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Blog: Minimizing Financial Clutter
52 WEEKS TO FINANCIAL ORGANIZATION - #37: Customer Files



Keeping track of your customers is critical to the financial success of your business. So your customer files are not the place for disorganization in your office.
 
What goes in your customer files?
Regardless of the nature of your business, you will need to capture the following information about your customers in an organized system:
         Contact information
         Contract or letter of agreement
         Records of sales:  estimates, orders, invoices, sales receipts, and credits
         Correspondence
         Notes
 
Paper vs. electronic files
You will probably need both kinds of files.  Even the most "paperless" offices will likely have at least some customer papers that will need a place to live.  I recommend that you maintain parallel customer files in paper format and electronic format.  That way, you'll know that what you're looking for will be in one of two places!
 
Paper files:  The lowly file folder works just fine for customer paper files.  I organize my customer paper files by stapling the customer's contact information sheet on the inside left side of the folder, and the customer's signed letter of agreement on the inside right side of the folder.  Inside the folder are sales receipts, correspondence and my notes.  File your customer files alphabetically for easy retrieval.
 
Electronic files:  Contact management software, such as ACT! allows you to keep all of your e-mails, documents, and contact information in one electronic "place" in your computer.  Each customer will have his or her own "record", in which you'll keep all of the data related to that customer. 
 
If you are not using such software, however, you'll need to set up an electronic file folder for documents and for e-mails to and from each customer.   Don't fall into the habit of storing them in your general "My Documents" file or your e-mail "Inbox".  Here's an example of how I store my electronic customer files:
 
                                My Documents
                                Business
                                                Customers
                                                                Alexander, Alice
                                                                Bennett, Betty
                                                                Campbell, Chris
                                                                etc.
 
After I answer my customers' e-mails, I drag them from my e-mail Inbox into each client's e-mail folder:
 
                Customers
                                Alexander, Alice
                                Bennett, Betty
                                Campbell, Chris
                                etc.
 
Customer files need not be complicated but they do need to exist!
 
Your Homework for This Week:
         If you don't have customer files, set them up according to the guidelines above.
         If you do have customer files set up, use this week to organize the contents for easy retrieval.
 
                                               
                               
 
 

posted on: 10/25/2009 11:30:00 AM by Katherine Trezise
category: Finances


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Discuss This Post


by Karen on 10/27/2009 3:26:55 PM:

I was meant to read this post today! My office is a mess and it needs help. In the 5 minutes it took me to read this I now know what to do.


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Minimizing Financial Clutter


by Katherine Trezise

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About Katherine:

Katherine Trezise is president of Absolutely Organized, based in Baltimore, MD. She is president-elect of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Katherine holds a masters degree in business administration, is a Certified Professional Organizer® and a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®. Absolutely Organized specializes in helping people organize their homes, paperwork and financial records to make room in their lives for the things, people and activities that are most important to them.

Katherine's Website:

www.absolutely-organized.com




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