In business efficiency is what separates the most profitable companies from those that are just getting by. When a company is operating at its peak, the cost of doing business goes down and more profits can be made for the same amount of work. In your business, efficiency starts with the way that you collect and manage customer information, and if you have the best customer management tools, then you will be able to streamline the processes of customer acquisition and retention, but if the information is cluttered, then the more information you collect, the worse service you will provide to your customers. There are three places in your customer information collection where your ability to be efficient is undermined.
The first thing that you have to address is what customer data you have and where that data is stored. The more often customer data is put into your system, whether it be from the sales team, the marketing team or the customer service department, the more likely it is that you will run into duplicate data. The use of a customer relationship management tool, or CRM platform, reduces the amount of duplicate data that you will collect and allows you to sort and store all of the customer’s data in a single place. Each time you have duplicate data entries, you run the risk of losing the customer because of incorrect contact or personal information, so you need to ensure that you are always getting the correct information when you access the customer data sheet. With CRM everyone that needs to see information about the customer can do so without having to try to hunt that information down.
Another problem that you face as a small business owner is converting new customer information into solid sales leads. Your marketing team’s job is to go out and create a brand and a company image that people will be interested in, drawing customers to your website and to your products. At that point potential customers will contact your business either for more information or to make a purchase from your company. When it takes a long time for your sales staff to get access to that information, the customer may get fed up with waiting and find another company that can address their needs more quickly. You need a system in place that streamlines the data collection and dispersion so that the people who need information about potential customers get that data as soon as possible.
Finally, there will be times that different departments in your company will have different information about your clients, and that information needs to be shared. One of the best ways to do so is by using a system that will merge data fields together as they are being entered into the system. This helps to prevent the creation of duplicate data entries and it helps to highlight those places where there is conflicting data about the customer. When your staff has good information about customers they are better able to meet customer needs, and that will lead to increased sales and better profits all around.
Information is the life blood of modern business, and you need to have the right information any time you contact a customer. Cluttered information will lead to lost sales and poor customer service, which erodes your profits and makes you work harder for less money.
I am Ian King, and I wrote this article after my business struggled for years with data entry and collection. I discovered a SugarCRM duplicate module called DeDupit, available at https://www.sugaroutfitters.com/addons/DeDupit, that changed the way we approached data. With DeDupit we drastically reduced clutter in our Sugar portal and increased sales and profits. I highly recommend DeDupit if you need help managing customer data in Sugar, and I recommend www.sugaroutfitters.com for all of your Sugar module needs.