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Why data isn’t enough to grow your business

Meghan McCormick
22 August 2022 - 3 mins, 9 secs read

Oze is a company that exists to give small businesses the tools, information, and resources that they need to thrive. We want every small business owner to feel confident knowing how much they are earning, what products are the most profitable, how their cost base is changing, and much much more. It’s why we often use the tagline “data-driven growth”.

At the same time, Oze is a highly customer-centric company. We don’t just do user testing after a feature is completed; we spend hours and hours in the market trying to understand what should be built in the first place and how. It’s hard to use quantitative data to know what features to build when what you are building doesn’t exist in the world yet (or if it does, you don’t have access to private usage data).

Decisions at Oze are a combination of data, customer insights, and intuition. I think that is why this tweet that came across my timeline yesterday really stuck out to me.

Oze can tell you what product is moving fastest. We can’t tell you why. Oze can tell you which customers are spending the most money with you. We can’t tell you why. Oze can tell you that the customers you sell to on credit are slow to pay. We can’t tell you why. To get the ‘why’, you need to go to the source. You need to go to the customer. 

Reading this, you might have many thoughts and feelings going through your head. You might feel afraid to “bother your customers”. You might feel too overwhelmed to add another thing to your to-do list. You might be skeptical that the customer will even tell you the truth. But you are an Oze entrepreneur and you can overcome these challenges to gather the insights that you need to grow your business.

Here are three tips that you can use to complement your Oze data with customer insights. 

1. Incentivize your customers to give you feedback.

Create a simple survey (you can do it for free with Google Forms). A common incentive is to send people 5 cedis airtime for filling out your survey, but you can do better than that. Use the incentive to grow your business. Try giving survey respondents a sample of a new product, a discount on their next purchase, or a freebie the next time they visit your shop as a thank you for filling out a survey.

2. Make it a daily habit.

Running a big research program can be a lot of work. Instead, pick one metric that you want to explore each month and then commit to a casual conversation with 1 customer a day. By the end of the month, you’ll be shocked by how much you’ve learned. 

3. Don’t ask directly.

Imagine that all of a sudden, many customers who have been buying on credit from you stop paying. If you ask them directly why they haven’t made payment, they are likely to give you a response designed to get your sympathy (i.e. my mother was in the hospital and I am paying her bills). Instead, talk to them about all the different ways their cash inflows and outflows have changed. Empathize with them. Maybe you’ll learn that credit sales should only be made at certain times of the month or certain months in the year. If it’s a sensitive topic, find an indirect way to gather insights.

Give it a try and let us know what you are learning. And if you have feedback you want to share with Oze, we’d be happy to hear it. Email or message us through the Oze app. 

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