Database management is how to build, grow and maintain one of your most valuable business assets
When you know who your customers are, what they buy, how often they buy and the average value of each purchase, you can then spend your promotional dollars preaching to the converted, rather than battling with your competitors for new business. Just follow these basic rules:
- If you do not have a database to begin with, then purchase one of the many available from your local computer store. Just make sure it is flexible enough to do everything that you will want it to do
- The basic starting information to include in any database is the following:
- Your customer’s name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail address
- If the customer is a business, what are the names of the main contacts and/or decision makers
- A customer rating process, whereby you can rate them in terms of their importance to your business (perhaps as simple as A, B, & C customers)
- Where did the customer originate from, advertising, referrals, promotions etc.
- Length of time that they have been a customer
- Credit Terms (if applicable)
- Ensure you can sort through the database by all the different criteria such as customer names, ages, marital status, purchasing preferences, frequency and volume of spending, birthdays, special interests, referred by, etc
- If you run a mainly cash transaction business and are having difficulty gathering the above information, then run a competition or promotion with a written coupon for entry that asks questions that elicit the necessary responses
- Run subsequent promotions to obtain more personalised information such as birthdays, personal interests or hobbies and more general information about family and other areas of interest
- At the same time, ensure that your point of sale software records individual customer purchase history on the database. If this is not possible, at least issue bar coded customer cards that can be swiped at point of sale, to enable you to keep such records.
- Once you have the necessary records of customer purchasing habits, you can then direct specific targeted promotions to your existing customers, as opposed to trying to convert new customers.
- An accurate, up to date and well maintained database will enhance the value and saleability of your business.