5 Ways to Capture Customer Data

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photo credit: Blyzz via photopin cc

We’ve all consciously avoided the clipboard person at least once. You know what we’re on about, the one who’s ready to pounce and ask you to complete a survey or take part in a competition.

As I look in my inbox, there are no end of emails from retailers who have captured my data through events, newsletter sign ups or because I have bought something from their website.

Building a customer database enables you to contact customers regarding latest news, events, and offers. Among all of these things, regularly contacting your database also ensures your business is fresh in their mind. The big question is how do you capture this data and maintain it?

Here are 5 different methods of integrating data capturing into your business.

Events

Meeting customers at trade shows is the perfect opportunity to introduce your business and the products and services you can offer them. Even if they don’t buy anything there and then, invite them to receive updates in the future through using contact cards. Keep it simple though. If you present to your customer a 5 page document, it’s unlikely they’ll have the time to complete it. Also it’s worth asking yourself what data you are actually going to need and use.

Purchasing Online

When purchasing an item online, you may need to know the customer’s name, address and postcode to post it to them. Alongside those details you may want to send a confirmation email of the order and for this you’ll need an email address.

Vouchers

Everyone loves a bargain don’t they? Promoting a discount on voucher websites, magazines or your own website is another way of capturing data. Once customers click to retrieve their discount, ask them to enter their contact details and there you have it. Done. A great advantage with voucher codes is that you can see where your customers have found the voucher giving you an insight into which advertising avenues are the most efficient.

Newsletter

Another way of enticing customers to join your database is to offer them the chance to receive a FREE newsletter. You can add a form on your website and call them to sign up for a newsletter packed full of new products, latest offers and news.

Social networks

Use social media accounts to promote to your customers how they can sign up for vouchers, newsletters and the latest news. Make sure you don’t spam your follower’s timeline and share plenty of other great content.

Follow some of these pointers and your customer database will slowly build from strength to strength, but there are some important factors to remember when capturing data.

  • Only capture data you’re going to actually use. If you don’t plan on sending text messages to promote your business, ask yourself why you need their telephone number?
  • Remember to always give customers the option to opt into certain marketing services rather than opt out. Not only is this best practice but this way you know that the customers who opt in are genuinely interested in your service.
  • Alongside this provide an explanation to how their data was captured and how they can unsubscribe from updates.
  • If you decide to collect data, it may be worth having a privacy policy accessible to customers. The policy is a legal document which explains exactly what data you collect and how the business will use it.

For further information about collecting and using data for your business, please see this handy checklist from the Information Commissioner’s Office

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