Is your customer database clean? Really?

Publish Date: 
Jul 24, 2013
By Mary Slepicka

EVERYONE, MEET RYAN ADAMS. (Ryan, this is everyone.) 

Ryan is the retail relations coordinator for the Advanstar Powersports Group, which encompasses Dealernews, Dealer Expo and the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows. If you’re a retailer in this industry, you might already know Ryan because he’s probably already called you.

One of Ryan’s many jobs is to make sure that our database is current and clean. And to do that, he calls and emails and visits dealers to find out things like whether you’ve moved or added a store, if the business has changed ownership, if you’ve got a new franchise, etc. And because we want Dealernews to be read by people active in this business, Ryan’s job is beyond critical.

And that brings me to the prison population in Alaska.

Are you sending emails or postcards to people who have long moved away? Are your coupons and promotion codes addressed to someone’s cat?

About a month ago our automatic subscriber fulfillment tool approved a subscription for a guy who indicated he was eligible to receive Dealernews — meaning, he worked for or owned a retail operation.

But our hero, Ryan, reviews every new subscription to make sure what’s entering our database is valid. Seems this guy lived in Alaska but was a resident of the state correctional center — serving time for stealing ATVs.

No magazine for him.

This is one reason why you need to check the data in your customer database. When’s the last time you authorized someone on your team to review your customer lists, check addresses, purge duplicate entries, delete ones that have an inmate number on them…? Are you sending emails or postcards to people who have long moved away? Are your coupons and promotion codes addressed to someone’s cat? (Searchterm=Frisky)

It’s tedious work, to be sure. But the return is so worth it. And consider this: cleaning up that client list makes you that much smarter about your customers and your customers-to-be.
 

This column originally appeared in the August 2013 issue of Dealernews.