12 questions to ask when collecting customer data

12 questions to ask when collecting customer data

by Joe Shara on 1/12/2018

Updated at 27/01/2023

Do I Need to Collect Data from my Customers?

Collecting data from customers is an important marketing strategy since it gives you information on what customers exactly want instead of basing your marketing on what you think they want. Data can be collected using several sources like social media, emails site usage, purchases, and feedback. Collection of customer’s data helps in improving the marketing of products and services. Use of a survey or a questionnaire to customers asking them of their preferences provides a way of improving and also to determine which channels work best. 

Customers prefer personalization when it comes to marketing, and they will be happy to exchange their information for improved marketing. They will also be ready to give their information if they are offered some form of benefits in return. If the majority of your customers are located in one area, data collection will be accessible as compared to where customers are scattered. Scattered customers call for the use of different channels to reach them. Data about customers residential should be collected and analyzed. Knowledge about customers makes it easy to reach them. Data should be collected regularly as customers are constantly changing and what they loved two years ago isn’t what they want today. Use of data collected many years ago may lead to the provision of outdated services which may not fulfill the need of customers. It is hard to get new customers compared to retaining the ones you already have, you, therefore, need to collect data regularly to continue marketing to your existing customers. Data collected from various sources should be brought together and prepared for analysis. The data is therefore used to create a website and marketing strategy that addresses customers in a way that makes them feel comfortable with your services.

What Types of Data Should I Collect and Why?

The following data types will help in better understanding of customer’s problems and opportunities.

Descriptive Data

This includes a person’s characteristic such as age, income, gender, race, and preference for services and technology. It helps in the collection of meaningful demographic data classifying people for statistical purposes. Collection of data in this type is done through the use of surveys, purchases, and interviews.

Behavioral Data

These are the behaviors that customers display while using a service or product. It includes the use of different devices like phones, laptops, and tablets in making purchases or browsing for products.

Interaction Data

This type of data includes all the browsing activities in software which collects data using google analytics and A/B testing. It also includes the navigation paths and clicks found in a website.

Attitudinal Data

This a type of data collected to measure the importance placed by a customer on service and provides information on customers likes and dislikes. Data is usually collected through surveys and measures the customer satisfaction and feeling towards a service or a product.

Why Data Should Be Collected

It aids in research for answers and resolutions through the information collected. Data collected enhances better decision making in the provision of improved and quality services and products. Data collection improves the business expected output. Data collection methods will help to ensure the accuracy and integrity of data collected. The methods of data collection help in ensuring that data collected is accurate.

What are the Best Ways to Collect Customer Data?

Customer feedback surveys

Customers are asked potential questions one at a time in order to fulfill a business end goals. It makes use of open-ended questions which should be constructed smartly and should avoid loading questions. The web should allow a survey to appear onscreen when a customer browses your site.

Use of Emails

An email is a way of exchanging information using electronic devices like tablets, phones, and laptops. Emails require connection to webmail or mail server to send or receive messages. A business can use emails to reach their customers and also to gather feedback from them. For an email to be valid, the business should ensure that the response is fast and the customer feedback system is organized.

Usability Tests

It is a customer-centered interaction used to evaluate a product by testing it on customers. It tests the customer's ease of use of a product or a service in order to adjust where necessary. Usability tests give direct input on how customers use the system.

Exploratory Customer Interviews

This the type of interview where feedback is got directly from the customers concerning a product or a service. It enhances a better understanding of customers as one talks to them directly. The business should inquire about customer’s habits and also focus on their attitude.

Social Media

These are internet based technologies facilitating the sharing of information among people. It can help in collecting information from customers through direct comments or mentions made. Some social networks like Facebook conduct quick polls which provide immediate feedback.

Instant Customer Feedback from your Website

This can be done by creating a popup displaying a simple survey on your site, creating a feedback button where you can offer incentives and use of live chats. The feedback gained helped the development of services.

What are the Best Tools to Collect Customer Data?


CRM is a company or business approach used to manage its interaction with customers. It uses the analyzed data about customers in order to improve customer’s relationship with the business. Customer relationship management can compile data from different sources like emails, company’s website, and live chat. It determines the business strengths and weaknesses through analysis of customer’s data.

Customer business software

Customer business software is a combination of solutions, workflow, and processes that that goes into managing the customer’s relationship. The software can improve communication with customers and build a more meaningful, personal and productive relationship with them.

What Types of Transactional Data Should I Collect and Why?

Transactional data are information directly derived as a result of the transaction. It contains order information, each time an order is created, modified or deleted, the content type must be updated to reflect the new changes. It helps to determine demand.

Order line status data Type-It includes details in E-COM orders.

Transaction log data type-it captures the transactional sales history, used to determine demand.

Inventory availability data type used to compute inventory performance cost, including estimating key factors like weeks of supply.

Markdown candidate data type –it is used in computing inventory performance cost, including estimating the chance an item will stock out before its end date.

How Should I Organize and Store it?

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Data organization helps in saving time and preventing errors which might occur. The data may be organized through;

Naming and organizing files

Files should be named logically and consistently for easy location and use well-organized files will save you time and frustrations by helping you find what you need when you need it. Organizing of files may require one to use folders, adhere to existing procedure, naming folders appropriately, being consistent, backup, review records and structuring folders hierarchically.

Documentation and metadata

Documentation encompasses all the information necessary to interpret, understand and use a given set of documents. Metadata is data about data usually embedded in the data files themselves interchangeably. This helps in understanding your data and ensuring that others may find, use and adequately cite your data.

Managing References

It is vital to take precise notes about your sources to prevent reconstruction of citations at the end. Reference citation software helps in keeping track as you work and partially automates the process of constructing bibliographies when it is time to publish.

Organizing Email

Emails should be organised in specific folders for natural retrieving of information. Without proper control, email can be deleted by mistake. In order to ensure emails are well organized in long-term, one should delete emails not needed, use folders to store messages, separate personal emails and separate the use of attachments.

Privacy & Security Matters. How can I Protect my Customers?

Consider destroying data once you have used it

Once you are done with customer personal data, you should get rid of it in order to reinforce customer’s confidence about your transparency and privacy measures. It also prevents information from landing in the wrong hands.

Make customer privacy everyone’s business

A security program and policy should be put in place, and everyone in the organization should be aware of it and adhere to it. This ensures everyone in the organization respects the customer’s privacy.

Let customers know their information is safe

Customers should be made aware of what one is precisely doing to make their information safe. Be straight to the point instead of using intricate details for easy understanding and time saving when it comes to reading.

Collect only What is Necessary

Collection of unnecessary data leads to wastage of time, energy, resources and provides a larger cache for cyber hackers to target. It also makes some customers nervous about why you need all that information. Not all people in the business should see the customer’s personal information. The more the people with customers the higher the chances for hackers to strike the weak points.

Respecting the Law; How Can I be Sure What I am Doing is Legal?

Know the rules and regulations

Before collecting any customer information, one should understand all the rules governing data collection in order to stay compliant. Government is coming up with strict data regulations used to inform individuals how their data is being used. The regulations help in changing how business uses customer data.

Put security measures in place

When holding to customer data, you need to ensure that you kept it secure and protected from leaks. Information can be protected through technical ways by the use of SSL encryption which ensures that the connection between your website and the user’s browser is secure.

Should I Sell my Customer’s Information to Third Party Marketers?

One can sell customers information to third parties marketers for direct marketing. It is important for businesses to review their terms and conditions in the case where they pass customer details. The business should provide the customers with clear information on how their data will be used and who it will be shared with. Where a breach of data protection act occurs, anyone who is affected has a right to compensation for any distress caused. Customer’s information should be treated with respect and giving considerations on how best it can be protected.

What’s the Best Way to Benefit from the Customer Data that I Collect?

Improving Customer Experience

Customers data gives a better understanding of what customers need and thus can be used to meet their demand. Analysis of customer’s data enhances a better understanding of customer’s behaviors and can be used to modify the goods and services that they require most.

Refining Marketing Strategy

Customer data gives a business a clear understanding on how customers are responding to their services and adjusts where necessary. The business gets an idea of what the customers need about what they already have.

Using Data to Secure Data

Customer data can be used in securing a more sensitive data in order to protect it from theft or hacking.

What are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?

Seeking answers only to confirm your opinions

A business should avoid confirmation bias where one seeks answers that align with their thoughts and opinions. The question should be in such a way that you are trying to learn from customers but not convincing yourself or others that you are correct.

Asking for Too Much Time or Input

One should avoid too many questions and asking questions that take too much time and effort to answer. Try keeping your feedback forms brief in order to save time.

Speaking in jargon

Use of a complicated language, acronyms, and abbreviated terms may confuse customers. This can also change the way the way they perceive what you are asking.

Contact Us

For more information and advice on the ways of effective data collection please contact our web agency. We run the best web agency in Montreal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1- Descriptive data 2- Behavioral data 3- Interaction data 4- Attitudinal data

- Customer feedback surveys - Email usage - Usability testing - Exploratory interviews with customers - Social media - Instant customer feedback from your website

- Remember to destroy data once you have used it - Make customer privacy everyone's business - Let customers know that their information is safe - Collect only what is necessary

1- To improve the customer experience 2- Refine marketing strategy 3- Use data to secure data

Joe Shara

Joe Shara is a in-house journalist and Oshara editor. Tech savvy guy who follows all the latest web & digital developments. Loves cats and complex coding problems.

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