Creating and managing your customer database


Note: This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Customer Relationship Management is really important for many businesses, in particular, small ones, as it is the focus point of sales and marketing strategies. At the centre of a business’ CRM is their customer database, which is a really helpful tool enabling them to; identify customer trends, create customer loyalty and increase their customer communication. All businesses have a customer database, whether it is a computerized system or a piece of paper with names and details written on. Here are some tips on how to create and maintain your database in order to get the most out of it.

Setting Objectives

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 customer database will also help you identify what data you need to collect from your customers. An example objective could be to increase your customer loyalty over the next six months.

Creating your Database

When creating your database it is important to remember that it must be easy to add and update files. Therefore ensure your database has a clear and easy to use structure and is stored in an accessible area for all database users. Also, make sure that all database users receive adequate training on how to use and maintain the database, to reduce the chance of errors.

Updating your Database

Under the Data Protection Act, you are legally responsible for ensuring that any data you store is accurate and up to date. 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 customers if their data has changed from that which you already have. You should also encourage employees to also make updates and train them to correctly make these updates.

Learn more about the benefits of using customer data for personalization by downloading our free eBook, The Personalized Retailer.


Protecting your Database

To protect your database, ensure yourself or whoever is in charge, takes frequent backups. These backups should then be labelled clearly and stored in a safe location, so that if an error does occur you do not lose all your data.

Filling your database

To fill your database you will need to collect your customer data, this is best done when customers begin using your business. The type of data you collect from your customers will depend upon your objective or objectives that you initially set. Examples include; name, date of birth, contact information and their likes and interests. Remember to fill your database with correct and up to date data in order for it to be successful.

Reviewing your Database

Measure the success of your database by reviewing the data it contains and the activities you have used it for, at regular intervals. Keep an eye on the rest of the market as well to see if there are any other activities you can use your database for, and generally offer a better customer service.

So there you have advice on creating and using customer databases. Remember though with customer 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. Keep an eye out for our next blog post about ways to use your customer database. 

Learn more about the benefits of using customer data for personalization by downloading our free eBook, The Personalized Retailer.