While establishing a commercial enterprise, chances are that you’ve heard of the phrase, “Customer Intelligence”.
If your company is to become successful, you will need to know precisely what this means, how you can collect data about it, and how you can streamline it so you get results that actually benefit you in the future.
What Is Customer Intelligence?
At its most basic, customer intelligence is the gathering and analysis of information pertaining to a business’ customers. It provides a way for CEOs to understand how a company’s audience thinks and what motivates them to make a purchase. In this way, customer intelligence can be used to drive growth in an organisation. It does this by separating the public into easily defined demographics and then seeing what these categories have in common and what they are looking for. Some standard groups are listed below:
- Personal demographics (age, income, debt, marital status)
- Geographic demographics (locations, addresses, communities)
- Attitudinal data (perceptions about your company from the public)
These can all be used to examine patterns, trends and comparisons between different groups of people. A business can then use this information to tailor their products, services and advertising to better suit the people they wish to have as loyal consumers.
How Can I Gather It?
This information isn’t that difficult to collect, especially if you hire the assistance of an expert in the field. In truth, you can delve into customer intelligence through a number of means, some of which will suit your business better than others:
- Mystery shopping
- Retail auditing
- Price checking
- Customer surveys
- Panel research
- Customer intercepts
- School of business
- Contact centres
If this seems too much for you to handle on your own, again there are plenty of resources to help you learn more about your target audience and what makes them tick. There are certain firms which offer full customer satisfaction packages that give you all the information you require in this area. With their help, you can gather and analyse a slew of important data so you can then boost your chances of turning an interested buyer into a loyal, long-term customer.
How Can I Optimize It?
Since there is so much data available though, you must be careful to be selective when creating any surveys, audits and checklists. Including too much can mean you are overloaded with information and can’t utilise it in any meaningful way. There are six points that you will have to be aware of so that you streamline the data you receive and end up with results you can use.
1. Know what your aims are before collecting data. This will help hone down the questions asked and will give a better idea about your future steps forward.
2. Consider database management. How you store the gathered information will mean the difference between easily searchable data and a mess of details you don’t have the time to browse.
3. Think about the bigger picture. Including customer relationship management (CRM) in with your customer intelligence plans can help broaden the data collected. For instance, you can find out how to reach those who merely visit your shop or website without making a purchase.
4. Gather the right information. When it comes down to conducting commercial research, customer intelligence contains reference and transactional data. The former includes facts about the consumer such as their age, income and post code. The latter is what they purchased, when they visited your store and how much they spent.
5. Aim for the future. The main objective of any customer intelligence plan is to gather information and then use this to predict future trends. These forecasts will dictate marketing campaigns, new products and day-to-day operations.
6. Track your customers. Finally, you will need to utilise the right technology so you can continue to research your customers in the future. Fortunately, methods exist where you can track data over the phone, in-store and online.
You now know the basics about customer intelligence. What matters now is how you go about gathering information about your current customers and any future buyers. If handled in the proper manner, you can then boost your chances of success by driving value, sales and profits in this competitive commercial world.