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How to gather data without inconveniencing your customer: 8 clever ways


This guide outlines how to gather data in ways that will not deter your clients. A common way of gathering useful data is to survey your current customers. Surveys offer a convenient way for people to provide feedback. However, they may also be an annoyance that strains your customer relationships. Don’t rely heavily on your customers to tell you what to do. Instead, try a few less conspicuous, more valuable ways for how to gather data.

How to gather data: 5 smart ways

1. Smart social media management

You don’t have to stalk your customers’ social accounts for how to gather data to gain valuable insight into their buying behavior and relationship with your business. Use a social media management dashboard to monitor mentions and interactions across social channels. This streamlines the process of interacting with customers who have something to say about your business. Not only will you build a positive reputation via public interactions, but you can glean valuable feedback without asking for it. Be sure to track metrics, such as engagement and conversions generated via social media channels.

2. Meme-ify

You can get useful data from your customers by encouraging them to do something fun, such as creating a meme with their own picture, plus your brand text or logo. You can ask people to do a silly pose with your product and post to Instagram, but you must ask for information as well for how to gather data. For example, “Take a pic in your favorite place to use our product. #MyFavePlace. The most unique location wins a fabulous prize!” You’ll encourage engagement, market your company, and gain insight into where and how your products are really being used. This is how you get survey answers without wasting your customers’ time on a survey.

3. Insights

The advertising tools included with some social media can provide you with helpful data your customers don’t even realize they’re providing. Insights from Facebook and Twitter give you segmentation options that can be invaluable. You’ll be able to narrow down the interests, lifestyle information, and demographics of your followers on social media. Insights can even show you purchase behavior for your target audience, so you can see which purchases they’re most likely to make. The primary purpose is to help you more accurately target your advertising campaigns on those channels, but you can also use the data to help you improve buyer personas, email campaigns, and landing pages.

4. Exit rates

Businesses with ecommerce must leverage their website traffic data for how to gather data to understand customer buying behavior. A vitally important piece of the puzzle is exit rates for each page on your site. If you find a particular page has a significantly higher exit rate than others, check into it. Is there something about that page sending your potential customers packing? Combine this data with a heatmap to gain further insight. If something is missing, overpriced, incorrectly described, or has a mismatched image, you’ll be able to address it right away.

5. Market basket analysis

Of course, you can use a customer’s purchase history to predict their future purchases for how to gather data. Applying market basket analysis lets you use other customers’ whole purchases to predict those of their peers and to create cross-sell opportunities. Whether you choose to use software on your ecommerce site or you keep track of purchases in your brick-and-mortar shop, you can see which items a person purchases together to offer them to the next customer who shows interest in one of those same items. For example, if many customers buy chicken soup and boxes of tissues together, you can place those items together in the store. shows you “Frequently Bought Together” and “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” suggestions on single product pages across their entire site.

6. Through loyalty programs

Loyalty programs don’t just have to be good for customers. They can – and they should! – be useful to you too. In this sense, one of the functions of loyalty programs can be to collect customer data. You can, for example, offer extra points in exchange for information you want to know. For this, you can use the loyalty program’s own platform, contacts via phone, emails or even in the store. Find what works best for your audience and for you, and enjoy!

7. Analyzing email marketing system information

Do you already have a comprehensive list containing the names and email addresses of your customers? If not, start doing it now. After all, e-mail is the most used and appropriate channel to collect customer data. If you already have this list, how about starting to send messages to customers asking about their preferences?

Find out if they want to learn more about sales, if they’re interested in new products or events, what kind of content interests them – guides, community news, profiles of other professionals – and so on.

8. With the help of your customer service center

The best opportunity to collect data from customers is when the contact is made precisely by them. That is, through its customer service center. In this sense, it is essential that you train your sellers to take advantage of these contacts to find out more about who buys in your store. A question-based script can be very helpful for this. You can include questions such as what they like and don’t like, how they discovered your store, what they are thinking of your product and service, and so on.

After completing the questions, keep a record of each customer’s responses. That way, you’ll know exactly when that customer bought, what went right and what went wrong, and so on. After all, comments and complaints indicate best practices that should be repeated and what should be avoided during customer service and also in the sales process.


Asking your customers for their feedback is probably the most straight-forward method of data collection, but generosity has its limits. Rather than take up your customers’ precious time in how to gather data, rely on other methods of data collection for the bulk of your information and keep the surveys to a minimum.

About Megan Totka

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web.

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