5 Tips for Database Development to Improve your Business
Are you considering database development to improve your business? Well just about every business has a database of client information. So if you already have a database, or more likely you have more than one database, all with different information about clients – how do you streamline all of this data?
Clearly, having access to your client’s contact details and product preferences etc., allows you to market your products or services to a receptive client base. So a database that is effective and easy to use is essential to improving your ROI and outwitting your competitors.
Here are 5 tips for database development to improve your business:
1 Define the purpose of the database: If you already have one database or more – why do you want another one? Most probably because collecting client details was incidental on these older databases and now you need something more functional.
So is the purpose of this database to collect existing client details for direct marketing, loyalty programs or special offers? Or is it to collect information on potential clients and to generate leads? Database development and customisation will depend on your answer.
2 Collecting client information: What type of customer information have you collected previously, what do no longer need to collect and what additional information do you now need to collect? The answers will provide the structure of the new database.
Simple steps like having separate columns for first names and surnames, streets, suburbs and postal codes – all help to define fast, effective database searches.
3 Standardise the data: If multiple people can enter information into the database make sure that the data entry is consistent. With a few techno tweaks you can ensure that names, streets and suburbs are capitalised, that the correct number of digits are always entered for phone numbers and postal codes.
Mutually exclusive selections, so long as they are exhaustive, are an excellent way to ensure that information is correct. An example of this is the person’s title, Mr, Mrs, Ms, Miss or Dr should usually cover all available options.
4 Determine the outputs you need: What type of outputs you need will depend on the purpose of the database. You may want monthly sales reports, the names, addresses or phone numbers of all clients for a direct mail campaign or just email details for this week’s specials.
Whatever your needs, make sure that the structure of the database is such that it can provide the information you need, in the format you need and when you need it.
5 Documentation: This is another way to avoid incorrect data entries, particularly when there are open fields. Misunderstandings about what data needs to be entered in open fields can ultimately lead to useless information being collected – costing you time and money. So if entry fields not self-explanatory or mutually exclusive provide clear definitions of these fields within the database.