I was with our largest client today going over a system that we implemented for them earlier this year that has changed the way they manage their customers. While it’s one thing to have a complex system like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) as part of your business it’s another to actually utilize the data to your advantage.
One of the staff members from this client said to me after I showed him the data available to him was: “Wow! I can’t wait to show my boss these reports.” The point being here is that he never knew what he had at his finger tips since he had never been introduced to any kind of data analysis let alone the old fashioned slicing and dicing of data in Excel.
So what are you doing in your business to understand what is going on with your customers and your business in general? This client of mine realized he could run daily reports that told him exactly how many people came through their shop while also being to tell his superiors the exact cost of having to serve those customers.
So what can you do to start collecting intelligence on your customers?
- Identify sources in your business that contains data. This can be anything such as Quickbooks, mailing lists, quotes/estimates or if you’ve already purchased a CRM that is golden as well.
- What are your key performance indicators (KPI’s)? Ask yourself what makes your business tick at the end of the day. When you look at a report what will tell you whether or not you were successful?
- See if the data you found in Step 1 can actually tell you about your KPI’s and if those data sources cannot tell you what you need to know then you may need to find a better way to track this.
So while I say a better way to track things, let me clarify. Don’t start tracking something for the sake of tracking it. We call this “make work” projects and they are typically boring and discourage the person actually tracking them to produce anything substantial.
So let’s say your KPI is Number of Customer Visits Per Day. I’ve seen people simply use their receptionist to tick off on a piece of paper each time someone can in the door. I’ve seen others actually ask the person their name and record it in their database if it wasn’t already there. Either way you’ve found a way to get this data.
You can’t tell me that gross revenue is your KPI. That is definitely a 30,000 view from the air KPI but it isn’t going to help you target marketing efforts or to find out whether or not something is working in your business. Customer Satisfaction scores could be a KPI for you and all you need to do that are surveys.
I’ve gone on a bit of a tangent on data from what business people don’t know they have to determining KPI’s for your business but at the end of the day there is plenty of data that can be translated into meaningful reports available to you.
I will leave this post with this comment: A good friend of mine was explaining to me years ago how important key performance indicators are. He said the businesses that focus on a KPI of revenue will end up being a very cash focused business and may see a dip in customer service. Whereas a business with a blend of customer satisfaction which becomes an integral part of reaching the revenue target becomes the central focus because your business will be growing quicker than the one that focuses on revenue. Why? It’s simple. You treat your customers like king’s and queen’s and they will tell their friends therefore bringing in higher referrals. Why do you think small businesses have such a high rate of referrals? It’s because they still focus on customer satisfaction rather than just revenue.