Big Data in a Small Shop

Four ways to react to client insights

So, if you have read any business journal, blog, or magazine in the last year you’ve heard ad-naseum about the power of Big Data. Combing through the digital exhaust that all consumers produce to better understand their preferences and habits can produce big dividends to big companies who have big data (notice the trend here?). But what if you are a small shop? You can’t pay MBAs and Quants to comb through your data to produce insights and most likely – you don’t have the mountains of data to pore through anyway. But, I’m here to say that Big Data is simply a way for a large company to feel like a small one. Your small business has the advantage!

Big Data is simply about responding to client behavior. It’s just that the huge companies have to hire those big guns to get down to knowing the client behavior before they respond to it. But your small business can gain that client knowledge without the technical know-how and the sterility that can come from a numbers-only approach like Target recently used to predict when their shoppers are pregnant.

So, ask what your clients think about you. Then be flexible, and most importantly, do something about what you hear! Here are four ways to how to ask clients what they would like more of:

  • Add comment boxes on order forms (both online and offline). If you’ve got the space, add some open ended prompts to get them writing. Be creative and write like a human because you are one (and so are your readers!).
  • Ask your best clients what it would take for them to leave you for your competition. That will show your their sensitivity points and give you some target areas to focus on.
  • Write thank you notes for business are simple and effective. Send a thank you note with a brief survey with plenty of open-ended questions and offer a thank you gift when they return it.
  • Engage with your clients via Twitter. This is a no-brainer to get with your most influential clients and just have a conversation with them on why they are your brand champions.

A company who views their client as a number has nothing on a small business owner who truly cares about his or her clients. There is no better way to show that you care than to heed their desires and innovate new products and services to meet their needs inside of the relationship they already have with your business.

This is a guest post by Jason Cobb. Contact Jason today to boost your brand and grow your sales via effective social and web marketing.