Characteristics provide an easy way to add layers of user-defined information which you can later access for reporting purposes. For example, let's say you want to keep track of birthdays for your most important clients. To do this, create a contact characteristic for birthdays. Then, in the value field for each, insert the contact's date of birth. After this information has been entered, you can run a contact report to see all your contacts' birthdays. Characteristics can be used in many other ways, too—to configure items at the point of sale, to characterize details of sales opportunities, and more.