Dealing with your database: The Key to Building Strong Relationships

Reputation management is all about building and fostering relationships. When it comes to growing your business and reputation, one of the easiest things to do is to build closer relationships with your key stakeholders. However, all too often, organisations find themselves tripped up by a poorly managed database.


Take a moment to reflect: if you had to share urgent news with your closest alliances – employees, customers, the media, and suppliers – in response to a crisis, how confident are you in the state of your database?


Is it easy to access?

Is it up to date?

Does it include specific and correct information for everyone, rather than generic email addresses like info@... or helpdesk@... that are likely to be routed to a bot?


Consider this: do you know the best communication channels for reaching each of your stakeholders? Is it email, WhatsApp, or a phone call? If it's the latter, do you have the correct contact numbers saved, so you can quickly send out multiple WhatsApp messages?


Failing to communicate quickly enough, especially during a crisis, to the right people can have a massive reputational risk for you and your business. Your database shouldn't only become a priority when a crisis occurs. Frantically searching for key contact details during a crisis can be disastrous and costly.


It's crucial to make time to declutter and organize your databases. Neglecting your database and engaging with the wrong people will waste a significant amount of your precious time. Moreover, engaging with the wrong people can also pose a reputational risk. Every individual on your database should have provided their consent according to the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). Additionally, they should be given a way to opt out of future communication. This can all be easily implemented with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

If you currently don't use a CRM, consider investing in one. Business is all about forming relationships, and keeping track of these relationships is key to building your business.

As mentioned earlier, avoid using generic email addresses. Personalizing communication can make a big difference compared to receiving a generic 'Good day' email. Make sure that names and surnames are spelled correctly. Nothing is as irksome as receiving correspondence with your name spelled incorrectly. It might also be beneficial to keep a record of stakeholders' birthdays, as this could serve as a good touchpoint to reach out and connect during the year.

Databases are particularly crucial when conducting research. Having up-to-date databases can greatly impact the success of your project, the quality of the data, and the turnaround times. If you have an up-to-date database that you frequently engage with, stakeholders will be more likely to provide you with reliable feedback. At Reputation Matters, our core business is quantifying value – whether it's reputation, internal climate, or brand identity – for our clients. A big stumbling block that causes the most delays in getting a research project completed isn’t the questionnaire, data analysis or reporting, the biggest delays are usually caused by poorly set up and maintained databases. A lot of time gets wasted fixing databases. It’s quite frustrating for all parties, when you are keen to get the results in, just to put the whole project on hold to update the database with the correct format and contact information, something that could have been avoided if regular updates of the databases were done.