End-of-Life Products and Aging Contact Data

Old technology products never die – and sometimes, they don’t even fade away. For example, did you know that according to some estimates, more than 25 million people are still running Windows XP from nearly 20 years ago?

But at some point, it isn’t economically – or even technically – feasible to support an aging hardware or software product forever. This is why “sunsetting,” or having a process in place for a product’s end-of-life, is an important part of the overall product planning process. And a key part of this process is having the ability to give legacy customers ample notice of these changes.

Sunsetting: A customer contact issue

Sunsetting is both an economic and a marketing decision, balancing revenues, product life cycle, and often a growing support burden. And much like a marriage, customer relationships for products often carry obligations. Customers come to depend on your products for their business or other uses, and these customer relationships often depend on advance notice and continuity for their operations.

This means being able to contact your product’s existing customers, many of whom may have purchased your product many years ago. According to one detailed guide to product sunsetting, “Communicating with customers about a product phase-out is one of the most important steps in the end-of-life process … Don’t make them feel like the tool they’re using is being suddenly ripped out from under them.”

Automating legacy contact data quality

It isn’t a question of whether your customer contacts are out-of-date: industry figures show that B-to-B contact data normally decays at a rate of 30 percent per year. When you multiply that by the length of a typical product life span, end-of-life notification raises serious data quality issues that require automated solutions.

Fortunately, Service Objects’ automated cloud-based suite of contact data validation tools can help solve your contact data decay problems. Here are some of the services available:

  • DOTS Address Validation for verifying, correcting and appending mailing addresses for US, Canadian and international addresses.
  • DOTS NCOA Live linking with official USPS change-of-address data to keep your contact addresses up to date.
  • DOTS Email Validation for verifying and correcting email addresses from anywhere in the world.
  • DOTS GeoPhone for providing detailed contact record data, line type and porting information for over 400 million US & Canadian landline, VOIP and mobile phone numbers

Legacy customer notification efforts often involve repeated contacts, so we offer multiple convenient ways to clean your data, from list processing options for entire databases to real-time API interfaces with most popular business automation platforms. And every Service Objects service comes with expert implementation assistance, 24/7 technical support, and the industry’s only financially-backed service level guarantee of 99.999% uptime.

The consequences of incorrect or missed notification for sunsetting products can include lost sales opportunities, support issues, and customer dissatisfaction. By proactively communicating with customers using accurate, up-to-date contact information, you can protect your brand reputation – and help make your products’ end-of-life a new beginning.