Is your clients’ information currently hidden in lots of paper files, duplicated, incomplete or even outdated? Your client database is very important as it becomes the focus point for sales and marketing strategies. By having a complete database, it will become a helpful tool to enable you to not only identify client trends, but to create client loyalty and communication. If you do not have a proper client database, then you are missing out on an effective marketing tool that will help to grow your business.  Let us look at how you can create and maintain your database to ensure that it becomes the cornerstone of your business. 

Information required
It is important to consider what information you need from clients. It is important to sit down with your employees and determine each departments’ information needs. Your database should serve as many areas of your business as possible. The main objective of a client database is to grow your business. The more information you can capture about your existing clients and potential clients, the more effective your database. 

Responsibility and maintenance
If possible, it is advisable to appoint one person within your business to be responsible for the upkeep of the database. Any computerised database needs to be backed up daily or twice weekly. Keep these backups in a safe place so that if your computer crashes the information can be easily reloaded. Ensure your database has a clear and easy to use structure and is stored in an accessible area for all database users to reduce the chance of errors. 

Keep it up to date
Other more pressing matters always seem to push in front of this administrative task of updating the database. Your database should, however, be frequently updated to ensure information is current, correct and clients who have requested not to be contacted are flagged or placed in a separate area. It is also important that you ensure your data is up to date so that you are not wasting time and money using incorrect data.  To keep your data up to date, regularly ask clients if their data has changed from that which you already have. You should also encourage employees to make updates and train them to correctly make these updates. 

Setting goals
As with many business operations, it is always a good idea to start by setting objectives. Thus, providing yourself and your team with a target to focus on, and a time scale in which to measure your progress against. Setting objectives for your client database will also help you identify what data you need to collect from your clients. An example objective could be to increase your client loyalty over the next six months. This seemingly mundane chore might be seen as an expense or time waster, but there are indeed significant benefits to maintaining a current, up-to-date and accurate database.   

Timely follow-up
When you update your client database immediately, you are more likely to take advantage of the recommended 24 to 48-hour window for follow-up.  You might have been at an event spending time building rapport with potential clients and they are interested to hear more about you and your business. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. People want to buy from someone they know, like and trust.  Build that trust by keeping your records up-to-date so you can get back to people.

With client databases, the quality output depends on the quality of the input. Therefore, allocate time to develop your database and use it to its full potential. Although a client database may not seem like the most exciting thing you would want to spend any resources on, the importance of proper data in the business world cannot be overstated. Collecting better information about your clients will be an asset and can really improve your bottom line in the long run.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein.

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