With the nature and structure of small businesses in Nigeria, creating a customer database is most likely the least thought in the minds of entrepreneurs. The reason is largely attributed to lack of acumen for such, not knowing the necessity of having a database, lack of proper planning and researching when starting off a business, the list is endless.
Let me tell you a little story.
About 2 years ago, I visited a salon on Alfred Rewane road, Ikoyi in my bid to look for a nice place that was good with handling natural hair. So I walked in and inquired about their services, they told me the price and we got started. Very courteous workers, by the way.
When we were done and I was ready to pay, the cashier asked me to fill out a card and I asked her what the card was for. Apparently it is used to keep record of each customer's visit and upon the 11th visit, the customer qualifies for a free service!
Now how's that for a customer retention strategy!
We all like freebies, don't we?
Using a bait to keep the customer coming back!
I haven't visited the said salon in like 2 months now and they've called to check up on me. Would they have been able to do that if they didn't have my details?
Of course not.
As a business owner, knowing what you want to achieve in your business is key to being successful. Having the right strategies in place and executing them will keep customers making repeat purchases.
The main aim of every business is to make profit but to achieve that, the business needs to have the appropriate structure that will create the desired customer experience. In fact, the customer service world is evolving and customer experience is taking the front burner.
Recreating that desired experience starts with having one of the necessary business tools - Your customer's data.
Benefits of Having an Accurate Customer Database
Now, it's not enough to have a customer database for the sake of it you need to have an accurate and frequently updated one. This will help your business not only for short term fixes but as long as the business remains a going concern. The benefits include:
1. It helps you provide better customer service
2. It helps you to enhance the customer experience
3. It helps you create brand affinity
4. It helps you promote customer loyalty
5. It helps you strategize better when you want to launch a new product
6. It helps you understand your customer better and tailor your services/product to their needs
7. It helps you track customer purchase patterns and behaviour
8. It can aid new distribution channel creation
Simple Database Tools for Small Businesses
The thought of setting up and managing a customer database can be overwhelming. Depending on the size of the business, there are simple and cost effective tools startups can utilize to ease the burden.
- Excel Sheets - The beauty of the excel spreadsheet is that you can create multiple sheets to cater to each of your product/service categories. Just ensure that there is a backup file you can rely on in case the file becomes corrupted or there's a system crash.
- Datacards - If you're on a very low budget, the data cards are a good way to go. I will recommend that you have a staff dedicated to keeping them in good order. Use an alphabetical arrangement for easy retrieval.
- Hootsuite - If your business is on social media, you'd want to stay updated with what your customers are saying about your business. There's a free version for you to use.
Your customer database is an untapped goldmine for your business. Be like the salon on Alfred Rewane, use it and keep your customers engaged. Customers are constantly looking for a wholesome experience, let it be YOU!