Have you ever considered the importance of keeping your customer’s information accurate?  When your company’s customer data is not consistent or up-to-date, it can cause problems within your organization.  It can definitely hamper sales and especially the performance of your marketing campaigns.  Employees sometimes find that a contact’s phone number, email address, or place of business has changed.  If they don’t update the information right away, all is does is leave a mess of inaccurate, incomplete, or redundant customer information.  We have some tips to help you maintain the best data possible so you can optimize your customer service, sales, and marketing; thus, receiving the results your company wants!

  • Maintain Complete Data – How complete are your customer records? If you answered that by saying they aren’t all as complete as they could be, we understand!  However, incomplete customer data lessens the quality of the contact itself and what’s the reason of having any contacts that don’t provide your organization quality?  CRM’s often require you to fill in fields that are mandatory and yes, that can be time consuming which is why most people neglect to enter the information.  You can solve this problem by setting only fields that are relevant to you and your company; such as name, email, company, address, and so forth.  So determine the fields that are most relevant to maintaining a complete customer file and ensure that users fill in those mandatory fields.
  • Avoid Duplicate Leads & Contacts – One way to avoid entering duplicate contacts is by comparing the email addresses of the contact since emails are unique to each individual. Some CRM solutions have an option to check whether or not an email address has been previous entered.  If there is more than one entry for a particular contact there is the possibility that neither file contains complete info, yet contains info the other file may not.  Always merge the duplicate files, rather than deleting one and not the other.  This will allow you to compare the information in both files and fill in information as needed, rather than potentially losing important information you never knew you had.
  • Maintain a Style for Data Entry – It is extremely important to maintain consistency throughout all of your customer files. It is necessary to maintain the quality of your records.  For example, one person may enter “Vice President of Business Development” as a job title, while another person enters the same job title as “VP of Bus Dev”.  To avoid this from occurring set a standard data entry format for your users.  Possessing these standard formats keeps the records consistent and makes data conversions simpler.
  • Create Security Roles – Data comes from several sources and users that have access to it. It’s not easy to maintain a clean CRM database, but it can be done.  Control the security rights of employees who have access to your CRM and assign only necessary roles so users can only edit the fields and records that are specific to their job.  This can cut down on information being edited or deleted by mistake, which keeps the quality of the data intact.
  • Data Validation – some CRM solutions, such as Salesforce, enable rules to be configured where the data entered into specific fields has to meet certain criteria that are set. (i.e. an email address has to contain “@” and no “spaces”, otherwise the record will not save)
  • Use the Most Optimal Fields – CRM solutions, such as Zoho, that empower users to customize their own environment are great! However, oftentimes not a lot of thought is given into what type of field to create since users are trying to simply make a quick update. Text fields are often used by default because you can enter anything.  This is not ideal because  A) anything can be entered and B) it makes it hard to segment and search data.  We recommend using pick lists where possible to minimize errors in data capture.

Now you have been armed with basic tips to keep your data updated, consistent, and COMPLETE!  Remember, maintaining a quality database and accurate customer information does take time, but the end result is well worth the time and effort you put in from the beginning.  If you follow these tips from the start you will most definitely avoid a huge mess and having devote twice the amount time getting it cleaned up down the road!  A little time and attention can go a long way.

If you need help implementing any of the above tips, contact Alderbest Solutions and we can making sure you are reaching your fullest CRM solution potential!