The Importance of Data
Data is the driver of so much in this day and age but businesses often struggle to know where to start with data collection, management and usage. Done well, it leads to significant increases in revenue, profit and customer retention. Let’s take a look at some examples of where data can make a big difference to a small business.
A customer brings their car in to a small local garage for 2 new tyres because they have seen a deal advertised in the local paper which is what they typically rely on for generating business but its low margin being so competitive.
When will that garage contact that customer next and about what? Often the answer is never because the data that will drive contact with that customer has not been captured anywhere electronically. For example, capturing when is their MOT and service is next due along with a mobile number and email address (customer name and address are a given!) would allow them to go for that work when the time comes and in a cost effective manner by text / email (or mail). Collecting this simple data allows that garage to better influence that customer’s decision on where to get the work done therefore increasing their revenue and profit, meaning their advertisement to capture new customers generates so much more than just one job.
I was recently talking to a friend that runs gardening business and he said he was doing another flyer drop in the local area, he said his work had dried up. I asked him about the customers he had done work for in the past and when he last spoke to them about whether they would like any work doing. The challenge was, he had very little data. He had some names and phone numbers in his mobile amongst all his other contacts but couldn’t show me a list of customers, what work he had done for them and when. Keeping a simple spreadsheet or even paper diary with a record of each job carried out, for which customer and the date, perhaps with the cost of the work would have made the world of difference to him. It would have allowed him to generate work from an existing customer base by targeting those that had work this time last year or had not had any work done for a while rather than having to go for new customers which is costly and time consuming.
Top 10 Tips
- Make some time to decide what data will be of use to you e.g. last job date, next contact date
- Don’t put it off – the sooner you start capturing data it the sooner you can use it to your advantage
- Review any existing data capture processes what quantity and quality of data are your staff capturing
- Measure success regularly daily, weekly or monthly
- Set out a plan for how and when you will contact current customers, previous customers and prospective customers
- Ensure data you capture allows you to follow the plan
- Follow through on the plan and measure success
- Find a method that keeps it simple manual diary, spreadsheet, other software.
- There are lots of very cost effective and sometimes free solutions which are ready made, search the internet
- Get some help if it all seems too much.