How to use your customers’ details to your advantage


There is no point in collecting data about your customers if you don’t use it effectively.

For example, Andrew had a new boiler fitted the other month, and as per usual the plumber came in to check it was working OK before giving it the final sign-off.

Andrew asked him when it next needed another service, and was told in about a year, but it was up to Andrew to remember this and make contact to book a service.

Andrew thought about this, and then asked him if he used Excel on his computer. Yes he did. Did he keep records of the customers he did work for, even if it was for accounting purposes? Yes he did.

Could he update an Excel spreadsheet with his customers’ details and the last job done, with dates for next services and other functions, and then programme in the computer’s diary 11 months later a reminder to check the Excel spreadsheet and contact the customer to make an appointment for that service? Oh, he hadn’t thought about that.

Did he think it would be beneficial for him to take the advantage in contacting his customers well in advance to remind them their boilers were due a service? Would it be a good idea for them to use him again because he had prior knowledge of that boiler, and to save them looking for another plumber in the phone book, thus losing their custom to someone else? Yes it would be.

The beauty of this is that it doesn’t require special software and fancy technology, just an understanding of how to use data correctly. Also it’s not worth compiling lists of your customers’ details if you aren’t doing anything constructive with them. It doesn’t have to be fancy newsletters and other marketing techniques, just a simple reminder system to ensure continued custom with past and present customers.

As the meercats would say, simples!


3 Responses

  1. The key is “a simple reminder system” and “how to use data correctly” I’ve looked long and hard for a simple system for a sole trader that avoids having to re-enter data. Have experienced lots of applications that almost do what I need

    • Almost? What aspects do you need but don’t get? Perhaps if this omission was highlighted someone might be able to create the perfect system that would satisfy your needs. All you need to do is ask…

      • A relational database with a pre-defined table structure that matches my workflows, and a simple query and report structure. Openoffice has the tools to do this (and is free!) but it’s hard work. I’m hoping to use this to produce a general purpose “package” solution for sole traders

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