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Serving Suggestions for your Database?
12 February 2008, by , in Data Management, 4 comments

I was having some crackers and cheese spread (Wispride Port Wine) the other day, and noticed something on the side of the cheese spread container: serving suggestions. That's right, suggestions on how to use my cheese spread.

Now why do you suppose the manufacturer would waste space on suggestions for servings? I mean, c'mon, it's cheese spread, I think I know how to use it.

The reason, of course, is to get you to increase your consumption of the cheese spread. The more ways you can use it, the more often you'll use it, the more you'll need to buy.

The same can be said for our databases. Why don't we offer our users more "serving suggestions" to encourage them to use the database more? After all, chances are good they're only using the database in the one or two ways they know how, and haven't really thought about other applications for the system.

So what are some "suggested servings" for your database? Here are three:

  1. Use the database for all of your contacts, not just your customers or members. Working with a print or hotel vendor? Put 'em in the database.
  2. Track all of your ad hoc lists in the database. Does your organization send out holiday cards every year? Most of the people on that list are probably in your database, so why not track the list there? Then you can see who received a card, from year to year.
  3. Use the database to track all significant conversations. Did you talk to a member or customer today about something important? Make a note of it in the database. The more entries of that kind, the better informed all staff will be.

What would you put on your database "serving suggestions"?

About author:
  • Hey Wes,

    Loved this post. So true. This is pretty much the way I see it too. People are busy, busy, busy. So it’s out jobs to show people, clearly and directoly, how various systems can be used to their benefit. So often we’re caught in a certain cycle of thinking. But when someone is proactive and presents to us ideas for considerations, we’re more likely to take them up on some of those ideas. And this way, everyone wins!

  • Wes Trochlil

    Hey Vinay, welcome to my blog! And you’re right, if we make suggestions of new uses for the systems we already have in place, we can probably get others to take up new ideas and get even more out of the tools they already have at hand.

  • Jay Karen

    Hey Wes. One way I use the database is to track those members with whom I have a positive, more personal relationship. When time comes to seek the input of members on an idea or to get some early adopters on a program, I can query the database for all the people I’ve come to know in the membership over the years.

  • Wes Trochlil

    GREAT serving suggestion, Jay! I believe that associations could vastly increase the value of their databases by simply doing better tracking of day-to-day interactions with members and customers, just like you describe.

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International Registration Plan

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