Every business generates a wealth of information as it operates. Without a strategy for collecting and analyzing this information, you won’t be able to effectively apply it to the decisions you’ll need to make as a business owner. Often there is much more data-related insight available than entrepreneurs immediately realize, and much of it relates to your most valuable resource: your customer. How much information are you capturing (or planning to capture)?
In this blog, we’ll explore some simple ways you can improve your collection of customer data and how it can apply to the decisions you have to make every day.
How to Collect Valuable Information
Methods for collecting information are wide ranging. There is a lot of digital support in this realm, in the form of accounting and financial software (more on this a bit later), website hosting services, and customer resource management (CRM) software to name a few. Most of the accounting programs that businesses commonly use can produce effective reports. CRMs are more complex software that should be chosen carefully.
While these programs will create a great deal of data, it will only be useful if you have a specific decision or problem that the data can help you make or solve. It’s important to gain a solid understanding of what kind of information will be valuable to your situation specifically. Therefore, don’t discount good old-fashioned observation. Count and describe the customers that come to your store hour by hour, engage them in conversation and ask them questions about themselves. Don’t overlook the power of gathering information this way. Be perceptive, and record whenever you can!
Surveys are a very common method, but it’s easy to underestimate the effort and expense you may incur pursuing good information this way. There is a danger of misleading yourself, so they should be undertaken very thoughtfully. In this article, we’ll stick to discussing more passive methods of information gathering.