Customer data can provide valuable insights necessary for making key business decisions. You can understand customer needs better, identify your business strengths and weaknesses, and even make valuable connections with quality customer data. While data collection is crucial for smart decision-making, the risk of data loss and security breaches exists and can have a devastating impact on your business.

Additionally, you should comply with data privacy laws and regulations like GDPR that determine how you collect and use customer data. Read on for tips on collecting customer data securely to ensure you protect your customer’s sensitive information while remaining compliant with relevant laws.

Methods of Collecting Customer Data

There are numerous ways to acquire valuable customer data. Whether you want to gauge customer satisfaction or are creating a contact list for email marketing purposes, below are ways you can get the information you need.

  • Google review links: If you are looking for customer review data, create a Google review link and let your customers provide feedback about your products or services on Google.
  • Surveys:  You can conduct surveys through the phone, via texts, or through a web form and ask your clients specific questions depending on your subject of interest.
  • Social media: Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are excellent venues to learn about your clients and monitor customer behavior.
  • Web tracking. Tracking your website traffic with tools like Google Analytics can tell you a lot about your visitors. Some of the data you can obtain include how your visitors got to the website, how long they stayed, and the pages they visited. You can know whether your website traffic turned into conversions by buying or subscribing to your mailing list.

Tips for Collecting Customer Data Securely

You can implement the following measures when collecting customer data to make the process efficient and secure.

1. Prioritize Data Safety through Encryption and Authentication

While it might seem like a no-brainer, most businesses do not encrypt the data they collect. The lack of protection makes it vulnerable to security breaches both in transit and storage. Encrypting the data you collect from your customers makes it unreadable and useless to unauthorized parties. Encrypt your files, folders as well as data storage devices for safety.

Besides encryption, you can ensure only authorized individuals access customer data after authentication through SAML and LPAD. Also, implement privacy policies and make them accessible to your staff. Lastly, train your staff to handle customer data securely and maintain its integrity.

2. Collect Only the Data You Need

Up to 70% of data that businesses collect is unused. Having large amounts of irrelevant data is overwhelming. It can also be a distraction to your management when making important decisions.

To safely collect customer data, set your priorities right by deciding which customer data is the most important and how it relates to your business goals. Also, figure out how to analyze the data. Avoid collecting or retaining information unless it’s necessary. When you minimize the data you collect, you boost customer confidence and reduce data’s external value, making it less valuable to hackers.

3. Practice Ethical Data Collection

It can be difficult to obtain customer data, especially when you don’t disclose what the data is for or provide reassurance of confidentiality and privacy. For efficient and secure data collection, ethics is crucial. With this in mind, always ask for consent before collecting customer data and be transparent about how your business will use the data.

Also, give your customers the choice to decide on the information to share. As part of ethical data collection, be sure to safeguard the customer’s privacy and avoid harm to the client during the data collection process.

4. Back Up Your Data

You have to back up the data you collect for easy retrieval in case of data loss, natural disasters, IT failures, or cyber-attacks. Ensure that your business has a reliable data backup and recovery plan to avoid losing customer data permanently. You can back up your data in hardware servers, the cloud, or software. Backing up your data facilitates easy retrieval and promotes business continuity in case of a disaster.

Whether you collect customer review data or are aiming to create an email list for marketing purposes, data security and privacy are crucial. The above tips can help you obtain customer data securely, stay compliant with existing data protection laws and regulations, and earn your customers’ trust.