For a business, proper management of the client database can go a long way in improving sales, ensuring client satisfaction and tracking profitability of each client. A client database — with information like client contact information, purchase history and marketing responses — makes it an important asset of the company.
For it to be effective, a client database should be designed to store large amounts of data while being simple to maintain. It should be well organized because just data collection and random storage is of little help if any. Besides being designed for volume and easy maintenance, it’s critical for a business to know what to do with this data and how to use it effectively.
Below are a few time-tested tips and ideas for proper collection of data and maintaining a clean database:
Data collection, organization and maintenance is not always an easy task. If done properly it will go a long way in helping you expand your business and reach out to prospective clients as well as current clients at the right time. There’s room for creativity in building a good database. For instance, talking to the customers of a client or prospective client can help you gather information about how happy they are with its products or services. Talking to an administrative official or a receptionist can be insightful about how the company works. The more creative you are about building a usable and meaningful database, the better.
Define the fields: Make sure you have a plan in place before you start collecting information for your database. Define the fields that you will require and leave room for expansion in the future. Nothing is constant and the way you collect data or the kind of information that you require may change from time to time. That is why it is important that your database is flexible and has ample scope for change and modification. Some of the fields that you can cover in the database include name of the company, address, telephone number and fax, contact names and titles of the employees, website information, email address and unique identification number. Besides these basic details, other data that can be helpful — if you can get it — is annual revenue, number of employees that work in the company and budget information.
Set permissions: Determine beforehand who can access the database and make changes to it; keep in mind who will help maintain it, who will ensure that it has clean and updated information. This will also help you maintain consistency in the data collected.
Preset standards for your data: Just collecting data from anyone and everyone can leave you with a large chunk of information that you don’t know what to do with. It is necessary that you have pre-established standards to define the information that is collected. Remember that the purpose of the database is to promote communication with existing and potential customers. Don’t clutter the list with useless contacts. You should have standards that define the accuracy and quality of data that you have.
Despite your best efforts, information contained in your customer contact database will get out of date over time and clutter will accumulate. You should therefore have a process to systematically verify — or update each contact’s details. Too frequent updates may annoy the customer, while too little increases the likelihood of your customer data being inaccurate.
Keep monitoring your database: Just like changes that take place in the industry, it is possible that existing and prospective customers might make changes to their systems, information, location, etc. It is important to periodically monitor the database and keep it up to date.
Customer satisfaction is vital to ensuring repeat business. Companies can leverage information from their customer database to regain past customers or to acquire new ones. An up to date, clean and actionable database is as important as collecting the information itself.
Working with professionals experienced in building, maintaining and managing a database can often be the difference between just having information and being able to use it for business growth. HMS has worked with a number of clients and their customer databases and can help you build and maintain yours. Talk to us and let us partner you for success.