Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Companies are awash in information, but many do not have effective ways of sorting it or making sense of it. In fact, it's common for business owners and managers to be unaware of just how much data is actually at their fingertips. This causes a wide variety of opportunities to pass by unnoticed, and in some cases, a missed opportunity could represent a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
Isn't it worth paying more attention to harnessing information?
Information comes into companies in many ways. Here are three channels that are surely collecting actionable information right now:
Order Fulfillment Operations
The fulfillment department's job is to know who bought what, when they did so, and when and where the product or service is to be delivered. The trends your fulfillment department sees every day is more than just fun to talk about around the water cooler. It can provide crucial guidance for personalizing offers, running sales, and setting up geo-targeted campaigns.
Your customer service department is the leading edge for gathering customer intelligence. The most basic way to gather information from this department is to have service representatives log the topics of each contact. For example, if someone calls in to complain that his GreatItem450 isn't so great because it’s switch broke after 10 uses, your team can do much more than offer a refund. By systematically recording which product was defective, what the defect was, how long it lasted, and other relevant facts, your service team can become a key generator of trend information that could reshape your business for the better.
If you haven’t already, transform your customer service department to optimize the great customer data it collects with every interaction. Record who contacted the company for service, the basic type of problem or query the person had, and the ease of resolving the issue. With proper analysis, it'll be easy to spot things like problems with product documentation, timeliness of service personnel, and more. Your customer service team knows this stuff cold already, but collecting the data in an organized way is essential for passing it on to those whose job it is to make needed changes.
Besides selling, your sales team is also a great collector of many types of information. Some of the most interesting to your company will be the things that customers wish they could buy but haven't been able to find. People will often make offhand remarks to salespeople about dream features that seem pie-in-the-sky at the time, but thanks to today's fast development cycles, may not be as ridiculous as they first appear. Empowered sales teams can log these ideas and the frequency of their recurrence. Regular cross-team reviews of these entries can expose them to your product development gurus and help you discover your next hit product.
Beyond your product or services, sales personnel are also exposed to great information that can help transform your business, like the types of financing customers need to make their purchases easier. When the sales team records these preferences, especially when the customers' first-choice options aren't available, they enable your finance team to analyze current options for whether they are meeting people's needs or if sales are being lost due to limited finance options.
These three data channels, order fulfillment, customer service and sales, are vital sources for ideation and innovation. Organizing and paying attention to these data streams will help your business spot opportunities, fix problems, and close more sales. With our service, you'll be able to take data use far beyond this level. We help our clients harness information and find opportunities where none seemed to be present before. Contact us today to learn more and get started on using your company's data to its fullest.