Four customer data categories and how to use them

October 20, 2021 | 3 minute read
Dave Stark
Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX
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customer dataCustomer data is powerful.

It can help you find your ideal customers and guide market segmentation to ensure you’re reaching the right people. It reveals insights you can use to tailor your offerings and messages to your customers’ needs and deliver personalized recommendations to guide their purchases.

The possibilities are endless. But, collecting the right data can mean the difference between providing relevant, personalized experiences that win business, or being so overwhelmed by information that you can't use it to connect with customers in a meaningful way.

In this article, we’ll answer some of your burning questions about customer data so you can be on your way toward insight-driven customer interactions.

What are the four main customer data types?

There's a wealth of customer data available, but the data points with the most utility for brands generally fall into these four categories.

  1. Demographic customer data or personal customer data includes what you might call “biographical information,” such as a customer’s name, date of birth, and address.
  2. Behavioral customer data reveals how customers interact with your brand, including actions they’ve taken on your website or mobile app; how they’ve responded to your social media posts, ads, or emails; and how they’ve engaged with your live chat or digital assistants.
  3. Transactional customer data is a subset of behavioral data, but with one important distinction: it sheds light on a customer’s history with your business, including what they’ve purchased or returned, how long they’ve taken to make those transactions, and how frequently they occur.
  4. Attitudinal customer data can help you understand how customers feel about your business. Attitudinal data examples include how desirable your offerings are to customers, how easy your products are to use, and their overall level of customer satisfaction.

The four main customer data types work together to create a complete picture of your customer, so you can get the full value from the information and use it to win and retain business.

Where can I find customer data?

To gather all the four customer data types, you’ll need to look to multiple sources. Here are the top methods of data collection.

  1. Look into digital behaviors. What customers do online can provide insight into their interests. Use web beacons and cookies to understand what sorts of solutions customers are searching for. And pay attention to how customers engage with your emails, including which emails they open, on which devices, and at what times of day.
  2. Examine past engagement with your business. Past purchases, clicks on advertisements, interactions with your sales team, and customer service questions are excellent sources of behavioral and transactional data.
  3. Ask customers directly. Show customers you care about their needs, preferences, and challenges by asking them to share through forms or surveys.
  4. Buy data that can help you serve customers better. When you can’t gather needed data yourself, look to organizations that collect and analyze data for your use.

What tools can help me leverage customer data to the fullest extent?

To get the most value from your customer data, it’s important to organize it in a central location and keep it up-to-date and free of errors or duplications. A customer data platform (CDP) is a comprehensive customer database that all your customer-facing teams can access to help them manage, track, and analyze customer interactions.

Learn more

For more about how to collect and apply customer data, download our guide: Essential Strategies for Customer Data Management.

Dave Stark

Product Marketing Manager, Oracle CX

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