Customer base: how and where to conduct
Services for maintaining the customer base
It is impossible to imagine effective work with the database without automating business processes. To do this, it is convenient to use special programs or services. Consider the most popular.
Excel is a universal program in which you can do almost anything! The simplest option is to create a database in the form of a table, which is easy to adapt to any business needs and specify the necessary details. What are the advantages? It's free, there are a lot of formulas that are convenient to count, the ability to create a template. What are the disadvantages: it is inconvenient to work as a team — there is no multi-user access, data is easy to copy or lose, it is difficult with analytics.
Access is software from Microsoft, which seems to be similar in functionality to Excel, but in fact is more complicated and more reliable. Here the data is more protected: each manager has access only to his own table, one or more users can work in databases, depending on the type. However, the program also has significant drawbacks: it is more demanding on the operating system, and in case of failures in the local network, there is a possibility of errors.
Google Sheets — Google Sheets are well suited for small businesses: free, convenient, there are no unnecessary functions that are not needed at first, the service is free, sharing allows you to work as a whole team and see changes from each user. Another nice option: you can set up an email newsletter to customers using a special plugin. What are the disadvantages: it is difficult to automate some processes, the lack of analytics for large businesses, an inconvenient interface for mobile devices and tablets.
CRM systems (Customer Relationship Management) are specially designed services for process automation, sales control and analytics. This is the most convenient, reliable and expensive way to maintain a database for large companies. CRM has something that is not available in other services: connection to social networks, website, mail setup, telephony, task management and assignment of responsible, customer segmentation.
CRM has analytics, the entire history of interaction with the client is reflected in chronological order, the program implements some functions on its own (for example, it will send a message in social networks, process an application from the site, and so on). One of the main advantages is visual analytics, which will allow you to evaluate the activities of the manager, the entire sales department, and the advertising campaign.
Among the significant disadvantages are labor costs for implementation, up-to-date maintenance, control of performers, limited functionality of the free version, the cost of the license.
How to maintain a customer base
To make it easier to work with the database, you need to think over the structure, arrange the information in the right order. In the reference information, it is worth specifying information about the contact — the organization, work schedule, telephone or any means of communication, the names of representatives, their positions, a convenient time for a call, and so on.
What else is important:
• determine the optimal time to communicate with the client (the main goal is not to overdo it and not to tire) and display it in the database;
• strictly make sure that different managers do not communicate with the same client;
• specify all the information to the maximum and make changes on time.