Many micro business owners simply use accounting software for compliance purposes only – to complete year-end tax, BAS obligations and to keep track of their finances. But many off-the-shelf programs are capable of so much more. Use your accounting software to manage your client database and your client relationships will benefit. The following tips refer to MYOB software, but can be applied to other software.
Fully utilise and complete all fields and labels
Complete all relevant fields in your client card files (the alphabetised filing system of client records) so all information is available to employees or co-workers, including the correct contact person, their contact details and preferred shipping method. This will help ensure customer satisfaction. You can also indicate their credit limit and set a warning if exceeded prior to completing a new sales invoice.
Indicate referral source to identify effective marketing
When processing sales invoices always fill in the “referral source” label (that is, what referred the client to you – the Yellow Pages, a brochure or an internet search engine?). This will enable the production of reports that show what advertising is working for your business.
Categorise customer groups
How you categorise customers will depend on your business, industry and what it is you are trying to identify. For example you may wish to group your customers by location, age group or whether they are domestic or commercial customers. This enables you to identify such things as who has the highest sales, most profitable margin or enable you to target marketing to a specific group.
Use “identifiers” to group customers
Identifiers are a great way of grouping customers, suppliers and employees so you can more easily target your communications. You might use the identifiers “M” and “F” to group males and females, or the identifiers A, B and C to group clients into different age categories. You might use identifiers to group those who want to receive a newsletter or to track upcoming birthdays.
Synchronise accounting software with email program
Synchronising your accounting software with your email program enables even more information to be retained regarding your clients, including their job title, their position within the company or the department they work in. You can even capture personal information such as nicknames, spouse’s name and birthday reminders.
Scan and upload business cards
Rather than having all those business cards lying around, scan and upload them into each customer’s card file in your accounting system.
Use the “contact log” to track all communication
The log should record the date, the person spoken to and any additional notes. Alerts can be set at a specific date to recontact the customer if necessary, making this tool ideal for keeping track of communication to outstanding debtors.
Create card files for prospective customers or enquiries
When speaking to a prospective customer, collect as much information as possible and store in your database for future use. Depending on your industry, some say it takes seven or more “touches” (encounters either online or in person) before an actual sale is made so this information is valuable to promote your goods or services. Use an “identifier” to distinguish potential customers from existing ones.
Update current information
Update, update, update. If you know a contact person or other information about a client has changed, update your database. You will save yourself and your colleagues time and embarrassing moments in the future.
The mail merge feature can be used for not only enewsletters but any time you need to send a letter to several contacts at once, such as payment reminders, credit applications or thank-you notes to new customers for their business. This feature is a great time saver that allows you to maintain your customer relationship by communicating easily.
When it comes to managing client records, utilising your accounting software to its full potential will help to you keep on top of client information, communication and ultimately your relationships with them.
Do you use your accounting software to manage your client relationships and database?
“ Recording the referral source will enable the production of reports that show what advertising is working for your business. ”