Don't Throw Out Your Old Customer Data Just Yet


I clearly remember the first time I ever took the initiative at work, mainly because it nearly backfired so badly.

I had been given the exciting job of cleaning out the filing room and I decided to use it to make a good impression on my new boss. After I had put all of the main folders into a very nice new system I came across a few boxes with tattered old folders in them. It looked like they had been there for years and when I looked at the dates on them I realised that some of them were from before I was born.

Well, I did what any eager young worker would have done and piled them all in a trolley ready to throw them away. Thankfully a colleague saw me trundling past with them and asked me what I was doing. He then explained to me that those old files could still come in useful and I rather sheepishly put them back. Since then I have realised that old customer data is something you should look after in the following ways.

Store It Carefully
Your historic data is too important to just leave lying around in dusty boxes which any young fool could decide to throw out. You should keep it on your PC system as long as you are legally able to do. Of course, it should also be well organised so that you can get hold of any information you are after. For example, if you are storing details of cancelled clients then you will want to find those who cancelled for a specific reason or on a specific date, as this could help you try to reactivate them in the future. These are potentially the most valuable pieces of historic data you hold and it is a great feeling when you manage to get a historic client back on board again.

Clean up the Data
One of the big problems with managing old customer data is that life moves on in the meantime. I am sure that the majority of those ancient files I almost threw out were wrong in at least one aspect by the time I saw them. You don’t want to be wasting time or creating problems by sending out letters to deceased people or putting on wrong addresses or names. This is why data cleansing is so important. By regularly cleaning your data you can make sure that everything is as it should be and that it is ready to use whenever you might need it. It is easy to carry out data cleansing these days so there is no need to put it off any longer.

Put Someone In Charge Of It
Old information can sit there and gradually get more and more forgotten about unless you have a member of staff who is in charge of it. They might not have a lot to do with it but they will know that the work needing done has to be done by them. This means that they need to know when the data cleansing work has to be done and any other sort of maintenance to be done on it. Of course, this is also the sort of information which is often lost when there is a change of computer systems or some other sort of major IT work. By having a team member in charge of it you can ensure that it is looked after and that there is no chance of it simply being overlooked by everyone.

Use It
If you have followed the previous steps then you will have a lot of potentially valuable historic data sitting on your system. So what will you do with it? The answer to this question will vary for each firm but the most important point is that you use it wisely. You sometimes only get one real shot at reactivating a client or otherwise making your old customer data count. As you have cleansed data which is carefully stored and looked after you have given yourself every chance to do something useful with it. Now it is time to put it to use in a marketing campaign which could turn it into something far more useful than just a bunch of old information.

By carrying out regular data cleansing you will make sure that even your historic data is useful to your company.

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