for startups to find top CRM – customer relationship management software – specifically designed to assist in this endeavour. Using CRM enables startups to make sense of customer data for the sake of the customer, which is key to maintaining long-term business ties. This, of course, helps to improve business strength, giving companies plenty of incentive to use data for customer satisfaction.
One of the worst situations for a startup to get itself into is to be relying on inaccurate data. It inevitably leads to poor planning and calibration, if not the slow dismantling of customer service altogether. Outreach efforts, offers, and correspondence hinged on sloppy data are more than signs of mismanagement, they suggest a company is irresponsibly handling customer information as a whole. Distrust and data don’t mix well, ultimately leaving a bad taste in the mouths of customers on the receiving end of targeted albeit misaligned marketing moves.
Data is more than just a tool to streamline marketing efforts. It gives companies a window into product and service potential once only possible with costly research and development. Creating new offerings for customers based on their buying habits and personal details has never been easier thanks to the recent revolution in data management. Is it going to always lead to success? No, but here’s the thing – missteps are a data set in and of itself to be used to better a company’s relationship with customers.
Lastly, new businesses are advised to use more than one tool to manage and monitor customer data. The aforementioned power of CRM software can be made more effective by working in conjunction with customer journey mapping – or CRJ. Similar to the way in which a detective looks for similar observations and conclusions from multiple, independent sources, the same can be said for any company looking to effectively act on customer data.
Great pressure is placed on new companies to hit the ground running with customer data. Yet in order to get the most out of information about customers, a balance must be struck between effective and ethical data management. Only then can upstart entrepreneurs hope to improve their operations with customer details and not risk alienating them in the process.