What is Scarier than Halloween? Bad Data!

Halloween – which has its roots as an Irish celebration honoring the dead – is a night nowadays where children (and more than a few adults) dress in ghoulish costumes to scare people and get candy from them.

It is also a pretty good metaphor for the world of data professionals. You too constantly have threats knocking at your door, except that the stakes are much higher, including things like higher costs, delivery problems, fraud and compliance issues. And instead of candy, these threats can steal your productivity, your customer service reputation, or even your merchandise.

In this article, we’ll look at a few of the scariest things businesses face as a result of data quality issues, along with ways to solve them.

Common data quality “ghouls”

First, let’s look at just a few of the characters you might find lurking in your data this Halloween:

Zombie contact records. Mistyped data. Fake contacts submitted to get marketing goodies. Undeliverable addresses. Missing information. All of these gremlins probably exist in your unverified contact data, and they are costing you money – every time you send a catalogue, run a marketing campaign, or ship a product to a customer.

The solution: Validation tools including our flagship Address Validation services for US, Canada and international addresses, as well as our Address Detective capabilities for fixing missing data or incomplete addresses. We can also add business intelligence to power your contact records, including appending phone numbers, geocoding addresses, and adding demographic information.

The data decay mummy. Even if your contact data is perfect today, it won’t be tomorrow. According to recent figures from HubSpot, nearly a quarter of your contact data degrades every year as people move, change their positions, get new email addresses and more.

The solution: Dealing with data decay involves teaming up our products with your business processes. It means not only making sure that data is accurate on entry, from each of your customer and prospect touch points, but having regular data hygiene and data governance procedures to keep this data accurate and up-to-date at the time of use. Our team is always happy to advise you on best practices in this area, as well as products such as DOTS NCOA Live for processing USPS change-of-address data.

The creature from the dark web. Not every prospect or customer has the best of intentions. Fraudulent leads and orders scam businesses to the tune of billions of US dollars per year, with the cost of card-not-present fraud alone projected to reach $7.2 billion by 2020 – not to mention all of the associated costs in time, manpower and lost productivity associated with dealing with fraud.

The solution: Business fraud is often a data quality problem, fueled by factors such as fake shipping addresses for legitimate businesses, fraudulent credit cards, and domestic orders that originate from offshore sources. Our data solutions for fraud prevention include email, BIN number and IP validation, as well as integrated lead and order validation capabilities that check multiple data sources and give you a quantitative confidence score.

The compliance monster. Once upon a time, companies often lived with a certain amount of bad data as a cost of doing business. Today that strategy can be a very costly mistake, as a growing number of data privacy regulations now involve serious penalties for calling, texting or emailing the wrong people.

Compliance with regulations such as the CAN-SPAM act for email, US Federal TCPA regulations for telephone and text marketing, and the European Union’s strict GDPR regulations for marketing to European citizens have now become a major responsibility for data managers worldwide.

The solution: We have specific solutions to assist with TCPA and GDPR compliance, and in the latter case we can also offer you and your team a free GDPR data quality assessment. In addition, our full suite of validation products can help ensure you are marketing to accurate and up-to-date contacts.

Don’t be scared – be prepared

Our friendly and knowledgeable technical team are always on call to help turn your ghouls into goals. We’ll call you back within 90 minutes with any questions you have, help you with implementation issues, and provide support that is available 24 hours a day if needed. And we’ll even give you a free treat: a license key to test up to 500 records with any of our products, with no cost or obligation. You can even take these products for a spin anytime, right on our website.

So don’t be scared of bad data this Halloween – give us a call instead. You’ll find that whatever your data problems are, our solutions are just the trick!

Happy Halloween!

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