Lewis Healthworks Customer Management System
It is incredibly important to “know your customer” and my database will allow for this. In addition, the centre will potentially make more money, as they will be able to advertise classes in a more direct manner, as they will have a target audience, thanks to the customer information held on the database. The database package I will be using is Microsoft Access, which is part of Microsoft Office 2000. This program is very widely used among businesses and comes as standard with the vast majority of computers on the market. It is also extremely easy to use.
Furthermore, it will be sensible to stick to Microsoft, as the spreadsheet that I have already created for Lewis Healthworks was produced in Microsoft Excel. I will be using a Pentium III network computer and a laser printer, as this will allow me to produce high quality print out of a database. Furthermore, I will be using a RAM, which takes up 128k, and a Hardisk, which takes up 10Gb. There are two types of database – flat file and relational. A flat file database consists of only one set of data and is very simple. Examples of flat file databases are Pinpoint and Microsoft Works.
A relational database is more complex and it is the one I will be using. It is very powerful, and can hold large amounts of data that can be accessed in many different ways. Microsoft Access is an example of a relational database. In larger databases, where many users are accessing the data at the same time, complex software, called DBMS (Database Management System) are required. However, I am unlikely to require this because Lewis Healthworks is a relatively small organisation which does not employ many people, therefore the chances of the database being accessed by more than three people at one time are very low.
There are many features of a database that will help me to solve my initial problem. The main features of a database include: File: This is the whole Healthworks database. Access can hold a large number of files. Record: This is one aspect of the file, for example information on one particular customer. The fact that every customer will have an individual record will allow for a higher level of organisation. Field: These will be he categories that customer information will be sorted into. For example, date of birth and addresses.
This will organise the information efficiently as well as making it easier to compare customers. There is also the aspect of field types to be considered. This is because information can be stored as numeric, text, date or pictures. This will have to be pre-set before the information is entered. Sorting: MS Access provides a variety of possibilities for sorting information. For example, information can be sorted according to customer identification numbers, or even simply alphabetical order.
This makes it easier to find a particular record whilst increasing the level of organisation. Sorts are often in either ascending or descending order. Queries: These are a major advantage of a database package. They interrogate the database and search for a piece of specific information. Basically, it is like asking the database a question. This will be very useful if, for example, I am advertising children’s parties. I would be able to do a query, and find out what members have families. I would then only send of the adverts to the relevant families, thus saving time and money.
Forms: These are the data entry forms and I am able to decide what data is required for each customer. Validation Checks: These are designed to check the accuracy of the data. They rely on only limiting the type of data that can be entered into a field. For example, for the “sex” field, the computer can be programmed to accept only “M” for male and “F” for female. Any other data would be rejected. This would avoid any mistakes. These are the main features of a database and are the primary reasons why I have chosen a database package as opposed to, for example, a spreadsheet package.
A spreadsheet would not have the same level of organisation and efficiency. In addition, databases are easy to use and are capable of storing a great deal of information, and this is ultimately what I want to do – store information and specific details. There is no doubt in my mind, that a database is the most suitable package for solving the problem. It is important to hold information of customers because this will come in useful when advertising. Lewis Healthworks need to know their customers well; it is the key to a successful business.
The customer data will come from the customers filling out their details in a form that will then be entered into the computer by an employee. Although this will be time consuming, the information will only have to be entered in once, thus being more efficient in the long run. It is important to hold information on classes that Lewis Healthworks offer because when customers want to book a certain class, they need to know when and what is available. This will be presented in a clear manner, much more organised than if it was on paper.
It is also useful to know what members are attending what class because this will provide Lewis with extra background information. Furthermore, it will inform Lewis what classes are popular. Discount schemes could also be introduced for members that attend classes regularly. This information too can be deduced from this database. Overall, these three databases can be cross-examined to have detailed information on the customers and the classes. This will be of great advantage to Lewis Healthworks and help them a great deal in maximising their business.