Managing customer data is a priority for many companies.
According to a report published by The Economist, consumer data is now the world’s most valuable resource,“the oil of the digital age,” and needs to be safeguarded at all costs. Failure to do so can have serious repercussions down the road.
Consider the case of Uber, the American multinational ride-hailing company. The company experienced a serious data breach in 2016 when hackers accessed confidential data of over 50 million people. This incident caused Uber a staggering $148 million in settlement costs, not to mention the reputational damages.
To mitigate such risks, companies that take data seriously will store customer data in a secure customer relationship management (CRM) database. So what’s a CRM database and how do you manage and maintain it? Dive in to find out.
What is a CRM Database?
Technically, a database is any meaningful organization of data.
A CRM database, therefore, can be defined as all the data you collect about your customers to use with your CRM system. A customer-related database can include any meaningful information regarding customers such as:
- Customer name, title, and email address
- Customer personal information (age, marital status, address, birthdays, etc.)
- Customer occupation
- Customer purchase history and the amount spent
While CRM is the engine that drives sales, marketing, and customer service, a CRM database is the power that makes it run.
How to Manage & Maintain Your CRM Database
Here are some tips that will help you to effectively manage and protect customer data.
1. Hire a Database Administrator
If you’re not an IT expert, you may want to hire a database administrator who will maintain a healthy database environment by performing all related activities to keep the data secure. Such activities may include SQL server performance tuning (if you use SQL) to optimize the performance of your SQL server database.
Performance tuning is a complex and time-consuming process that needs to be done by a professional. If done right, it can help to resolve many problems such as server fragmentation issues while speeding up the response times and increasing customer satisfaction.
2. Clean Up Your Customer Data
Customer data can quickly become outdated. Some customer info such as location, address, and buying preferences can change depending on business needs and personal tastes. It’s thus important to keep your database updated at all times.
What does that entail?
Confirm and update information such as the address, phone numbers, email, etc. Also, remove duplicates and delete contacts for customers who left your business. This can be done easily by performing a data audit.
3. Take Security Seriously
Database security is critical and should always take precedence in the planning and implementation phases.
Make a habit of performing regular data audits as this helps to prevent database breaches. For example, checking unfamiliar IP addresses can help to ensure that no one has employee passwords who shouldn’t.
In addition to database security, it’s important to install an SSL certificate to your web server to establish a secure connection and cement your organization’s identity. You can get an authentic SSL certificate from trusted SSL providers such as Symantec, GlobalSign, RapidSSL, etc (compare here.)
4. Make Essential Fields Mandatory
At times, your sales reps may make entries in a hurry, leaving out certain fields since there is no data to fill. As a result, many important fields may be left incomplete. The drawback to this is that it hinders certain CRM functions since there is no data to read.
So how do you prevent this?
During the CRM planning stage, define the fields you deem most important and label them “mandatory” while creating the fields in the database. This will prevent your sales team from omitting those fields.
We hope this article will help you to better manage your CRM database. Feel free to comment and share.