Data isn’t a new thing, and data analysis isn’t a new concept, yet “data” seems to be quite the buzzword these days. According to a recent study by IDC, the digital universe – the data we create and copy annually – is doubling in size every two years, and by 2020 it will reach 44 zettabytes, or 44 trillion gigabytes. That’s a lot of data! What are businesses suppose to do with all of that information?
While the collection and analyzation of big data is becoming a huge challenge (and opportunity) for large enterprises, it will take some time to be readily available to small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). While waiting for big data retrieval to become more available, SMBs should be focused on collecting relevant data; data that can directly influence customer service and business operations, on a budget. Collecting relevant data enables SMBs to narrow in on specific operations and adjust them according to the numbers, which is a much safer bet than simply going with your gut. Here are some forms of data that SMBs can easily access, analyze, and afford:
1. Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and all the other social networks are, first and foremost, data platforms. They enable the collection of specific consumer insights and allow distribution of tailored content, which can be promoted to target more of your audience if you have the budget. SMBs can use data pulled from social media to discover what their customer’s preferences and likes are, and create long-lasting relationships with them. There are several affordable or free social media management platforms available to SMBs, including Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
2. Google Analytics
Whether you want a bird’s eye view of what your online customers are doing, or a fully detailed report, Google Analytics is the tool to use for detailed traffic tracking. This software tells you everything you need to know about your online visitors, including: how many you have, what drew them to your site, what pages they like/don’t like, what devices they are browsing on, and much more- all important information. The best part about Google Analytics is, it’s free! Check out the Small Business Guide to Google Analytics to get started.
3. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
A survey by Capterra reports CRM (customer relationship management) software is now the fastest growing business software product out there — and offers myriad benefits for companies of all sizes. SMBs can use CRM software during the sales process to track customers from the moment they become leads to the time they make a purchase, and beyond. This software enables all of your employees who interact with customers to easily access their data, making sales calls more productive and less time consuming. Post-sale, a CRM can even keep track of follow-up conversations, emails, problems and solutions, as well as pricing, contracts, and more. Also, choosing a business phone system that offers CRM integration allows you to have instant access to customer data when they call in.
4. Communications Data: Your Business Phone System
Consumer Reports National Research Center recently conducted a survey to identify the top customer service complaints consumers had in the past year. The vast majority of complaints dealt with interactions over the phone, and included: not being able to reach someone (75%), being transferred to the wrong person (71%), and long hold-time (66%). The data within your business phone system is an often untapped resource, mainly because majority of SMBs don’t have phone systems that offer detailed reporting and advanced features. Digium’s Switchvox provides call logs that give you every step of every call, allowing you to track call patterns and address inconsistencies among customer interactions. You’ll know if a call was transferred, put in a queue, who dialed, and why that call hung up.
To learn how communications data can lead to increased revenue and customer success for your SMB,