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Thoughts on Data Quality and Contact Validation

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Posts Tagged ‘Contact Validation’

What Does API Really Mean?

API stands for Application Program Interface. It is a way for software to communicate with each other based on specific inputs and outputs. API’s are everywhere, nearly any application in existence can use them. One API can even utilize one or more other API’s as well. What an API is has been defined and explained in any number of Google search results. What I want to talk about is what an API really is.

It is a way to reuse existing code. Writing reusable code is often a high consideration when developers write code. If you are going to need a specific functionality over and over again, why recreate the wheel? Well, that is just what APIs help developers avoid, as well as making code more understandable and enabling them to be more productive, resulting in saved time and money.

The interchangeable nature of API’s makes switching one API out for another relatively simple. The cost of improving complex segments of code is almost as simple as unplugging a broken toaster and plugging in a new one.

The beauty of APIs is that they allow your organization’s developers to do what they do best. They don’t need to be an expert in everything. Often organizations can be sent on wild goose chases trying to figure out solutions that they are not experts in. At Service Objects, we want your business to continue being an expert at what you do and let us be your expert in the field of contact validation. Why attempt to do the heavy lifting of trying to solve a problem that is not in your wheel house? Without spending an enormous amount of time and money, there is little chance that you will be able to reproduce the code that another API can give you out of the box.

At Service Objects, we have been developing our services since 2001, so when someone is purchasing any of our 23 APIs, they are using over 16 years of cumulative knowledge and expertise. And on top of that, we are going to keep learning and improving on our services so that our customers don’t have to. What this means is that your organization can be using the best code available in your applications and leverage the best practices we have developed without being an expert in the field of data validation.

For more information, or to obtain a free trial key for any of Service Objects’ Data Validation APIs, click here.

Launching a New Ecommerce Site? Don’t Forget Data Quality Tools

Online commerce is huge nowadays – to the tune of over $400 billion dollars a year in the United States alone in 2017, at a growth rate up to three times that of retail in general. Barriers to entry are lower than ever, ecommerce platforms have become simpler to use and less expensive than ever, and the convenience of e-commerce has grown to encompass businesses of every size. Above all, purchasing goods online has become ubiquitous among today’s consumers.

Whether you are looking to launch a simple shopping cart using platforms like WordPress’ WooCommerce, Shopify or Magento, or an enterprise solution like Microsoft’s Commerce Server or IBM’s WebSphere Commerce, it can still be a minefield for the uninitiated. Here are some of the risks that every online seller takes every day:

Fraud. Filling orders from fraudulent sources costs you both revenue and time – and according to Javelin Research, identity fraud alone totals over $18 billion per year in the US. And the bad guys particularly love to target novice sellers.

Fulfillment. Every online order starts a chain of activities – from billing to shipment – that depend on the quality of your contact data. Credit card processing often requires accurate address data, and one misdirected shipment can wipe out the profit margin of many other sales – not to mention the reputational damage it can do.

Marketing. According to the Harvard Business Review, the cost of acquiring a new customer ranges from 5 to 25 times the cost of selling to an existing customer. This means that your contact database is the key to follow-on sales, brand awareness and long-term profitability. Which also means that bad contact data – and the rate at which this contact data decays– cuts straight to your bottom line.

Tax issues. Did you know that tax rates can vary from one side of a street to the other? Or that some states have passed or are considering an “internet tax” out-of-state sellers? Tax compliance, and avoiding the penalties that come with incorrect sales tax rates, is a fact of life for any online business.

The common denominator between each of these issues? Data quality. And thankfully, these problems can all be mitigated inexpensively nowadays, with tools that fit right in with your current contact management strategy. Some of the solutions available today from Service Objects include:

  • A suite of tools for fraud prevention, including address, email and telephone verification, lead validation that scores prospects on a scale of 0-100, credit card validation, and IP address validation – so you know when an order for a customer in Utah is placed from Uzbekistan.
  • Shipping address validation tools that verify addresses against up-to-date real-time data from the USPS and Canada Post, to make sure your products go to the right place every time.
  • Email verification capabilities that perform over 50 tests, including auto-correcting common domain errors and yielding an overall quality score – improving your marketing effectiveness AND preventing your mail servers from being blacklisted.
  • Real-time tax rate assessment that validates your addresses, and then provides accurate sales and use tax rates at any jurisdictional level.

Each of these capabilities are available in several convenient formats, ranging from APIs for your applications to batch processing of contact lists. Whichever form you choose, automated data tools can quickly make the most common problems of online commerce a thing of the past.

The Letter that Continues to Arrive

Before moving to my current home, making sure I completed a change of address form with the Post Office was on the top of my “to do” list.  Although most mail received these days is typically coupons and business advertisements, I looked forward to receiving the first piece of mail with my name and new address on the envelope. What can I say… I appreciate the little things in life.

Well, the first time I checked the mail I found a letter addressed to the prior resident. As I had recently filled out my own change of address form at the post office I understood it would take some time for each other’s information to be updated and anticipated this would continue happening for a bit. As expected, I began receiving mail addressed with my name soon after. However, years later I’m still getting the same letter from one particular storage company for the prior resident.

Cost of Just One Letter 3

At first, I tried writing “Not at This Address,” “Moved, Left No Forwarding Address” and “Return to Sender” on the letters. After a couple months I realized this did not work. The next thing I tried was calling the storage company. I thought the human element of speaking to someone over the phone and explaining the situation would resolve the case of this never ending letter. This also did not work and actually seemed to make it worse.

As I mentioned previously, the bulk of my mail (like many other people) consists of coupons and advertisements addressed to “current resident” which are seemingly impossible to stop. Along with these, the never ending letter from this storage center started taking the excitement out of checking my mail. For a few years, checking the mail monthly instead of every few days became the routine. Every month, my mailbox was filled to max capacity with mainly junk and of course a letter (or two or three) from the storage center. Unfortunately there are some draw backs to checking your mail so infrequently. I eventually learned that if the mail does not fit in your box it is sent back to the post office which is how I missed a wedding invitation and a few birthday cards. Needless to say I went back to checking my mail more frequently and simply continued sending back the storage company letter hoping they’d eventually run their customer database through a National Change of Address (NCOA) service.

While this situation was obviously annoying, I also wondered how much this letter alone must be costing the storage center. At this point, I estimate receiving about 100 copies of the same letter equating to:

  • $46 in just postage, each has a $0.46 First-Class stamp
  • 100 wasted envelopes
  • 100 wasted pieces of paper
  • Ink for each letter
  • Wasted time/salary of the person(s) at the storage center responsible for mailing
  • Wasted time for the mail sorter(s)
  • Wasted gas and time of the mail carrier(s)
  • A big Headache for me over the last few years
  • Possible frustration for the last tenant who still hasn’t received this letter (I’m assuming it’s a bill which is even worse if they are incurring additional costs all this time)

Ultimately, this also damaged the reputation of the storage company. This mail discrepancy gave me a glimpse into their lack of customer service, organization and concern for our environment. By simply implementing an address validation check in their processes this entire scenario could be avoided. What’s worse is imagining how many other letters they are sending to the wrong address.

After further research, I found out anyone can submit a change of address form at the post office for prior tenants by making a note that they did not provide a forwarding address (the online form requires a forwarding address to submit). I’ll be heading to the post office today to fill one out. If that doesn’t resolve this, I also learned storage centers eventually auction off your items if you don’t pay your bills. Although I don’t want the prior tenant to lose their personal items, I’ll be glad to stop receiving these notices.

Until then…

If your business needs help avoiding unnecessary costs, resources and headaches associated with outdated customer information including name, address, phone, email and more contact us!

People, Process, and Technology: The Three Pillars of Data Quality

Shot of two colleagues using a laptop in a meeting at the office

For many people, managing data quality seems like a daunting task. They may realize that it is an important issue with financial consequences for their organization, but they don’t know how to proceed in managing it. With the right strategy, however, any organization can reap the benefits of consistent data quality, by focusing on three core principles: People, Process, and Technology.

Taken together, these three areas serve as the cornerstones of a structured approach to data quality that you can implement and manage. And more important, a framework that lets you track the ROI of successful data quality. Let’s look at each of these in detail:

People

This is frankly where most organizations fail at the data quality game: not allocating dedicated gatekeepers for the health of their data. It is a very easy mistake to make when budgets are tight, resources are focused on revenue-generating functions like sales or product development, and the business case for data quality gets lost amidst a host of competing priorities.

The single biggest thing an organization can do for data quality is to devote dedicated resources to it. This becomes an easier sell once you look at the real costs of bad data: for example, research shows that 25% of all contact records contain bad data, a third of marketing leads use fake names, and half of all phone numbers provided won’t connect. Run these numbers across the direct costs of customer acquisition, add in missed sales opportunities, increased customer care costs, and even potential compliance fines, and you often have the financial justification for a data quality gatekeeper.

Process

How much control do you have over data entry points, data accuracy, and verification? For too many organizations, the answer is none – with resulting costs due to factors such as duplicate data entry, human error, or lack of verification. And who is responsible for maintaining the integrity of your business data? Too often, the answer is “no one,” in a world where data rarely ages well. An average of 70% of contact data goes bad in some form each year, which ushers in yet another level of direct and indirect costs.

One of the more important roles of a data gatekeeper is to have processes in place to manage the touch points for your data, engineer data quality in on the front end of customer and lead acquisition, and maintain this data over the course of its life cycle. Having the right policies and procedures in place gives you control over your data, and can make the mechanics of data quality frictionless and cost-effective. Or as your teachers used to put it, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Technology

Data quality solutions range from simply scanning spreadsheets for duplicates and mistakes, all the way to automated tools for tasks such as address validation, lead validation, and verification of email or phone contact information. And far too often, the solution of choice for an organization is to do nothing at all.

Ironically, using the best available automated tools for data quality is often a surprisingly cost-effective strategy, and can yield your best ROI. Automated tools can be as simple as verifying an address, or as sophisticated as creating a statistical ranking value for the quality of a lead or contact record. Used properly, these tools can put much of the hard work of data quality on autopilot for you and your organization.

Ensuring your organization’s data quality can seem like an overwhelming task. But broken into its component parts – your people, your process, and your technology – this task can turn into logical steps that pay themselves back very quickly. It is a simple and profitable three-step strategy for any organization that runs on data.

How Much Is Bad Contact Data Costing Your Organization?

Businessman trying to figure some numbers out leaning on the table

Collecting visitor and customer data through a variety of channels allows you to quickly grow your contact list. When contact information comes in, your company is provided many new opportunities to expand your business. However, receiving high-quality data isn’t necessarily a given. After all, some visitors will enter bad contact data, such as bogus phone numbers, in an attempt to limit telemarketing calls; others may think they’re being funny by entering fake names such as Donald Duck or Homer Simpson; others might accidentally misspell a street name. Even autocorrect may change a legitimate entry, and some visitors may intentionally enter a bad address in an attempt to commit fraud.

Managing the effects of bad contact data is a surprisingly large cost for many organizations, involving a great deal of human intervention as well as diluted contact effectiveness. This is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – particularly in today’s era of automated contact verification tools. Whatever your touch points are with customers or prospects – including customer data, contest entry forms, phone surveys, lead generation and point of sale interactions – some data will be inaccurate, incomplete, or fraudulent.

Why Data Quality Matters

Do you really need to worry about a few Donald Ducks or Homer Simpsons in your contact database? Yes, you do! Poor data quality translates into wasted time, resources, and money. For example, if you have a mailing list of 10,000 addresses, and 10 percent of those are inaccurate, you will waste 1,000 pieces of mail — plus the cost of product and postage – not to mention the human resources involved in processing incorrect outgoing and returned mail.

Data quality from a customer service perspective is another big concern. Suppose that a customer orders an expensive product from your website, and accidentally enters their address as “2134 Main Street” instead of the correct address of “1234 Main Street”? First of all, you would ship the package to the wrong address. Not your fault, but it doesn’t matter: delivery will be delayed, the customer will have a poor experience, and you will incur re-shipping costs. You may even not get the original shipment back. It’s a lose-lose situation.

The problem is compounded when it comes to getting these customers in the first place: an estimated 25% percent of marketing contact data is bad. And according to the Data Warehouse Institute, this ocean of bad data costs businesses over US $600 billion per year. At the level of the individual company, this means that over a quarter of your sales and marketing resources are lost to bad prospects, for reasons that range from intentional fake contact data to the natural contact record aging process. In fact, Salesforce.com reports that after just one year, nearly 70% of contact data goes bad in some form as people change jobs, phone numbers and email addresses.

So how can your company avoid the challenges associated with bad data? Start by assessing what areas of your company need better data quality control. Whether you identify a single area or several areas that could benefit from improved data quality, realigning your data quality goals to hit the data trifecta can improve your bottom line, optimize your human capital and even help the environment.

To read more about this topic, download our white paper Hitting the Data Trifecta – Three Secrets of Achieving Data Quality Excellence.

What’s Dragging Your Marketing Campaigns Down?

Savvy marketers know just how important it is to capitalize on every customer lead. And as technology advances and our customer lists expand, so does the need to streamline our marketing campaigns and processes. But so many businesses are missing the boat when it comes to keeping their contact records accurate, genuine, and up to date. The reason? Poor contact record data quality.

Let’s face it, marketing platforms can only take your campaigns so far. The reality is—they are only as good as the contact records within them, leaving a lot of room for error. Yes, it is humans entering their data and we know that humans make mistakes. From something as simple as duplicate records, falsifying info, simple data entry mistakes, to aging, out of date, or lost contact records, these components contribute to the erosion of your company’s contact records.

To give you some perspective, SeriusDecisions reports that 25% of customer data is inaccurate, containing critical errors. CRITICAL! That means that you’re missing out on converting 25% of your leads into customers. That works out to be 1 out of 4 of your contact records are corrupt. The sooner you can acknowledge that contact data quality issues exist in your company, the sooner you can move towards a solution.

The Lead Form - by the Numbers
Bad Data Equates to Negative Impacts

The first step in fixing the problems is to locate the areas being impacted by bad contact record data and then pinpoint those areas within your marketing platform that need correcting. Quite simply, there are some soft and hard costs associated with poor data quality. These are the areas where you will may see and feel the effects initially (soft costs):

  • Decreased productivity from your sales teams
  • Increased costs for Lead & Customer Acquisition, Marketing Automation,
    and CRM fees.
  • Misspent marketing labor costs
  • Increased risk of regulatory fines (e.g., Do Not Call compliance, SPAM traps).
  • Increase in Customer Care efforts (resulting from unhappy customers)

Over time, these build up and begin to cause larger problems (hard costs). The major impacts being realized through increased costs and lost revenues. Perhaps you’re experiencing a high employee turnover rate or realizing that customers are walking? These consequences could be happening as a result of poor quality data.

The point is, you need to enact some cost effective measures that will identify where the bad data resides and then correct it. Once you’re back on track, you’ll want a maintenance and management system in place to keep your campaigns moving along smoothly and productively, i.e., via a data governance policy. Long story short, bad data is in your contact records and it is dragging down your marketing campaigns. But…it CAN be prevented!

Hungry for more? You can get the full picture about the impacts of poor data quality and how to prevent/improve it by downloading our white paper, “Marketing with Bad Contact Data: A Recipe for Disaster

What is a Data Quality Scan and How Can it Help You?

Marketing Automation and Your Contact Records: A Five Part Series That Every Marketer Can’t Miss (Part 5)

Putting Your Contact Records to the Test!

Now that you’ve read our series on how the quality of contact record data impacts the performance of your marketing automation efforts, we are hopeful that you better understand the importance of correcting and cleaning up these records. The next step is learning how your contact records measure up. To help, Service Objects offers a complimentary Data Quality Scan, providing a snapshot of where your data stands in real time and where improvements can be made.

DQS-ScreenHow does the Data Quality Scan work? It’s simple: we use a small sample of your data (up to 500 records), to not only find out where your data is “good”, but more to the point, what percentage of your data is bad and/or correctable. You’ll receive a data quality score for each of the five critical lead quality components.

  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Name
  • Mailing address
  • Device

Check out a sample Data Quality Scan to see how each of these components are scored and the detailed information provided.

Once you get your results, you will have an opportunity to work with a Data Quality expert (yes, a real, live person) who will help you in deciding how best to correct and improve your contact records. From start to finish,think of them as your personal guide to improving your contact record data quality.

Leave Your Worries Behind

All in all, the Data Quality Scan is here to help marketers expose data quality problems within their companies, and we know that percentage is likely to be around 25%. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to give it a try and see for yourself, right? At the very least, ongoing data validation and correction services should become a priority within your marketing automation best practices.

And finally, before we sign off on this series, I wanted to leave you with this thought: When it comes to marketing, you have plenty to worry about. Constantly verifying and updating your marketing automation contact records should NOT be one of those worries. Implementing a data governance strategy around your contact records will ensure your records are always accurate, genuine, and up to date!

If you’re new to this series, start from the beginning! Read Part 1: Make Marketing Automation Work for You

 

Contact Data Governance in Action: It’s All About Validation & Verification

Cropped shot of a young computer programmer looking through data

Marketing Automation and Your Contact Records: A Five Part Series That Every Marketer Can’t Miss (Part 4)

Well-integrated and accurate customer data is one of the best assets marketers have at their disposal to effectively personalize and engage customers, drive conversion rates, boost loyalty and trust, and ultimately maximize sales.” (Vera Loftis, UK managing director of Bluewolf, Salesforce experts)

Bottom line: you want the very best long-term outcome for your marketing campaigns, yes? The goal is to build a sustainable marketing automation platform, and in the world of data integrity, validation and verification are the keys to unlocking its success. And really this needs to happen at the beginning— at both the point of data capture AND/OR when migrating to a new marketing automation or CRM platform. Here’s the opportunity you’ve been waiting for!

Migrating data between platforms allows for a fresh, clean start. This is an ideal time for your Data Quality Gatekeeper to launch a preemptive strike against bad data (validate and verify). Essentially, they need to make sure that migrations and the fields being imported are accounted for BEFORE importing the data, i.e., mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses can all be validated and brought up-to-date, as well as attaching demographic and firmographic information to corresponding contact records. And let’s not forget about data formatting and purging duplicate records. This is the time for remediation.

Implementing the Right Tools

To handle source data issues upfront, organizations need to employ a powerful, automated discovery and analysis tool that provides a detailed description of the data’s true content, structure, relationships, and quality. This kind of tool can reduce the time required for data analysis by as much as 90 percent over manual methods.” (Jeffrey Canter, Exec. VP of Operations at Innovative Systems, INC.)

Now you’ve followed our recommendations and have your gatekeeping system, or data governance strategy, up and running, but perhaps you’re thinking, “what’s the best way to do regular data quality check-ups and maintenance from here on out?” Honestly, you need a systematic solution in place that you can trust and rely upon. One that will continually provide THE most accurate, genuine, and up to date data for your company. AND you will want a program that, once it’s set up and running, will allow you to get on with other important jobs. Seriously, it should be as simple as “set it and forget it”.

Look no further! Service Objects provides a comprehensive set of solutions that will validate and verify your data as it’s being migrated or captured in real-time. Let’s take a look at just some of our Data On-Time Solutions (DOTS) you can choose from:

Lead Validation: A real-time lead validation service that verifies contact name, business name, email, address, phone, and device while providing an actionable lead score.

Email Validation: Verifies that the email addresses in your contact and lead database are deliverable at the mailbox-level. This feature corrects and standardizes, while assessing if addresses are fraudulent, spam-trap, disposable, or a catch-all.

Address Validation: Uses USPS® certified data to instantly validate, parse, correct, and append contact address data, including locational meta-data and the option for Delivery Point Validation (DPV).

NCOA LIVE: Keeps your contact mailing list accurate and up-to-date with data from the USPS® National Change-of-Address database (NCOALink).

Email Insight: Appends demographic data to emails from proprietary consumer database with over 400 million contacts. Supplies you with valuable info i.e., city, geolocation, age range, gender and median income of the address owner.

GeoPhone: Gives you accurate reverse telephone number lookup of US and Canadian residential and business names and addresses.

Phone Append: Supplies you with the most accurate lookup of landline telephone numbers available.

This is quite a lot of information to digest for sure. So, how do you know “what” solutions will work best for YOUR platform? Depending on your individual needs, our free Data Quality Scan will determine where your contact data might be falling short. Then you can take steps to clean up your contact records for good.

Up next: Part 5: What is a Data Quality Scan and How Can it Help You?

Data Breakdown Happens. Know the Reasons “Why” and Protect it from the Start

Marketing Automation and Your Contact Records: A Five Part Series That Every Marketer Can’t Miss (Part 3)

Welcome back! The fact that you’re interested in improving the data quality within your marketing automation platform is apparent, so let’s look at how the data breakdown happens so we can build it back up. The goal is to find sustainable and trustworthy ways to correct and effectively manage data from here on out.

So who’s responsible for ensuring good data quality? Your IT department? If only it was that simple. The fact is, your TEAM is responsible and it starts with a company that incorporates a culture of data quality and best practices. Senior managers must do their part to integrate and maintain solid data quality policies that are easy to follow and implement. Next, marketing managers must screen and clean up new lists before importing. Finally, your sales team must practice diligence when entering customer data. And, even if ALL of these groups commit to following these guidelines in the most stringent and cautious manner, you can bet that mistakes will still happen! We are, after all, human.

Now that we’ve identified the players, we can pinpoint what makes our data corrupt:

  • Inaccurate data: either info is entered incorrectly, or it becomes outdated
  • Duplicate data: multiple accounts are mistakenly set up for the same lead, i.e., some companies do not centralize their data.
  • Missing data: some fields are simply left empty
  • Non-conforming data: inconsistent field values, i.e., using various abbreviations for the same thing
  • Inappropriate data: data entered in wrong fields

Would you agree that the four most common data fields in your lead forms are: name, email, address, and phone? According to Salesforce:

These statistics highlight just how difficult it is to keep up to date and current with changing customer demographics. It’s overwhelming, especially when you consider the rate at which data is being captured. Fortunately, there IS a better way!

InfoGraph_FormTurning Strategy Into Action

We’ve discussed how even the best and most efficient internal processes can be in place yet cannot completely wipe your data clean of corruption. Oh if only…BUT, there are additional steps you can take to continue moving in the right direction. You could implement a Data Governance strategy which “refers to the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity, and security of the data employed in an enterprise. A sound data governance approach includes a governing body or council, a defined set of procedures, and a plan to execute those procedures”. Here’s what you can do:

  • Conduct regularly scheduled data quality check-ups & maintenance scans: By work with an external source to automatically scan, identify, and update your data, you will save money and headaches in the long run. Sending in the Calvary!
  • Bump up personal accountability: Consider training your sales reps and then monitoring their data input via their login info. Like Big Brother, but less invasive.
  • Hire data quality managers: They have oversight of all data input, monitoring, and management. Think of them as Data Quality Gatekeepers – like a mini task force.

Congratulations! You are well on your way to stopping the bad-data-cycle. And the most important step in doing so is: running regular data check-ups and continued maintenance. So how do you set your business up for success? Come back for the 4th part in our series where we show you how to ensure your records are genuine, accurate and up-to-date. It’s as easy as one…two…THREE!

Be sure to start from the beginning! Check out Part 1: Make Marketing Automation Work for You

If you are interested, Service Objects provides a free Data Quality Scan that will give you insight into the quality and accuracy of your contact data. Click here to get your free scan.

Up next: Part 4: Contact Data Governance in Action: It’s All About Validation & Verification

 

Impacts of Bad Data Lead to Negative Consequences

Marketing Automation and Your Contact Records: A Five Part Series That Every Marketer Can’t Miss (Part 2)

Data integrity is beyond a doubt “the” cornerstone of your marketing campaigns. Think carefully about this. ALL company decisions, both operational and strategic, are based on the information you collect from your data. And we’ve already acknowledged that bad data exists in your marketing automation platform. So just how deep do these impacts go? Let’s dive right in, looking closely at the top two offenders: Mistrust and Costs.

Mistrust:

“If you can’t trust the data, what else will you base your decisions on? If you can’t trust the data, how much effort will be wasted checking and rechecking certain results to figure out which is correct? And how much effort will be spent in investigations, root cause analysis and corrective actions required to fix data problems?” Carol Newcomb, Consultant with SAS Data Management Consulting

It’s no joke. Mistrust happens both internally and externally. Remember in our last post we stressed the importance of establishing trust between your marketing and sales teams (internal)? Well, that same nurturing needs to happen with your vendors and customers (external). Especially since their data is tied to everything in your organization. I would venture to guess that your CRM is connected to accounting. What if, after all your hard work to gain your customer, their invoice was sent to the wrong address? It’s going to get back to you and YOU are going to need to fix it. But here’s the bigger problem: when mistakes like this become repetitive, your reps stop believing that the data in their contact records is genuine, accurate, and up to date. They oftentimes feel compelled to update their own records. What’s worse, your customers and vendors will become annoyed, being asked over and over again, from different sources, for their contact info. Savvy marketers must realize that small missteps like this can lead to bigger issues, putting your company’s reputation and brand directly in harm’s way. Left unaccounted for, mistrust will weaken your company’s foundation in much the same way that a trickle of water slowly erodes bedrock, causing irreversible damage.

This leads us to Costs:

“Most organizations overestimate the quality of their data and underestimate the impact that errors and inconsistencies can have on their bottom line.” The Data Warehouse Institute

Brace yourself…you ARE wasting money. That is, bad data is causing a loss of revenue. How many emails, direct mail, and phone calls go out on any given day? Knowing that 25% of your customer data is inaccurate due to duplicate accounts, intentional and unintentional data entry errors, lost contacts, aging contact records, there is a serious loss of productivity happening here. To demonstrate the cost of quality, let’s apply the 1-10-100 Quality Management rule by George Labovitz and Yu Sang Chang: it costs $1 to verify a record as it is entered, $10 to fix it later, and $100 if NOTHING is done, which leads to loss upon loss upon loss. And, we know that corporate data is growing at an average rate of 60% per year and climbing, so it’s all the more important to screen your data going in and then maintain and manage it over time. The takeaway: quality IN equates to quality OUT, saving you time, resources and money all the way around.

If you’re like me and enjoy a detailed checklist, you’ll appreciate the following. Business2Community has compiled a spot on list highlighting many of the consequences of bad data:

  • Lower customer satisfaction and retention
  • Loss of Revenue
  • Misinformed OR under-informed decisions
  • Dissatisfied sales and distribution channels
  • Lower productivity
  • Higher consumption of resources
  • Invalid reports
  • Failure of your marketing automation initiatives
  • Higher maintenance costs
  • Errors in product/mail deliveries
  • Increased churn rate
  • Distorting campaign success metrics
  • Higher spam counts and un-subscriptions
  • Negative publicity on social media

Hungry for more? Great! Let’s begin focusing on where to find the problems and inconsistencies so we can clean up the mess. In Part 3 of our series, we’ll get up close and personal with a lead form, how these can go wrong, and then how to correct them.

If you are interested, Service Objects provides a free Data Quality Scan that will give you insight into the quality and accuracy of your contact data. Click here to get your free scan.

Up Next: Part 3: Data Breakdown Happens. Know the Reasons “Why” and Protect it from the Start

Service Objects is the industry leader in real-time contact validation services.

Service Objects has verified over 2.5 billion contact records for clients from various industries including retail, technology, government, communications, leisure, utilities, and finance. Since 2001, thousands of businesses and developers have used our APIs to validate transactions to reduce fraud, increase conversions, and enhance incoming leads, Web orders, and customer lists. READ MORE