These days, the collection of customer data by companies has been put into question. Facebook, specifically, has been in hot waters because of instances when sensitive customer data was leaked online or was used to influence public opinion. However, there is a necessity for businesses to collect and store customer data — as long as it is done ethically.
A business cannot function efficiently and successfully without customer data. It is through customer data that businesses can identify the needs and preferences of their clientele. It allows seamless transaction and it enables personalized service.
Moreover, it facilitates connection. When you have your client’s contact information, you can send them offers, updates about current and new products, ask for feedback, or, simply, say hello.
The data you collect and store about your customers is crucial to the operation of the business.
Businesses need to understand that they need to implement ways to collect, store, and protect their data in order to improve their service and to get ahead of the competition.
Customer Data Collection — What is Obtained?
Obtaining customer data is easy. Businesses collect customer data on sign-up forms online and offline. Information is also acquired from previous purchases and returns.
Businesses can also extract relevant details from reviews and social media.
However, not every business knows what type of customer data should be collected or what will have a positive impact on sales. There are different types of customer data and all serve a different purpose.
The first and most crucial is personal data. This includes personally-identifying information such as name, email address, phone numbers, age and birthday, and gender. Many businesses also collect non-personally identifiable information such as IP address, web browser, and device IDs. The purpose of this information is to customize services for repeat clients. For example, e-commerce sites collect personal data to make the process of purchasing and delivery seamless.
The next is behavioral and attitudinal data which involves purchase history and product usage as well as consumer satisfaction. The final type is engagement data which encompasses how consumers interact with the website, social media pages, mobile apps, and other routes.
Storing Customer Data — How to Make it Efficient?
How the business stores its data is also a concern.
One crucial area that all businesses should always keep in mind is keeping customer data accurate. People change — a lot. Their personal information will also go through several changes over time. Businesses should review customer data and see if there is bad contact information from their database. Services such as phone number lookup API or email checker tools/verifiers can identify inaccurate or inactive contact information. Doing so will prevent businesses from wasting time and resources on calling or writing a non-existent contact.
Businesses should also digitize customer data in order to improve efficiency. A file and cabinet work, but it usually takes more time for staff to find and retrieve what they need. Putting it up on the computer allows businesses to search for the specific information needed within seconds.
Protecting Customer Data — Business Responsibility
Businesses collect troves of customer data, many are identifying and can be used for harm if it lands in the hands of the wrong people. That is why businesses have a huge responsibility to protect the data they collect from customers.
Entrepreneurs should be aware of the common ways bad actors used to access sensitive information. Experts recommend that all information, including those from businesses that do not classify as valuable enough to be targeted, should place customer data in an encrypted system. The staff should also be warned about phishing scams or malware. Devices used in the offices should have antivirus programs to sift through and spot a malicious program before it infects and provides the hacker access to customer data.
Securing customer data protects consumers. It also will prevent the business from suffering a data leak which, often, results in loss of trust and negative public reputation. For small businesses, it can lead to bankruptcy. Taking all the necessary precautions to protect customer data is necessary if the business wants to survive and succeed in the market.
Businesses collect data to provide customers a personalized service and to improve every transaction. Moreover, it leads to better sales and contributes toward the growth of the business.
The information that is obtained varies from business to business. Some get more than what is needed. No matter what types of data are in the hands of businesses, enterprises have the responsibility to protect it from prying eyes.