Clean Customer Data: Far More Important Than You Think

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As many marketers increasingly realise, at the heart of every good decision is quality, reliable data.

Unfortunately, a sizable number are either unaware of or have lost sight of the fact that high-quality data is a key contributor to business success.

With the vast majority of marketers still working remotely without the distraction of a busy office, they have the opportunity to take a step back and look at their organisation. This means seriously consider changes to working practices, particularly those related to their customer data if they are serious about future growth as the pandemic starts to abate.

Accurate customer data for growth

Customer data is one of the most valuable assets marketers have, which, if maintained and used correctly can help them to prevent customer churn, drive revenue and thrive in an extremely challenging marketplace. Having clean and verified customer data is particularly important when, on average, customer data degrades at 2% each month and 25% over the course of a year.

Clean customer data helps avoid expensive misdeliveries of communications and products – and therefore the delivery of poor customer experience – important when it costs five times more to acquire a customer than retain one. It also facilitates marketers in obtaining accurate valuable customer insight, such as a single customer view (SCV), they can use for better targeting and inform processes such as new product development.
Fortunately, data that is simply incorrect, such as a customer name, address, email or telephone number, can be easily fixed. Procedures can be put in place with the right tools to ensure customer data is perfect, which often merely requires simple and cost-effective changes to their data quality routine – in effect going back to basics with the data. These practices should involve cleansing and standardising held customer data to deliver data quality in batch, and as new data is collected in real-time, to enable a seamless customer onboarding experience. They should also ideally enhance customer data by adding missing contact details as part of the cleaning process.

Address autocomplete

A good starting point to gather accurate address data in real-time is to use an address autocomplete service. Such tools are increasingly vital in an age when many consumers are completing contact forms on small mobile screens where they are more liable to make mistakes. It’s worth noting that approximately 20% of addresses entered online contain errors including spelling mistakes, wrong property numbers, and inaccurate postcodes. This can cause big issues in terms of customer communications and the delivery of products and services.

Another key benefit of an address autocomplete service is that it enables marketers to deliver standout customer service by reducing the number of keystrokes required—by up to 70%—when typing an address. This speeds up the checkout process and reduces the probability of the consumer not completing the purchase.

Verify customer data

To ensure clean data, and at the same time protect against fraud, be more stringent with customer checks and verification. This is an important approach for brands to take with an increasing number of data breaches, along with criminals posing as legitimate consumers.

Effective customer verification requires brands to match a particular name to a specific physical address, telephone or email, ideally in real-time at the customer onboarding stage, to deliver a standout user experience. It also ensures brands meet know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) regulations and prevent fraud.

To achieve this requires access to a global dataset of billions of records containing data from trusted country-specific reference sources, such as credit agency, government agency, utility company and international watchlist data. A further benefit is such a dataset can be used to verify the end user’s age to ensure they are legally entitled to the product or service offered.

Stop costly duplicate data

Another key part of a marketer’s back to basics data quality effort involves the removal of duplicate data. Duplicate data is not only costly in terms of time and money when communicating with customers, but it can also adversely affect reputation. By receiving two mailings in their name, with one spelled incorrectly, it can demonstrate a lack of understanding as to who your customer is and what their needs are. Just as importantly it can also impact on the delivery of a SCV.
To prevent this, source an advanced fuzzy matching tool to deduplicate data. By using such a service and merging and purging the most difficult records you save money with customer communications, improve the customer experience and effectively deduce a SCV. It’s a very important approach for larger organisations to take because they may have accumulated many different databases over time through acquisitions and mergers.

Time to change the mindset

While it’s not possible to control the external forces such as macroeconomy and pandemics that are making the working environment extremely difficult, brands have the ability to control their own destinies when it comes to improving business practices in these challenging times. Doing so requires them to go back to basics by investing in the fundamental business processes that are vital to commercial success, particularly data quality, cleansing, verification and deduplication services. Focusing on optimum data quality provides brands with a competitive advantage, putting them in a position to emerge from the current crisis with minimal customer churn and strong growth.


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