Picture this: you’re making a follow-up call to a customer regarding a sales inquiry they made a couple of days ago. You find out, however, that two other members of your team had already contacted them and they’re now starting to get pretty irate with all the phone calls.
You quickly scan the customer’s activity history but can’t find any record of the two follow-up calls they told you about. After a bit of digging, you find out that there are three different contact records for the same customer in your CRM system, and each of them had been assigned to different agents!
Keeping a clean and organized contact list in your CRM would have prevented this scenario and the wasted time and effort that comes with it.
Here’s a quick look at the different ways you can clean up your data in WORKetc.
Smartlists and Tags
Tags are a quick and easy way to segment your contacts into groups and organize them more efficiently. When you’re looking to clean up a bunch of tagged contacts, you can use them to quickly filter and search through your contact list.
The “Email Bounced” default system tag can be especially useful here. This tag is applied automatically to a contact if an email sent to them is returned as undeliverable.
As with all tags, you can easily create a smartlist of all contacts with the “Email Bounced” tag and start updating your contact records accordingly. An even faster way is simply to filter your contact list using tags. If you don’t see the tag you want to filter for, just click “more” at the end of the visible tags list.
Since you can create as many tags as you want in WORKetc, you should consider creating a “For Deletion” or similar tag and apply it to contacts that you have deemed unneeded. These may be duplicates, dummy contacts that you created while testing the system, or contacts with just outright bad data.
You can then filter for all contacts with a “For Deletion” tag at a later time and start getting rid of them.
Deleting multiple contacts in one go is straightforward. First, filter your contact list to find the contacts that you want to delete from the system. A “For Deletion” tag or similar, as suggested above, will make this part go much quicker.
Let’s say you’ve given 50 duplicate or dummy contacts the “For Deletion” tag. The contact list will normally show all available contacts in the system by default. By clicking “more” and choosing the “For Deletion” tag in the Tags field next to the contact list search box, you can filter the list to show only those contacts with the “For Deletion” tag.
Once your contact list is filtered to your liking, select which contact records you want to delete by clicking the checkbox to the left of the contact name.
You can also use the checkbox at the top of the contact list, right below the search box, to select all contacts in the list with one click. You’d better be sure that all the contacts displayed in the list are okay to delete, though!
Once all the contacts you want to delete have been selected, just click the downward-facing arrow next to the “select all” checkbox and click “Delete” in the drop-down menu that appears.
The Contact Removal Tool (accessible through the Contacts drop-down menu on the main WORKetc toolbar) is another easy way to mass-delete unneeded contacts.
This tool allows you to quickly select which contacts are to be deleted according to their tags. Clicking on the “For Deletion” tag, for example, will immediately select all contacts with that tag. You can also just click the checkbox next to “Contact” at the top of the contact list to select all contacts.
Note that the Contact Removal Tool will permanently delete contacts from the system. Any invoices, transactions, and other items related to these deleted contacts will become orphaned, so make sure you’re deleting only those contacts you are really ready to delete.
Since this is a permanent and irreversible deletion, it’s highly recommended that you restrict access to this function under Settings > Permissions. For extra safety, you can even disable this function on your own record just to make sure no accidental deletions occur.
When importing data into WORKetc, there are times when you accidentally end up with multiple contact records for the same person. This usually happens when that person has multiple email addresses.
For example, there might be two separate contact records for one person named Michael Smith, with one record tied to his work email address, email@example.com, while the other is tied to his personal email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Situations like this are annoying, but they can be fixed easily enough. One method is to manually add all the email addresses associated with the contact to one record.
In the scenario above, for example, you can add “email@example.com” to the contact record tied to Michael Smith’s work email simply by hovering over the contact record’s primary email, clicking the pencil icon that appears next to it, and then clicking the “Add new email” link.
Once done, you can then go ahead and delete the contact record associated with his personal email address.
What if you want to add not just his personal email address to the contact record you want to keep, but any and all items in the personal contact record’s activity history as well? Then it’s time to merge the two contacts.
There are two ways of doing this. First, open the contact record that you want to merge from, which in this case would be the one with Michael Smith’s personal email address. Click on the “Manage Contact” drop-down at the top right and select “Merge”.
You’ll then get a menu where you can select which contact you want to merge into — in this case, the contact record associated with Michael Smith’s work email address. Once you’re done, just click the “Merge” button. It’s that easy.
Alternatively, you can merge multiple contacts via the contact list. This is particularly useful when you’re merging more than two contacts into one.
Again, the first step is selecting which contacts you want to merge from. Then, click on the downward-facing arrow at the top of the contacts list and select “Merge”. On the next menu, select which contact you want to merge the selected contacts into and click “Merge”, and you’re done.
By taking the time and effort to clean up your CRM’s contact list, you minimize run the risk of ending up with a disorganized and overwhelming system that, instead of helping you, ends up hindering your efforts to grow your business.
Garbage in, garbage out, or so the saying goes, so always make sure your data is as clean as possible.
It would be really good if WORK[etc] could offer a ‘duplicate/possible merge’ filter option, like the way android’s contact system works. That way you could do a quick check BEFORE a problem arises. Or maybe even a ’empty contact’ filter that only shows contact with no/limited information (i.e. ones with no details but a name).
For a large DB I find the most effective way is to export to a .csv and then scrub that file with spreadsheet program and finally re-import the file.
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Thanks for the tips. Keeping our database clean is a never ending task. In order to preserve links to emails, projects, invoices and such related to old contacts, we have learned to be very careful about deleting contacts or even updating contact info. If a person were to move to a new employer, for example, we’d put an “inactive” tag on the old record (preserving all old linkages) and create a new record with new employment info. We are especially careful about not deleting old employee records as they are usually linked to numerous projects, invoices and such in the system.
It is also a great idea to place all email addresses associated with a person in one record so that any correspondence can be linked to one person in one record.
We find that running a report to see all new users created once per week helps to keep an eye on things and update any accounts required.
We then run the same report between specific dates to keep an eye on old data, this is a pretty good use of Work[etc]’s Smart Lists.
Smartlists are critical in our daily operations!
Thanks for sharing the tips – Haven’t thought about the – “Email bounced” tag – just found we’ve got a whole bunch of people under that tag to go through.
What I’m finding though is contact clean up is a lot easier than Task clean up 🙂
We have a lot of templated projects that when they are created and sub-projects are deleted – the tasks in sub-projects stay and add to the overall list of To-do’s – is there a way to delete tasks along with sub-projects?
I use the tags and merge very often. It’s nice because it keeps the data in the system but organizes it better. It is easy to view.