[digg=http://digg.com/business_finance/10_Things_You_Have_to_Know_About_Your_Customers] While this is directed specifically at Catholics, having this (or equivalent) information about your customers is essential to long term success in your business.
1) Name - Customers that you can greet by name are far more likely to feel welcome in your store and will buy more because you have taken the time to remember who the person is. This works on the phone too. Get the customer's as soon as possible when they call so you can use it while you talk to them.
Also, if you keep a customer's name in your system you can actually figure out statistics on your customers.
2) Mailing address - if you ever want to let your customer base know about events at your store having a mailing address is essential. Also, if you want to figure out where your customer base lives (are people only coming from a specific area or do they drive all the way across town?) in order to expand your marketing appropriately, this is kind of critical.
3) Email - quick, free mass promotion. If you have some kind of rewards program in your store (we have a Faithful Shopper program with punch cards) that requires an email address, people are much more likely to give it than if you just ask.
4) Parish membership - knowing where your customers come from is essential to knowing if your bulletin ads work. You should make all of your print ads coupons so that you can track sales from the ads. If you can't track your advertising, you are throwing away your money.
5) Lay organization membership - if you know that a specific customer is a member of the Serra Club, you can recommend the latest book on vocations to that person knowing that you have a pretty good chance of getting a sale. If you know that the shopper is the diocesan head of Social Services, you can recommend the new Compendium of Catholic Social Teaching. If you don't know these things, you can't make informed recommendations that might lead to extra sales.
6) Customer interests - is your customer really into apologetics? Does your customer have a special devotion to St. Gianna? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to say "Hi Dave, we just got in a great new book on answering Fundamentalist attacks on Mary, would you like to see it?"
7) Customer concerns - if a customer says on one visit that her dad is in the hospital, wouldn't she appreciate being asked how dad is doing the next time she comes in?
8 ) Top customers - customers love being thanked for their business. Wouldn't it be nice if you could send a special gift to your best customers each year? We sent candy gift boxes with thank you notes to our top ten customers and best vendors last Thanksgiving. You would not believe the response we received.
9) Who do your customers know or work for - wouldn't it be a good thing to know that a particular customer is the parish secretary for a parish that you have been trying to get to notice you? Why not give her a special item to pass on to the pastor?
10) Why do your customers buy (or not buy) from you - knowing this will tell you if your business has a visible mission and also if there are things that your business needs to work on.
Why do your customers shop with you?