Quick question: did you brush your teeth this morning?
If you did, it was probably a habit that you established early on, and now it feels like second nature. Things like personal hygiene, auto-paying bills, and changing your smoke detector batteries every year at Daylight Saving Time all have one thing in common: they are behaviors that became frictionless because you set up a process for them.
Data quality involves exactly the same principle: you need a process for it. Otherwise, everyone will be “too busy” to take care of it, your data will decay – and the consequences could be severe. In this article, we’ll look at how a small investment in process now will save you a lot in costs and headache later.
Why a data quality process is so important
Let’s face it: data quality isn’t terribly exciting. (Of course we think it’s exciting, but hey, that’s our business.) This makes it all the more important that you create – and maintain – a process for managing this data.
First, data decays from the moment it enters your system. Some of your data starts off as poor quality, due to factors such as data entry errors, old or incorrect source information, or even intentional fraud. Even more of it decays as time goes on – according to one source, as much as 70% in a year of your contact records go bad, as people change jobs, move, or come and go from the workforce. In both cases, data is a fragile resource that naturally decays without maintenance.
Second, there are consequences for letting your data go. Some of these consequences are tangible, such as increased costs from bad data such as human efforts and wasted deliveries – and some of these consequences can be severe, such as compliance penalties for violating data privacy regulations. Others are intangible but still very real, including lost customers and damage to your brand reputation. Most importantly, all of these consequences are preventable.
Getting your process in place
Avoiding the consequences of data quality issues revolve around creating a process that ensures this data quality. Some of its key elements include:
Get everyone on board. Educate everyone on the importance of data quality, and the costs of ignoring it. From entry-level data entry clerks all the way to the CEO, everyone has a role to play in ensuring proper handling and maintenance of your data.
Cover all the bases. Data has numerous touch points in every organization. It may enter your system through data entry, customer input, imported or shared data sources, or other places. Equally important is how and when this data is used, such as marketing campaigns or emergency customer notifications. Given the costs of bad data, and the reality of data decay, validating this data at the time of entry AND the time of use is extremely critical.
Put your process on autopilot. Managing data is like eating your vegetables, except much worse – because some people actually enjoy vegetables. And depending on human intervention to avoid disaster can make these disasters inevitable. You need a process that is on autopilot, from validation of contact data to performing these validations at the time of entry or reuse.
Don’t do it alone
Service Objects is the industry leader in contact data validation for a reason: we make it easy to implement automated data quality processes, including capabilities for address, email, phone and USPS change of address validation, and convenient API interfaces that integrate directly within common business automation platforms and CRM systems.
More importantly, every Service Object product comes with expert implementation assistance, friendly and knowledgeable 24/7/365 technical support, guaranteed 99.999% uptime, and the industry’s best documentation, available registration-free right on our website. We can make best-in-class data quality as easy as brushing your teeth – contact our product experts and see how we can help you.