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How Data Collection Brings You Closer to Your Customers

June 20, 2017  |  Written by Mark Reynolds, VP, Customer Operations

Businesses of all sizes today are turning to data to give them an advantage over their competition. With data centers and much of their architectures becoming increasingly virtualized, it’s becoming less demanding of businesses’ time and resources to take the plunge and take advantage of data collection and storage products. But, with all the talk of the many benefits of data centers and colocation, it’s helpful to remember why there are so many benefits.

Perhaps the primary reason data collection is so valuable for businesses of all kinds right now is that, no matter what kind of product or service you are selling, it helps bring you closer to your customers and acquire a more in-depth understanding of who they are. Here are a few different types of data you can collect and how they can benefit your relationship with existing and future customers.

Demographics. No matter what you sell, you will have customers that fit within multiple demographics that regularly purchase your product or could be future buyers. Gathering information about these demographics (where they’re from, how old they are, etc.) can help you tailor your marketing messages, mediums, and even your product and service itself. 

Real-time activity. Surveys and polls are a good way to find out how your customer feels about a specific topic, but analyzing their behaviors can also tell you a lot. Where they click on your site and how long they stay, for instance, can tell you about their desires and motivations, as well as about how well your website functions. The same is true for social media, where you can use metrics to determine which posts are hitting home with your audience.

Transaction history. Today, it’s hard to imagine not being inundated with product recommendations (generally in the form of re-targeted ads) every time we use the internet. But without the websites you browse and buy from collecting and analyzing your transaction history, those recommendations wouldn’t be possible. The insights that companies can gain from seeing what customers bought, what they abandoned in the cart, and what else they looked at during that visit are truly invaluable when it comes to knowing your customer on a deeper level and creating a lasting bond with them.

Privacy concerns. While many companies want to dive into data collection head first, and for good reason, there are also privacy concerns that should make them take pause. If you decide to collect customer data, you need to establish a company privacy policy and make it public. Most companies decide the wisest choice is to create a policy that mirrors the Federal Trade Commission’s Fair Information Practice Principles. When you think about data collection, take a step back and remember that the end goal is really to create a closer bond between customer and company. Don’t do anything shady with your data collection practices that might put that relationship in jeopardy.

Security=Trust. If you want to help customers feel closer to your brand, one of the best things you can do is provide them a secure experience. Especially in today’s climate of increasingly savvy cybercriminals and widespread cyberattacks that primarily target enterprises, it’s tough to overstate the importance of ensuring the security of your data collection and digital assets. There are a number of things you can do to take a proactive approach to security and gain your customer’s trust.

There’s no doubt that the power and insights available via data collection, analysis, and storage have eclipsed what just about anyone could have imagined ten years ago. But, companies of all industries and sizes are realizing they have something to gain by collecting data about their customers. At the same time, they may also have something to lose if they choose not to and see their market share gobbled up by a savvier competitor, or – even worse - if they choose a solution that lacks the necessary security, causing your data to be released to the world. If you’re interested in discovering more about how you can future-proof your company’s IT architecture for private, secure, high throughput, low latency data collection, learn about Digital Realty’s Service Exchange platform.

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