Understanding Your Customers

The first stage is the easiest – collecting the raw data.

The priority should be to capture the information you need to identify your customers and categorise their behaviour. Those businesses with a website and online customer service have an advantage here – customers can enter and maintain their own details when they buy, so reducing data entry and error.

E-mailed or online customer surveys are another good way to gather data about customer likes and dislikes. Offering a prize or other incentive can be very successful at raising the response rate. Similarly, focus groups or account reviews with important customers can yield tremendously valuable information about how customers view your business and products or services.

What Everyman did…

What complicates this stage is that most businesses aren’t able to start from scratch. Most already have some IT systems and customer databases in place. For example, prior to the introduction of the marketing system, the Everyman Theatre was using the ticketing system “Databox” from Ticket.com. It also maintained a separate list of people and groups interested in specific shows who could be sent information individually by e-mail. This meant, although the business had plenty of valuable raw data, it was missing sales opportunities.

Published by the Department of Trade and Industry. www.dti.gov.uk
© Crown Copyright. URN 04/1724; 10/04

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