Managing your customer data effectively is important for small businesses

Here, in association with Royal Mail AddressNow Capture, we look at how ensuring that you capture and update customer data effectively can bring a number of important benefits to your business.

In recent years the marketing landscape has experienced a significant shift towards digital marketing, including email communication and online advertising.

This has to some extent levelled the playing field and smaller businesses are now able to compete on even terms with larger, more established businesses. But to do so effectively it is vital that they are able to manage their customer data effectively and ensure that they collect and maintain up-to-date address details on all customer records.

This will help them to ensure campaigns are as targeted and as cost-effective as possible. It also reduces unnecessary, time-consuming and costly returns for online sellers, reduces customer servicing and helps to protect a businesses good name.

Most businesses understand the value of engaging with both existing and potential customers, and many are employing increasingly sophisticated strategies to do that better than ever before. But there’s a hitch: if you don’t know who those customers are, or where to find them, you can’t hope to make a lasting and profitable connection with them.

Keeping in touch with valuable, existing customers by sending marketing and service communications that are relevant to them, at the right time, is a quick and easy way to build trust and secure repeat sales. However if you fail to collect and verify customer address data effectively when they first give it to you, the process can rapidly turn into a significant cost to your business – in terms of time and money – rather than a powerful tool.

Personalised marketing campaigns are only ever profitable if you have up-to-date contact details for your customers and accurate information about your dealings with them. Targeting those who have moved address, passed away, or contacting customers with irrelevant messages is completely ineffective. Not only will it never lead to a sale, it wastes both time and money, and can actually seriously damage your brand name.

Prioritising data management

Scott Blumson, director of the IRFC Studio says customer data management is hugely important to the operational efficiency of his own business. The company provides a variety of marketing, design and printed collateral solutions for one of its clients with marketing packs.

The company’s database tracks all of the classic data one might expect, along with in-depth site specific information. This includes site population, their facilities, the target market of that site and much more. ‘We send the marketing packs quarterly to nearly 500 sites, so it’s vital that when they are contacting us, or when new initiatives go live that we know who is have what and when,’ Blumson says. The marketing packs are supported by an website which adds value and provides site specific content along with regional content. ‘Again, the role of our database is vital here in ensuring accuracy, efficiency and reducing production costs.’

Customer data for better planning

Data also enables better planning and forecasting. Real-time planning and intelligence is highly reliant on the fact that you can constantly be aware of where your agents are, what they are planned to be doing, what they are actually doing and what they will be doing in the future.

The more in-depth data from across the business you have, the better you can plan for assumptions and ensure that demand meets supply. It will also better enable the contact centre to react to situations immediately and in real-time.

Think carefully about how customer data gets into your system. Whether it’s your own staff entering this data, or customers themselves sharing their details – on your web site, for example – there’s scope for human error. To be sure the data is clean and complete when it first comes into your business, you need a way to check it against a reliable source.

The AddressNow Capture lookup tool can be easily integrated into your website, apps or customer systems to enable you to start benefiting from more accurate address collection and validation. Using the most up-to-date information from Royal Mail’s Postcode Address Finder (PAF), you’ll get the right address every time and a reliable database for the future.

It’s quick and simple to get AddressNow Capture up and running in your system. Try the 30-day free trial with our step-by-step guide to get you started.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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Customer Data

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