capture your customers

Are your customers important to you?  This is not a trick question.

If they are, you need a CMS – that’s a Customer Management System. If they aren’t, this is no place for you and you can move along now.

 

Do you know who your customers are?

A hint: they are all people, not companies, though some work for other businesses.

What are their names and how can you contact them again?

 

Capture that info now, before it turns into a huge job that you’ll put off. A basic spreadsheet is fine.

 

Add details that matter to you – have they asked you to call back in three weeks? or to quote on another job? then diary that too.

 

A new contact laughed out loud when I told her to write “short, big specs” on the business card I gave her. Well, that’s what I I look like!

 

I’d add “very opinionated” or “ex TV Production“ or maybe “knows Pete B” … any comments to help me to picture the person and the context I met them. Sadly, the Rolodex is dead and I’ll never find that card in this heap , so I transfer information into my very basic CMS and it’s all there for me – or a colleague – next time.

 

Some people like to use scans, or fancy image capturing. You should do whatever works for you.

 

Don’t waste time now researching off-the-shelf systems

 

You don’t need to spend a heap of time on organising your customer info yet, that spread-sheet is enough. If it’s too complex, you probably won’t use it. There is no ‘right’ way, and you’ll want to change it all anyway, as your business grows.

 

Treat this task as though you were doing it for someone else. Then when you do have a new sales person or an admin angel arrives, they will have the info they need – and you’ll have the basics to upgrade your business to a  better system.

 

You’ll hear a lot about CRM : that’s Customer Relationship Management

 

Basically, that’s integrated information for sales, marketing, and customer support.

There are plenty of CRMs out there, to buy or subscribe to – around 360 on one comparisons website! Some systems are brilliant, some less so. You probably don’t need to choose one yet. You’ll know when you do.

 

If you have lots of data on your customers already, it will be that much easier to make the transition to the best CRM for your business when you want to, and when you know more about what is important to you.

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