Your customers are the soul of your business. Knowing them and their shopping habits, keeping track of their purchases and nurturing your relationship with them can make or break your business. It sounds like an overwhelming task, doesn’t it? Luckily, you have tools that do the work for you. Your secret weapon? A customer database.
So what’s a customer database? you may wonder. Any information from a customer that is relevant to your business constitutes what we call a customer database. The kind of information you have in that database depends on the nature of and specific needs of your business. For example, a business dealing with baby clothes should have a record of the number of kids your clients have, their age, and gender. Obviously, such information is not relevant to most businesses.
You can save a lot of time looking for relevant customer information if you already have a customer database. You don’t need to waste time with paperwork to get an order ready when all you have to do is quickly access the information you need in your database to close the deal. And that’s just one of the benefits. A central database is the source of all information that the sales, accounting, and the customer support team can use to speed your business procedures, start marketing campaigns, attend to your customers, and get to know them better.
So, how do you create a reliable customer database for your business? You’ll need a reliable Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Infusionsoft, Salesforce.com, ActiveCampaign, Zoho Office Suite, and amoCRM. If you want to keep things more simple (and FREE), you can use a simple Excel spreadsheet. In this article, we’ll see the techniques you can use to gather your information before loading it up in the CRM of your choice, but for now, you can check the following link to know how to use a how to use a CRM System.
Benefits of a Customer Database
The customer database will benefit your business in the following ways:
- Client satisfaction: when you know about your clients, they feel your company cares about them. Therefore you can create a stronger and deeper connection with your clients. Read here other 10 Ways to engage with your customers.
- Improved ability to cross-sell: customer database brings you closer to customer needs and it’s an opportunity to predict their next problem and need and come up with a solution in the form of a product different to the one they previously purchased (this is what is known as “cross-selling”).
- Increased team collaboration: the CRM software can make it easy to coordinate teamwork in the marketing department.
- Improved customer service efficiency: the more you and your employees are acquainted with the customer database, the better and faster they will be served.
- Staff satisfaction: also employees will be more satisfied. They’ll feel empowered when they have accurate and up-to-date relevant customer data. Updated customer information helps employees solve client-related problems leaving everybody satisfied.
- Increase in revenue and profits: the introduction of a customer database can increase productivity and sales because not only you’ll be able to speed the process of your current sales, but also sell additional products and services tailored to your customers’ needs.
- Cost cutting: the benefits of installing a customer database outweigh the costs. For example, your sales department will have better ways of scheduling meetings with potential clients. In other words, the customer database enables handling of clients within a short time and efficiently.
And when it comes to working on marketing campaigns and promotions, a customer database help you…
- Keep your clients informed of future promotions, special offers, and events.
- Personalize promotions to suit individual customer taste based on preferences and previous purchases.
- Separate the undecided clients for a targeted marketing campaign.
- Streamlining all digital platforms marketing campaigns.
How to collect data for your customer database
There is plenty of customer information that your business can access. As we have seen, all you have to do is enter that information into a Customer Relationship Management System.
The best way to guarantee the success of your CRM System is to force all your sales and customer representatives to update the CRM during or after their engagements with customers or prospects. Enforce the mantra: “if it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen.”
But the key question now is: how do you gather all that information we are talking about? Where and how can you get all the data about your customers? Just use the following methods. A pro tip here: don’t harass your customers to get information, but still, try to get information every time a consumer finishes a purchase. To obtain relevant information in a nonintrusive way, collect it bit by bit. All that said, these are some techniques to gather the data that eventually will do into your database:
Orders- start building your database using the transaction history and contact details of each customer. Always try to run things online as it is easier to follow, update and store data. The online transactions your customers carry on should have a section requesting more information in a polite and natural language that will prompt the customer to respond.
Surveys- develop short and sweet surveys that your customer doesn’t mind filling in. They have to be tailored to your business needs. Any information about your current customer can give you an overall view of your target customer.
Competitions- it gets better when you decide to run a contest asking clients to provide additional data such as personal tastes, gender, age, city, etc. As a sign of appreciation, by doing that they automatically enter into a raffle of one of your products.
Online campaigns- track online spending habits and customer preferences and add them to your customer database. It will be very useful when making marketing decisions. In your blog or website include an option to subscribe to a newsletter. It has to be free and preferably published weekly. Readers can receive the latest trends on your business industry, your weekly promotions, tips, important dates, funny facts, etc.
Research- using demographic reports and trends of the population section your customers belong to should help your marketing department target potential clients and create a customer profile. You can commission an agency to do the task, but this can be quite expensive. Sometimes, simply having face-to-face interactions with your clients can be the best way to conduct your research. You can also place forms at the entrance of your shop for clients to enter data. Use hooks like- Enter Your Data to Receive Our Discounts and News to encourage them.
Use API integration – another way to collect data is by automatically pushing data from an online form to the database (this procedure is known as API integration). For example, when people share their contact information via Facebook, complete an online application or sign up to your newsletter, all that information automatically can get pushed to Salesforce via their API. You may need some professional engineers to help you set this up properly, but it’s an investment that will make your life easier.
The tips shared here should help you understand the importance of collecting relevant data about your customers and keeping it in a customer database. The uses and benefits of such a database extend across all the areas of your business, from marketing and sales to, of course, customer service. Follow the techniques offered here to create a loyal and reliable customer base, that will always be happy to buy your products and services.
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