While we live in the digital age, some customer management practices haven’t quite caught up.
Many business owners still maintain manual customer documentation — they compile books of customer information including names, email addresses, phone numbers, credit card information and other specialized notes. This method might feel like a safe and integral part of your business operations, but is it actually putting your business in jeopardy?
Here are a few additional things you should know about writing down customer information:
The threats posed by manual customer management
You risk exposing your customers’ identities and sensitive information
Lengthy, handwritten lists can create operational chaos, especially when you need customer information in a timely manner. Further, there may be legal restrictions on physically writing down customer information as part of your business practices.
As a business owner, you are expected to comply with Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) privacy laws that protect customer identity. Writing down sensitive customer information could put your clients at risk for fraud or identity theft.
You risk losing information
If your book of handwritten customer information gets lost or damaged, you have no way of restoring it. Valuable information regarding contact details and client-specific notes is gone, which puts you back where you started. Also, if you lose that book, you might be exposing your customers’ details to other people.
You are wasting a lot of time
Managing your customers’ information manually takes up a lot of time that you could be spending on other operational aspects of your business. Think about the amount of time it takes to search for one client phone number in your little black book. In that time, you could be doing other things like managing inventory.
The benefits of contact management software
It’s time to put down the pen, give your hand a break and explore different customer management solutions. Have you considered contact management software like Square Customer Directory?
An online customer directory allows you to effectively manage your customers by creating an information database that stores details about each of your clients.
Aside from the obvious benefits of a centralized system that you can easily manipulate and search through, here are four standout features of Square’s robust customer directory that will elevate your business:
Customer information is protected and secured
Data breaches and security pitfalls are some of the main reasons that business owners still use manual documentation. While compromised information can put your business at risk, Square’s customer directory is PCI compliant, which is built to ensure the safety of sensitive customer information. PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a payment security standard that confirms sellers are protecting customers’ credit card information. So you should have peace of mind when you save information in your customer directory.
You can send personal messages directly from a customer’s profile
Sifting through long, handwritten customer lists to extract one email address and type it into your mailing account is aggravating. With an automated customer directory, you can quickly search for a customer and send a personal message directly from the software. While this feature shouldn’t be used to send out marketing email, you can use it to send friendly reminders regarding appointments or ask for additional information about a recent purchase.
Customer segmentation is available
With the customer directory’s filter options, you can sort through your customer base and create groups that meet specific criteria. For example, you can identify customers who have visited your store in the past 30 days, or sort out customers who currently participate in your customer loyalty program. Segmenting your customer base is a great way to better understand consumer patterns and identify areas of opportunity.
Integrating your customer management system
A reliable customer directory can be integrated with your POS system to create a central information hub. When you do so, information from a customer’s profile will appear when you ring up a client. You can also easily access customer information at any time in the purchase experience — whether you are looking at your appointment calendar or preparing an invoice.
Customer management is key to your success. So if you’re still wasting time writing down names and addresses manually, it’s time to make a change. Learn more about managing your customer directory online.