Depending on how you look at it, we can argue effectively that running a business is all about making decisions. The question then we all need to consider is this: what informs or influences our decision making? While many business decisions are made on guess work and gut feeling, we can now choose to run our businesses more effectively by making decisions based on real data we have about our customers. Tech has made it easy; really easy to get information about our customers and find interesting trends from the collected data.
I think it is a sad thing that while many businesses today actually collect data about their customers, but they leave it at that – just data collection! Any information you collate without using in any form is actually useless to you.
Introducing BUSINESS ANALYTICS
Business Analytics is simply the process of transforming data into insights for making better decisions.
Modern technology now allows us to make accurate decisions every time by the use of business analytics. As a person doing business in this digital age, you should be able to answer the following basic questions about your customers:
- Who are your customers?
- Where do they live?
- What challenges do they have?
- What are the most important days in their lives?
- What are the goods and services you can tailor to suit them perfectly?
- Why would they buy it from you?
These questions may look trivial, but they are not. The questions are quite important for modern businesses to find out as that will greatly help you properly account for your whole business.
On my own birthday for instance, my bank’s SMS came in long before my most loved ones called in.
You get the idea?
They had my data (date of birth) and they used it to send me a very sensible birthday message to congratulate me. That little gesture goes a long way in the mind of customers. As a comparison, my GSM network providers have the same data and they did nothing about it.
Every business should put things in place that collects data about their customers at every chance they get. Any time they interact with any aspect of your business, some data should be collected and as the data you have on each person grows, you are able to gain a 360 degrees view on your customers that gives you better leverage.
For example if a retail store knew the wedding anniversary of its customer, they could easily send targeted ads about gift ideas or outing ideas to such a customer who would definitely be wowed at such a development. Done without the customer asking for it or even thinking about it.
Getting started with business analytics
Starts with the basics – their names, phone numbers, emails (depends on your target audience), addresses. Generally you should collect info they will be comfortable sharing with you. Do not go overboard.
Then using these basic information, you can get a whole lot more data about them. The simple ones here is that with a name and phone number, I could connect with you on Facebook, once we get on Facebook. We can easily get more personal details – birthday, family info, eveything! we update them all into our little customer database and then we update the database also with other information like last purchase, last sighting at the store etc.
After going through the pains and “stress” (stress??) of collating such data, we now begin to see the benefits of such a process.
In due time, we can learn things such as; which of your customers have stopped patronising you? Which of your customers haven’t been seen in 3 months? Did they relocate or they changed vendors?
Which 50% of your advertising is not working? Are your email campaigns working? What percentage of your revenue is coming in from which marketing effort?
In 2017, we should not take decisions based on emotion, voodoo, and guesses. We are in such a unique position whereby we can make sound business decisions based on the amount of accurate data we have about the business.
We need to measure everything, keep track of everything.
And that is how we run businesses now. The power to track your customers is available and you should tap in today.
In what ways have you used information (data) collected from your customers to make decisions or improve your business? Post it in the comments below.