8 methods for collecting customer data and how to use it

When you know more about your customers, you can provide the best possible experience at all times. It sounds simple enough, but gathering the right kind of customer data requires tact and understanding from your agents of what kind of information is valuable to the company as a whole.

When you ask the right questions and consider what kind of customer data to collect along the customer journey, it can help your team improve customer profiles as well as build stronger relationships.

Let's take a look at eight ways to collect customer data, as well as some specific and actionable ways of using it effectively.

Disclaimer

There are strict regulations on the collection, storage and usage of customer data. Your team needs to ensure that every piece of information they collect is in line with current privacy laws such as the CAN-SPAM Act and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

These regulations create a framework for how to manage the customer data your company has and help verify the privacy of your customers.

Following these guidelines, as well as others that may be applicable to your specific country or market, helps build trust between customer and company and ensures that customer information is kept safe and secure at all times.

1. When they sign up for a newsletter

Newsletter signups are a great opportunity to capture customer email addresses early on. It's a tried-and-true method that people understand and expect. You can also ask for their name at this point as well, but it could deter some customers who are not comfortable supplying that information.

Use this information to add customers to an email nurture campaign. It's a natural way to start your lifecycle email series and provide customers with personalized content that moves them closer to making a purchase.

personalization benefits salescycle

The benefits of personalization via SalesCycle.

Using personalization, even if it's only the customer name, has a positive effect on the customer's perception of your company in a number of different ways.

2. Through additional forms and surveys

As your customer moves along the customer journey, you can easily ask them for additional information. They'll be more likely to trust your company and more willing to answer personal questions. Surveys are also a perfect opportunity to collect valuable customer feedback, which you can use to build a better product and better training programs.

This data is going to help segment your customers. With segmentation, you can boost the effectiveness of outreach as well as help your team identify different types of customers they'll encounter day to day.

data segmentation undraw

Segmenting with data via unDraw.

Segmenting your customer base also helps you personalize the experience even further. It helps your team identify the specific needs of any customer and tailor their interaction accordingly.

3. In exchange for downloadable assets

When you combine a signup form with an offer like an in-depth report or access to a webinar, it will give your customers a reason to provide additional data. This content is also great at any point along the customer journey, as you can tailor questions to fill in missing data points in a customer profile.

Think this as your opportunity to ask more direct questions as well. If the report refers to a product, you can ask for specific feedback on how the customer uses it, any issues they've had or why it interests them.

customer support group

Your customers will all have different experiences and different answers, and this is a great opportunity to find out more about their specific expectations.

4. During account signup

Once a customer has decided to purchase your product, you have the ability to gather additional information. Leverage your order process to capture more data about their location as well as qualitative feedback on their experiences with your company. Just remember that the personally identifying customer data you collect needs to be kept safe and secure at all times.

Now's the time for you to complete a more comprehensive customer profile. With their order information and sign up form/survey data, you can create a big picture persona of that customer.

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These customer profiles are going to be the basis of all future interactions with the customer and are a great base on which to build your growing relationship.

5. Finding customers on social media

When you're a part of the same conversations, you can more easily provide customers with solutions that meet their needs. As you're building customer profiles, ask for any relevant social media profiles. This helps you build a more comprehensive picture of the customer and their broader interests. Think of it as a way to reinforce your relationships while also tracking customer sentiment.

This is also your chance to see how customers interact with other brands and competitors. Social media support is an important aspect of any contact center. If you're not listening to customers on social media, you could be missing out on important conversations.

social media customer service adexpresso

Social media customer service stats via AdEspresso.

More and more, your customers will go to social media to voice their concerns. That can amplify one bad experience to a much larger audience and potentially hurt your brand.

6. Asking for it during customer service interactions

Your agents are talking with the customer every day. They can see changes in customer mood, behavior or overall sentiment faster than any one profile. Make sure your team is filling in the gaps of your customer data at every chance they get; agents can ask for additional information as well as validate current information during interactions.

Validation is most important. Whether it's their credit card, current address or long-term goals, the more up-to-date your customer data is, the more valuable it becomes.

customer support group

Use this information to build more robust customer profiles, as well as to add interesting facts about the customer. This helps you personalize their experience and build loyalty.

7. During signup for a loyalty program

When your customers are loyal, they'll stick around longer; it's one of the tenets of a good retention strategy. Giving customers the opportunity to earn something from your company as a part of this process is a great way to ask for additional customer data. When a customer signs up for a loyalty program, you can ask them about experiences with your product and customer service team, as well as their general feelings towards your company.

This will help you optimize their experience as well as improve the experience of other customers. When you see common threads appear in the data from loyal customers, you can better understand what's working.

loyalty program entrepreneur

Benefits of a loyalty program via Entrepreneur.

For example, if a member of your loyalty program speaks highly of a certain feature, you might want to find ways to make it the centerpiece of a new marketing campaign.

8. Using Google Analytics on your website

There are lots of different analytics programs available, but the biggest one by far is Google Analytics. Google Analytics collects a lot of data around visitor interaction with your website. There is a myriad of different ways to leverage this customer data through cookies, tracking pixels and much more. It's one of the best ways to collect customer data about your website and website visitors.

You can use this data to optimize the website experience, gain insight into where bottlenecks may occur in onboarding and see how customers interact with your brand online.

audience overview neil patel

Audience overview example via Neil Patel.

When you understand how customers navigate your site, where they get stuck or where they bypass important information, your team can easily help those customers find exactly what they're looking for.

Your customer database should grow over time

When you're collecting the right kind of customer data at specific points along the customer journey, it gives your team a path to better understanding the customer. Use this to build better customer profiles and craft an experience that delights and builds trust with the customer.