The more you know about your customers and their needs, the easier it is to sell to them and target them with appropriate offers. You can use the information you know about them to improve your business' efficiency and customer service by providing personalised treatment.
The right information will let you build up a useful profile of your customers. This typically includes:
- who they are - the age and gender of individual consumers, or industry and business size for corporate customers
- what they think and believe, what interests them, and their opinion of you and your product
- their purchasing behaviour - which products they buy, where and when they buy them, and how they pay
Profiling your customers in this way helps you group them into different segments, each of which can be approached separately.
Gathering customer information
There are a number of ways that you can gather this information on your customers. For example using customer surveys, or if you sell online, using your website to capture information automatically. Read more about market research and market reports and measuring your online marketing.
If you have just a few important customers, it's worth getting more detailed feedback from them. Keeping a central record of customer details and sales in a customer database reduces errors and speeds up transactions, while making it easier to identify and resolve any problems. See manage your customer database and customer relationship management.
You can use specific IT software to help you collect and analyse your data. For example, linking customer records to your accounting system makes it easier to see how profitable different customers are.
Linking customer management to buying can also improve profitability.
You must make sure that you meet data protection rules for any personal information on existing and potential customers that you collect, keep or use. There are also specific rules for e-commerce. See comply with data protection legislation.