What is Customer Data? Collection, Validation and Analysis: A 2020 Perspective

Customer data or consumer data refers to all the information companies collect from their customer’s digital trail. The consumers have to agree with ‘terms and conditions’ and other ‘cookies’ that allow companies to legally gather this data.

Customer data refers to any personal, demographic and behavioral information companies collect from their consumers. This data is then processed in an analytic tool such as Google Analytics to help the companies arrive at insights regarding consumer behaviors, including buying behaviors.

Such analysis allows the companies to build better performing consumer experiences, which leads to higher profits at lower costs.

During data collection, you will find that content is a powerful tool that allows you to understand what people want to read and feel before making a decision.

This is why content in 2020 is expected to keep growing.

How is the Data Collected?

Companies collect data from many sources using a variety of methods. Some ways of data collection can be highly technical, while other ways can be deductive.

Most companies use a combination of methods to collect data for processing.

Data can be collected in five different ways.

Directly Asking it from Customers

Many companies ask consumers directly for their data at some point. Some do it as an exchange of some sort of royalty card, or to enter you in various opportunities to win prizes. Companies will ask this info from consumers using smart content and personalized service. This is an important reason to take a look at another look at your strategy for content in 2020.

Website Cookies

Most consumers go ahead and click accept when the ‘cookie’ warning shows up just to get rid of it. In reality, in a split second, most of us go ahead and give many companies the right to track our online behavior and collect data to optimize our buying experience.

The ‘cookie warning’ we all see when we first visit a website is now pivoting from a professional dry message to more fun, light-hearted message. This means companies will continue to spend and expand their content in 2020 to become more relatable and fun!

The less intimidating a warning message is, the more likely a customer will click on it.

Clients Records and Social Media Accounts

Companies collect data on your buying behavior, or any other interaction they had with you, to know how to target you better. For example, every time you get a call from a representative or open a complaint ticket, they keep that on record. Social media is also a major tracking tool, especially if you use your social media accounts to login to their platforms.

Email and Apps

Companies now can know if you open the email and what device you use to access your email. This helps them know where to place more effort on. For example, if a company sees that 80% of their clients access the email through their phones, they will optimize the design and content for mobile devices. According to WIRED around 40% of  emails are being tracked.

Data Companies

Big data companies exist with the sole purpose of purchasing information, categorizing it and selling it to interested parties. Every time you see ‘Buy Leads’, this is essentially what you are getting. When a company is just getting started, and they have no history in the data analysis, buying leads is a good way to jump-start the process.

Any of the above methods can be used by any size company to help in the collection of customer data.

What is Data Validation?

When a company collects information on their visitors and clients, they end up with large amounts of information. Not all of it is relevant, complete or useful. Data validation is the process where a company cleanses the data before using it.

Address Validation

Using authoritative databases will allow you to check if the address you have at hand is correct. Everything that doesn’t check, should not be included in your data. This will save you on any possible mailing campaigns you will be doing in the future.

Email Validation

Just like address validation, you can use email verification services to clean up your mailing lists. There are even API tools that you can integrate with your website that recognize a fake email before the submission and prompt the client to correct the email address. You can use tools where you can upload your entire mailing list and it can do one scan for all of them, saving you time from having to check one by one.

Phone Validation

Services such as Textmagic offer free validation of phone numbers. They have a paid service that makes the process faster by allowing you to upload a list of phone numbers. 

What is Data Analysis?

Finally, you can analyze the data at hand to arrive at conclusions about your client base and your next steps.

Before you can do correct data analysis consider the following steps:

1.    Decide What Data you Want to Collect.

For example, many companies need to know how much time someone spends on their website, average page visits, conversion rates etc.

2.    Decide How Long is Good Enough for Data Collection

Although you want to continually collect data and improve, you need to know how often you need to analyze these data. For example monthly or quarterly?

3.    Identify What Methods you Will be Utilizing

If data collection is also done in person or over the phone, you have to prepare your questionnaires ahead of time. If you will be using online analytics tools, then make sure everything is set up and connected correctly.

4.    Analyze and Interpret  the Data

Once you have your data, then know what you are looking for. This means that you have existing milestones and expectations. For example, how long do you expect your clients to spend on your website? What is the optimal time? What is your bounce rate? Many businesses will continue to build their blogs and strong content in 2020 as a primary method to keep visitors on your website longer.

The longer someone stays on your website, the bigger the opportunity to convert them into paying clients. Place CTA buttons on various pages and watch your analytics to see where you get the most clicks.

You can extract results in excel sheets and compare them every month to make sure your numbers are heading in the right direction.

Conclusion

Just like most processes, data collection, validation and analysis will take some time to master. It might feel like you are turning into a Private Investigator. You might have to experiment with a couple of different analytics tools, and it might take some trial and error before you are certain that you are collecting relevant data.

However it is a fundamental tool for your company’s success.

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