How Can your Existing Customer Database Help you Gain More Business?

One of the simplest and most overlooked strategies for achieving business growth is to sell more to your existing customers. This process may be known as many things; Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention, or Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

But whatever the name, this form of business development has many attractions – not least that on the face of it, it seems far simpler than finding and targeting new prospects and potential new customers.

Yet even a strategy as simple as selling more to existing customers requires some careful preparation and good organisation, particularly when it comes to your customer database.

Managing Your Customer Data Before you can even embark on selling more to your existing customers, you need to know as much as you can about them, and ensure this information is held in an accessible and accurate form.

Your existing customer database therefore becomes an essential tool in achieving business growth, and so you should invest effort in making sure your database meets your needs.

Firstly audit the databases which are held in your organisation. Often the same customer details may be held across several databases in different formats. If this is the case consider merging databases into one, or creating frequent data feeds between databases (for example between your website database and your internal database).

Then you need to examine the quality of the data that you hold. Quality can be defined in a number of ways; accuracy of information held, frequency that it is updated, and the scope of information held.

All three factors in data quality can be addressed by using external data cleansing and enhancing services. For example:

§ Some data cleansing programs and services can cross check your data against the latest external records to ensure accuracy, which helps correct errors in data inputting.

§ The same tools can be used on a frequent regular basis to keep data up to date, because some of your customers will inevitably change their contact details on a constant basis.

§ Finally data cleansing tools can even be used to enhance your data, perhaps by adding telephone numbers where they hadn’t previously been obtained, screening data against the Telephone Preference Service register, or profiling your data using geodemographic profiling.

Once your data is in good shape, you can commence your customer loyalty marketing with confidence. Your efforts in improving your data will also be rewarded through reduced wastage if you use direct mail, which is good news for your bottom line, and for reducing the environmental impact of your business. And if you use telemarketing to your existing customers, making sure all phone numbers are screened against the TPS or CTPS registers before you call could even protect your business potential legal action and a hefty fine.

Ensuring you have a well managed and accurate customer database will give you a valuable tool when it comes to gaining more business from your existing customers.


Source by Steven Sellwood

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