The most useful form of customer data is unfiltered honesty, especially when you use that information to then improve your processes, so that you can continually expand your customer engagement.
Northsail believes that honesty is absolutely always the best policy, which is why if we believe that a project can't be completed above and beyond client expectations, we simply won't take it on.
We guarantee that every single project we do will be completed on-time, on-spec, and on-budget – that’s why every project comes with a 6-month guarantee.
Honesty builds trust, and if you want to start Building Customer Loyalty with your own clients, you need to start collecting honest customer data from within your target market and your existing customers.
How do you do that? Data collection forms. These are sometimes obvious forms of collection, like surveys or testimonials given to your target audience. However, occasionally they can be unprompted by you, like contacting clients through social media.
Before we dive into some of the different types of data collection forms you can utilize for your business, let's talk a bit more about what customer data is, and why it's valuable for you.
Customer data comes in a few different forms, but at its core, it means any information that you can gain by interacting with your clients in-person or online throughout their customer journey, and collecting information directly from them.
These valuable insights can also relate to any information that you can gain by tracking their buying behaviors, conversion trends, or results from your marketing/promotional efforts.
Whether it's their contact information, like their physical address, email address, or phone number, or their favourite hobbies, colors, or foods - it's all valuable customer data. Their previous interactions with your customer service teams and shopping experiences at your stores are also forms of customer data.
Anytime that a person fills out a form in-person or online with information that could be considered customer data, you could call it a customer data collection form.
Some are obviously meant to collect hard data, and others can feel more like carrying on a dialogue with the person to gain customer insights. Even holding chats through social media and recording the data for future use could theoretically be considered a type of customer data collection.
The key with all of these forms, whether they're written on paper or submitted digitally, is to make sure that you're creating databases of all the relevant information the customers have provided for you.
Otherwise, the information is far less likely to be cataloged properly, or utilized to improve future marketing strategies and business plans.
Data amounts to hard facts. Regardless of whether you're going to acknowledge and accept the information being provided to you (which can be challenging sometimes with testimonial or review data), the fact remains that these are honest, valuable pieces of information.
Facts don't lie, and they don't care about opinions. For better or worse, it's foolish to overlook crucial information you can use to improve your future processes.
Data collection forms can help you weed out inventory that might be selling well now, but will end up just taking up space on your shelves in a couple of months. They can assist in deciding what types of new products or services to offer.
They're also one of the most critically important pieces of being able to execute many different types of marketing strategies. Without their contact data, it’s much harder to get your marketing materials directly to your potential customer.
To help you start collecting as much valuable data as possible, here's are 5 types of customer data forms that you should consider building into your business plan:
But you can also use email campaigns to share data collection forms with your email list, through your contests and promotions.
Create urgency by putting a limited time offer into your email campaigns, and ask them about their last customer interactions with your business, as a gateway into accessing the offer. It doesn't have to be long, just 2-3 lines.
You can also use this as an opportunity to seek feedback about specific products. For instance, if your database tracks previous purchases by customer accounts, you can reach out to just those customers to ask them about what they thought of the products.
For new product launches or products that you're worried may not be received well by your target market, this is an invaluable way to get some fast, honest feedback.
It can also give you the opportunity to get ahead of any product quality or reliability issues, which you may not realize until people begin using those products. It won’t happen often, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Give these helpful people a 5-10% discount off their next order for taking the time to offer their testimonial, and they'll be much more likely to give you a few minutes of their time to fill out a short questionnaire.
Of course, contest forms are useful both in-person and online, since every recipient will be expecting to offer up at least a little bit of personal information in order to enter your promotion.
This is a great means for collecting contact info like emails and home addresses (don't underestimate the value of knowing where your customer base lives), but you can take it one step further than that.
Add a section for people to tell you about a product or purchasing experience from your brand that went above and beyond for them in the past. These word-of-mouth testimonials are fantastic marketing materials.
They’re also a great way to add credibility to both your website and your brand as a whole.
Apart from surveys, if you're trying to collect a larger amount of customer data all at once, then loyalty program forms can be a solid method for extracting as much as possible in one swift motion.
Most loyalty programs come with some massive benefits to the client, and in exchange for being able to access all those wonderful perks, more customers will expect to have at least a moderate amount of paperwork to fill out.
This is partially because most loyalty programs involve some sort of user account, which tracks points or rewards depending on the system in place.
Also, when users sign up for a loyalty program, there's a silent assumption that they're going to be continuing to use your business repeatedly in the future - otherwise, why sign up for the loyalty program, right? This means, you need to be sure you can maintain a consistent level of customer satisfaction.
Most happy customers don't mind sharing a little bit of extra information with their favourite businesses, because they've developed a personal relationship with that brand.
After all, what's a little data between friends?
As we mentioned above, surveys are the other common types of data collection forms that often yield the most in-depth results.
Unfortunately, a customer survey can be a challenging data collection form when it comes to encouraging engagement and creating excitement. If you're not careful, these can end up becoming a vetting source for customer complaints, instead of a tool to give you an accurate view of how your target market sees your business.
Just like email marketing campaigns, it can be a good idea to sweeten the pot a little, and offer your clients a small bonus for taking the time to complete your survey and share their customer experience.
It doesn't have to be anything large or extravagant, but something is always better than nothing. It adds value for their time spent, and for many customers, that will be a major deciding factor.
Otherwise, you're going to be left hoping your clients are either so happy or so dissatisfied that they take the time to sit down and share those experiences.
These polls give you priceless information about how your previous clients rate your products and services against one another. These customer preferences can also be an invaluable source of information when you're considering expanding your product or service offerings.
Think about it - you can literally chat with your target market which products they would like to see you carrying. And if you don't have some popular options on your list that you haven't considered yet, your most devoted market base will reach out to let you know.
Sometimes a more subtle marketing strategy can be extremely useful. However, in situations like social media polls, it's best to be direct.
Ask clear questions, and you'll get straight answers.
The best data comes directly from the source, which is why we believe in communicating openly with our clients. Anytime that we think we can gain some useful data by bringing people in on the testing of a new service, we will.
With that in mind, we're inviting you to take part in the testing of our newest service - 'Horizon'. Horizon is an intuitive service that's going to change the way that you think about building websites.
In addition to adding a variety of customer data collection forms to any of your pages, Horizon lets you build high-performance landing pages and microsites, without the need for a developer's oversight.
All we ask is that you take a few minutes to let us know what you think, once you have a chance to check Horizon out. That's it! Not bad for a free trial. Right?
Why miss out? Sign-up today, and let Horizon start making your site design a snap.
We’ll send you important updates about the early access program and your free invite when we are ready.
Your contact information will only be used for the early access program, not for future sales and marketing.