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Delivering excellent and responsive customer service is a top priority for Service Objects, from assigning a dedicated Customer Success Specialist to proactive monitoring and analysis of every account, the Service Objects team ensures maximum uptime while also providing fast and responsive service.

Service Objects Proves Customer Service Reigns Supreme with NPS Score of 65

Hitting a new all-time high for customer service, Service Objects recently earned a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 65, placing the company shoulder-to-shoulder with other tech industry leaders. With a score seven points higher than the industry average, this current achievement marks the fifth consecutive year Service Objects has attained a “best in class ranking.”

“We are proud to hit high marks for the fifth consecutive year, but we won’t rest on our laurels,” said Service Objects Founder and CEO Geoff Grow. “Addressing our customers’ needs and wants will always be a top priority, and we look forward to helping our clients grow and thrive in all their future endeavors.”

Best in Class for 5th Year

The Net Promoter Score measures customer feedback to create a numeric value representing brand loyalty. Difficult to achieve, a top NPS score means a company is held in high regard by clients and usually indicates a strong commitment to customer satisfaction and proactive, solution-focused service.

NPS measures customer satisfaction based on a 200-point scale ranging between -100 and +100, with scores over 50 considered “best in class.” Service Objects has maintained its outstanding rating for the past five years because of its continued commitment to 24/7/365 support, 99.999% server uptime, experience in validating over 3 billion contact records, and in-depth knowledge of the contact validation industry.

NPS and Customer Service: A Powerful Combination

In 2014, Service Objects launched its Customer Success Program with the goal of establishing a set of benchmarks and strategies designed to make sure clients get answers quickly and maximize their investment. Featuring intensive customer support, the Customer Success Program allows customers to become acquainted with their services and get up and running quickly.

From assigning a dedicated Customer Success Specialist to scheduling regular check-ins and initiating proactive monitoring and analysis of every account, Service Objects can ensure maximum uptime while also providing fast and responsive service. From day one, customers have access to ongoing customer support that includes quarterly check-ins, 24/7/365 emergency response, courtesy testing keys, and more.

Client Satisfaction a Top Priority

Service Objects continually measures its NPS score to gain a better understanding of the current level of satisfaction amongst its client base. With a 2018 NPS score of 65, the company has achieved a score higher than the industry average of 58. This latest NPS ranking once again places Service Objects in the top tier of the technology industry, above other well-known companies including Intel (52), Cisco (38), and Spotify (24).

“Delivering excellent and responsive customer service is a top priority for Service Objects,” Grow said. “We instill this belief into every customer touch point. It is rewarding to see our hard work pay off with continued positive customer feedback and a five-year streak of NPS scores that place us amongst the best in the industry.”

 

Instead of focusing on “cleaning dirty customer data,” organizations should focus on the connection between investments in data quality and customer service metrics.

Data Quality and Customer Experience

Once upon a time, customer service and support operations were viewed as the “complaint department” – a back-office function, a necessary evil, and above all a cost center whose role should be reduced as much as possible. These days, it has become increasingly clear that businesses must prioritize data quality. As Thomas Redman advised is a recent guest post, “Getting in front on data quality presents a terrific opportunity to improve business performance.”

While some organizations still have a break/fix mentality about customer support, the very best organizations now view their customer contact operations as the strategic voice of the customer – and leverage customer engagement as a strategic asset. Thanks to tools ranging from CRM and social media, many businesses manage their customer experience as closely as they manage their products and services.

The Strategic Role of Data Quality

This leads us to an important analogy about data quality. Like the “complaint department” days of customer service, many organizations still view data quality as little more than catching and fixing bad contact data. In reality, our experience with a base of nearly 2500 customers has taught that data quality plays a very strategic role in areas like cost control, marketing reach, and brand reputation in the marketplace.

This worldview is still evolving slowly. For example, according to a 2017 CIO survey by Talend, data quality and data governance remain the biggest concerns of IT departments, at 33 and 37 percent respectively – and yet their top priorities reflect more trendy objectives such as big data and real-time analytics. And back in 2012 Forrester vice president Kate Leggett observed that data quality often remains the domain of the IT department, and data projects for customer service rarely get funded.

Meanwhile, data quality has also become an important component of customer experience. Leggett notes that instead of an IT-driven process of “cleaning dirty customer data,” organizations should reframe the conversation towards the impact of data quality on customer-facing functions, and understand the connection between investments in data quality and customer service metrics.

Here at Service Objects, we see three key areas in the link between data quality and customer experience:

Customer Engagement

When you have good data integrated with effective CRM, you have the ability to market appropriately and serve customers responsively. You can target your messages to the right people, react responsively in real time to customer needs, and create systems that satisfy and delight the people you serve.

Service Failures

Mis-deliver a package because of a bad address, and you make a customer very unhappy. Do things like this even a small percentage of the time, and you gain a reputation as a company that doesn’t execute. Keep doing it and even many customers who haven’t been wronged yet will seek other options where possible, because of the “herd mentality” that builds around those who do complain publicly and on social media.

Strategic Visibility

Your customer data is an important asset that gives you the ability to analyze numerous aspects of your customer relationships and react appropriately. It holds the knowledge of everything from demographics to purchasing patterns, as well as their direct feedback through service and support. Having accurate customer data is central to leveraging this data strategically.

One heartening trend is that more organizations than ever now see the connection between data quality and their customer relationships. For example, one 2017 article in PharmExec.com cited a European customer data survey showing that nearly three-quarters of life sciences respondents feel that having a complete and real-time view of customers is a top priority – while only 40% are satisfied with how well they are doing this. We are seeing similar figures across other industries nowadays, and view this as a good sign that we are moving over time towards a smoother, more data-driven relationship between organizations and their customers.

Recognizing the vital role contact data quality plays in GDPR compliance, Service Objects is offering affected businesses a free data quality assessment.

Free Data Quality Assessment Helps Businesses Gauge GDPR Compliance Ahead of May Deadline

As the May 25, 2018, deadline looms, Service Objects, the leading provider of real-time global contact validation solutions, is offering a GDPR Data Quality Assessment to help companies evaluate their if they are prepared for the new set of privacy rules and regulations.

“Our goal is to help you get a better understanding of the role your client data plays in GDPR compliance,” says Geoff Grow, CEO and Founder, Service Objects. “With our free GDPR Data Quality Assessment, companies will receive an honest, third-party analysis of the accuracy of their contact records and customer database.”

Under the GDPR, personal data includes any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’ that can be used to identify the person directly or indirectly. It can be anything from a name, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer IP address.

Even if an organization is not based in the EU, it may still need to observe the rules and regulations of GDPR. That’s because the GDPR not only applies to businesses located in the EU but to any companies offering goods or services within the European Union. In addition, if a business monitors the behavior of any EU data subjects, including the processing and holding of personal data, the GDPR applies.

Recognizing the vital role contact data quality plays in GDPR compliance, Service Objects decided to offer a free data quality assessment to help those industries affected by the regulation measure the accuracy of their contact records and prepare for the May 2018 deadline.

The evaluation will include an analysis of up to 500 records, testing for accuracy across a set of inputs including name, phone, address, email, IP, and country. After the assessment is complete, a composite score will be provided, giving businesses an understanding of the how close they are to being compliant with GDPR’s Article 5.

Article 5 of the GDPR requires organizations collecting and processing personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU) to ensuring all current and future customer information is accurate and up-to-date. Not adhering to the rules and regulations of the GDPR can result in a fine of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is greater).

“To avoid the significant fines and penalties associated with the GDPR, businesses are required to make every effort to keep their contact data is accurate and up-to-date,” Grow added. “Service Objects’ data quality solutions enable global businesses to fulfill the regulatory requirements of Article 5 and establish a basis for data quality best practices as part of a broader operational strategy.”

 

For more information on how to get started with your free GDPR Data Quality Assessment, please visit our website today.

As the GDPR ushers in a new generation of consumer data privacy controls, the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal proves businesses need to prepare.

Facebook, Data Quality, and the GDPR

With 2.1 billion active users, Facebook presents an exceptional opportunity for targeted marketing and businesses interested in harnessing the power of consumer data. In fact, there are now entire industries devoted to collecting and selling personally identifiable information. Unfortunately, the swift expansion of social media, with its tantalizing trove of consumer information, has left lawmakers playing catch up. However, that’s about to change, thanks, in part, to the scandal surrounding Facebook and Cambridge Analytica and its intersection with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU law governing data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union.

The GDPR Effect 

Though the GDPR will not take effect until May 25, 2018, if the breach of 50 million user account had happened while the law was in place, it would have resulted in a costly error for Facebook. As Austrian privacy campaigner and Facebook critic Max Schrems was quick to point out, had the unauthorized the sharing of profile data to Cambridge Analytica occurred while the GDPR was in effect, it “would have cost Facebook 4 percent of their global revenue”, somewhere in the ballpark of $1.6bn (€1.3bn).

But even before the Cambridge-Analytica story grabbed headlines, GDPR implementation was set to trigger significant changes to Facebook’s business operations. According to Reuters, Facebook faces a double-edged challenge: comply with the new GDPR rules and allow European users to opt out of targeted advertising, or violate the GDPR and face fines of up to 4% of the company’s annual revenue.  Considering 24% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from EU users, either course of action represents a significant hit to profits for the company. And with global adoption of GDPR-type privacy protocols beginning to take hole around the world, Facebook and its social media cohorts will need to adapt to the changing consumer data landscape. 

A Global Movement

Though the EU primarily applies directly to data from EU citizens, it also controls the flow of personal data from within the EU to countries outside its borders. With US and UK legislation probable, this new era of data security means enormous changes in the way companies do business. As a result, international adoption of the GDPR’s privacy protocols is already taking hold around the world as counties begin to change their own data privacy rules. 

How Businesses Can Prepare

So how can business owners make sure they do not follow in Facebook’s footsteps? Companies entrusted with customer data must first acknowledge their responsibility in keeping that information secure. It is not enough to create a security protocol; organizations must also enforce and audit those policies. Robust and comprehensive quality analysis is also crucial, especially in light of the GDPR Article 5 mandate requiring the personal information of individuals within the European Union (EU) be current and accurate. Finally, the use of contact data, especially when it comes to combining information from different sources, should also be monitored. It is not enough to know your information is accurate; you must also make sure you are using it in the manner it was intended to be used, both legally and ethically.

The Benefits of Data Quality Best Practices

Though many businesses are still unprepared for the GDPR’s May 2018 deadline, it seems clear this latest scandal involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica will spur many businesses into action.

The good news is implementing data quality best practices to comply with Article 5 makes good business sense. It will save organizations considerable money in the form of streamlined marketing and sales campaigns, improve overall customer service and reduce the waste associated with bad contact data.

Service Objects can help you get a better understanding of the role your customer data plays in becoming GDPR compliant. Send us up to 500 records (it is a 100% secure process) and we will provide you with an overall score of the quality of each record based on fields such as name, phone, address, email, IP, and country. Get started today.

Service Objects Processes 3 Billion Transactions and Saves 1.6 Million Trees

In March 2018, Service Objects reached a major milestone in the company’s history by validating over 3 billion transactions. Since 2001, Service Objects has enabled businesses located around the world to validate their contacts’ name, location, phone, email address and device against hundreds of authoritative international data sources, all with the goal of reducing waste and fraud.

The fast-paced growth of the company, which has over 2,500 customers such as Amazon, LendingTree, American Express, MasterCard, and Verizon, has been an instrumental part of reaching this record number of transactions. Processing over 3 billion transactions is of particular significance to Service Objects because corporate conservation is one of the reasons the company was founded. The positive impact of achieving this milestone has had on the environment includes:

  • 193 million total pounds of paper saved
  • 6 million trees saved
  • 6 million gallons of oil saved
  • 670 million gallons of water saved
  • 393 million kilowatt hours of energy saved
  • 295 thousand cubic yards of landfill space saved

According to Geoff Grow, Founder and CEO of Service Objects, the idea to start Service Objects came from his desire to apply math and big data to the problem of waste caused by incorrect contact information. Surpassing the 3 billion transaction mark translates into saving 193 million pounds of paper. He would never have dreamed that 16 years ago Service Objects would be able to fulfill its commitment to corporate conservation in such a significant way.

Corporate conservation is embedded in the company’s culture, as evidenced by its commitment to recycling, using highly efficient virtualized servers, using sustainable wind power, purchasing sustainable office supplies, encouraging employees to bike to work and embracing a paperless philosophy. Every employee is conscious of how they can positively impact conservation efforts.

To read the entire Service Objects’ story, click here.

Data Quality and Compliance

For most people, regulatory compliance sounds about as exciting as doing your taxes. And this is actually a pretty good analogy, because compliance and taxes are both obligations that won’t go away if you ignore them.

According to a recent article in CIO Dive, being concerned about compliance is actually a good thing, because concerns about confidentiality and data security can seriously erode trust in your brand; nearly 80 percent of Internet users in the US now worry about privacy, and 84 percent worry about their data being hacked. So in a very real sense, your data quality should be an important part of your product marketing and customer service strategy.

But let’s take our initial analogy a step further. Tax software packages have largely automated the burden of doing your personal income taxes into a simple data entry exercise. In much the same way, Service Objects’ API capabilities can help you create automated processes that put much of the burden of compliance on autopilot. Let’s look at three specific areas where we can help.

TCPA. The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) requires businesses to protect consumers from unsolicited telephone marketing, particularly wireless users. Enforcement has increased and fines are steep, up to $1500 per call or text message. And since phone numbers change owners and line types constantly, you need an automated process to verify every phone contact for every phone-based marketing campaign, at both the time of data entry and the time of use.

Our DOTS GeoPhone Plus services can help keep you in compliance by verifying subscriber names against ones you have captured with valid consent, flagging the type of line (wireless, landline or VoIP), and providing a porting date so you can comply with TCPA’s 14-day deadline for incorporating changes. Learn more about our TCPA solutions here.

GDPR. If you do business with customers or prospects in the European Union (EU), their new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) ushers in strict rules for the privacy, security, and data quality of individual consumer data as or, including clearly documented you have made every effort to keep y0uor contact data as up-to-date and accurate as possible. Fines for non-compliance can range up to €20M or 4% of annual turnover.

Article 5 of GDPR requires consumer data to be accurate, to avoid unsolicited marketing to incorrect contact information. Our address, lead and email validation capabilities can check and update your contact data, and we can also create a Certificate of Accuracy (COA) for each of your contact records to document compliance efforts. To learn how we can help you comply with GDPR Article 5, get a free GDPR Quality Assessment here.

Connect America. The federal Connect America Fund helps underwrite the build-out of voice and broadband capacity in rural areas, allowing eligible carriers who serve them to recover some of their costs from the federal Universal Service Fund. This requires documentation and verification of the locations to be served, including latitude and longitude.

Service Objects’ HUBB-compliant geolocation data can uncover more eligible locations and multi-unit sites at a fraction of the cost of physical surveys, and is guaranteed to be accepted by the FCC. Previous customers have reported discovering 20-50% more eligible locations using our capabilities, including getting funding for multiple units at a single location. To learn more about our capabilities to support Connect America, visit this page.

Here is a closing thought. As we mentioned at the beginning of this blog, few people get excited about compliance efforts. But we do! And we think that you should too. Why? Because many of these regulatory efforts are hallmarks of a new era in marketing, away from interruptive marketing and towards a new era of authentic customer engagement. We feel that organizations who take the lead in this direction will not only avoid non-compliance penalties, but succeed much better in the marketplace of the 21st century. It is an exciting time full of opportunity – and we can help you get there.

Is Your Data Quality Strategy Gold Medal Worthy?

A lot of you – like many of us here are Service Objects – are enjoying watching the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea this month. Every Olympics is a spectacle where people perform incredible feats of athleticism on the world stage.

Watching these athletes reminds us of how much hard work, preparation, and teamwork go into their success. Most of these athletes spend years behind the scenes perfecting their craft, with the aid of elite coaches, equipment, and sponsors. And the seemingly effortless performances you see are increasingly becoming data-driven as well.

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to put ourselves on the same pedestal as Olympic medalists. But many of the same traits behind successful athletes do also drive reliable real-time API providers for your business. Here are just a few of the qualities you should look for:

The right partners. You probably don’t have access to up-to-the-minute address and contact databases from sources around the world. Or a database of over 400 million phone numbers that is constantly kept current. We do have all of this, and much more – so you can leverage our infrastructure to assure your contact data quality.

The right experience. The average Olympic skater has invested at least three hours a day in training for over a decade by the time you see them twirling triple axels on TV, according to Forbes. Likewise, Service Objects has validated nearly three billion transactions since we were founded in 2001, with a server uptime reliability of 99.999 percent.

The right strategy. In sports where success is often measured in fractions of a second, gold medals are never earned by accident: athletes always work against strategic objectives. We follow a strategy as well. Our tools are purpose-built for the needs of over 2500 customers, ranging from marketing to customer service, with capabilities such as precise geolocation of tax data, composite lead quality scores based on over 130 criteria, or fraud detection based on IP address matching. And we never stop learning and growing.

The right tools. Olympic athletes need the very best equipment to be competitive, from ski boots to bobsleds. In much the same way our customers’ success is based around providing the best infrastructure, including enterprise-grade API interfaces, cloud connectors and web hooks for popular CRM, eCommerce and marketing automation platforms, and convenient batch list processing.

The right support. No one reaches Olympic success by themselves – every athlete is backed by a team of coaches, trainers, sponsors and many others. We back our customers with an industry-leading support team as well, including a 24×7 Quick Response Team for urgent mission-critical issues.

The common denominator between elite athletes and industry-leading data providers is that both work hard to be the best at what they do and aren’t afraid to make big investments to get there. And while we can’t offer you a gold, silver, or bronze medal, we can give you a free white paper on how to make your data quality hit the perfect trifecta of being genuine, accurate and up-to-date. Meanwhile, enjoy the Olympics!

Why Our Customers Love Data Quality

Every year, February 14th is a time when our thoughts turn to things like true love, flowers, chocolates … and data quality.

In fact, there is more in common between these things than you might think. If you look at the history of Valentine’s Day, St. Valentine’s intention was to protect his fellow man. In ancient Rome, St. Valentine accomplished this by secretly marrying couples so that the husbands would not have to go to war. This is how his name became synonymous with love and marriage. Along those lines, Service Objects tries to also help our fellow man– admittedly less romantically – by ensuring your data accuracy, automating regulatory compliance, and protecting you from fraud.

Nowadays, our customers love how our data quality solutions solve the following problems:

High quality contact data. When you communicate with your prospects or customers, the cost directly links to the accuracy and validity of your contact list. When you automate the quality of this contact data – often your biggest and most valuable data asset – the ROI will warm the hearts of the toughest CFOs.

Lead validation. Does she love me or does she not? Better to find out early in the relationship whether she gave you a fake email address, bad contact information, or is otherwise giving you the slip, with validation tools that check over 130 data points to give you a numerical rating of lead quality.

Delivery accuracy. Nothing will make your customers fall out of love with you quicker than misdirected deliveries – even though in the US alone, 40 million of them don’t help matters by changing their addresses every year, while many others mistype their address at the time they order. When you automatically verify these addresses against continually updated postal databases, you help ensure a good relationship.

Compliance strategies. When government regulators come calling, they aren’t bringing you flowers. New rules on consumer privacy in the US and Europe have changed the game of outbound marketing, including stiff financial penalties for non-compliance, and sales tax policies are constantly changing. Automated compliance verification tools can help prevent problems from happening in the first place, and also provide quantifiable proof of your efforts.

Fraud prevention. Cupid isn’t the only one aiming his arrows at you. Fraudsters are constantly trying to separate you from your inventory and money, particularly during your busiest periods. We can help with solutions ranging from address, BIN, email and IP validation to tools that provide you an overall order quality score, to help keep the bad guys out.

Finally, it turns out we have one other connection to St. Valentine. In Italy, he is still commemorated by a charm known as St. Valentine’s Key, which is supposed to unlock the hearts of lovers. We have a key for you as well: a free trial key to any of our API products, yours for the asking. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Three Building Blocks to Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Compliance

Is your business ready for the GDPR? On May 25, 2018 a sweeping change in global consumer privacy, one that will fundamentally change the way companies around the world perform outbound marketing, will become law. This is the date that enforcement commences for the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), governing the use of personal data for over 500 million EU residents. US companies who market to customers or prospects in Europe will now face strict regulations surrounding the use and storage of consumer data, backed by potentially hefty revenue-based fines.

However, recent studies have shown that many businesses are woefully unprepared for GDPR, which will require changes ranging from point-of-entry data validation to the management of changing contact information. So, what is a good way to get started on the road to compliance? Start with these three building blocks.

For most organizations, GDPR compliance pivots around three fundamental building blocks: consent management, data protection, and data quality.

The first two of these building blocks will revolve around process change for most organizations. In the first case, consent management means that you will now need to prove that you have permission to use someone’s personal data for marketing purposes, and maintain records of this permission.

There are no exceptions to this rule for previously captured data, which means that consent may need to be re-acquired under mechanisms acceptable under GDPR. This also extends to providing easy and accessible ways for consumers to reverse this permission, extending all the way to Europe’s concept of “the right to be forgotten”—requiring you to erase all traces of a person’s contact information if requested by a consumer.

The second building block, data protection, involves deploying processes—and possibly specific people—designed to protect consumers’ personal data from unauthorized disclosure.

At a process level, this means that organizations will need to show that they have safeguards in place against personal data being stolen or misused. One popular approach for this involves pseudonomization, where key personal information is kept separate and secure until actual use. Unlike anonymization, where ownership of data cannot be reconstructed, pseudonomiization allows certain identifying characteristics to be used as a “password” to combine other separately-stored components of information at the time of use.

If your organization is large enough, GDPR may also require the formal role of a Data Protection Officer (DPO), with dedicated responsibilities within an organization for protecting personal data. The specific criteria for needing a DPO is “large-scale systematic monitoring of individuals,” along with more specific situations such as public authorities and organizations handling large scale data processing of criminal convictions. With or without a formal DPO, companies will be expected to have a documented game plan for protecting consumer information.

Finally, data quality serves as the third building block. Once upon a time incorrect, fraudulent or changing contact records were seen as an annoyance, or perhaps an unavoidable expense—and if people received unsolicited marketing materials or contacts as a result, it was their problem to endure or resolve. Today, in the era of GDPR, data quality issues can lead to compliance problems with serious financial consequences. This means that data must be verified and corrected, both at the point of entry and time of use.

Of all three of these building blocks, data quality is the one area that is probably represents the largest ongoing responsibility for most organizations. Thankfully, it is also the one that is the most amenable to automation.

Interested in finding out more about the role contact data plays in Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)? Visit our GDPR Solutions page, which contains a variety of resources that explain the key principles of GDPR compliance for contact data, and how automated data quality tools can protect your marketing efforts in the European marketplace.