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Effective Data Quality Control

“Data quality matters!” You probably hear this all of the time, and you know it’s true.  But can you really maintain the kind of high quality data that retailing now demands? The answer is emphatically “yes” – when you follow the right steps for...

Effective Data Quality Control  

Every time I think about the benefits of quality data -- and the consequences of bad data -- I think of the mail I receive at home. I moved into my current home almost 10 years ago, and I am still receiving retail coupons and promotional mailings for two of the former owners, and those two people didn’t even live there at same time! Obviously, those retailers are using very old data. What’s worse is that they are wasting precious dollars and missing out on the opportunity to please those customers, and of course on the chance to engage new ones like me!

Quality CRM data is essential for customer satisfaction – and for everything that it ultimately provides to your business. After all, if you can’t trust your customer data, you can’t trust what you think you know about who your customers are and what they want, need and expect. And you can’t make sound decisions to satisfy those needs.

In our last blog, we discussed some best practices for collecting customer data – and the cost of not doing that right! But while collecting data is one thing, maintaining it is another! Once it’s in your system, how can you ensure it remains accurate, trustworthy and able to deliver top marketing results? Left to itself – or worse, mishandled – good customer data can go bad faster than a piece of chicken. And like that chicken, everything it touches will get contaminated, too. Here are some ways to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Walk the Walk

Everyone can agree that it’s important to maintain high quality data, but that truth needs to be backed up by effective action. It demands:

Dedication – a defined quality management program, backed by

Investment – in the adequate, appropriate resources

Discipline – consistent adherence to well defined standards and practices

Reinforcement – so data quality becomes part of your company’s culture and everyone’s responsibility

Take the First Steps

These are the steps you need to take to implement an effective data quality management program:

 

1.   Follow recognized procedures. Implement robust techniques, standards and tools to sort the good from the bad. Make improvements to your procedures as you learn what’s best for your business.

2.   Define and maintain valid quality indicators. Your data does not need to be perfect right from the start, but you do need to set adequate initial goals and change them as your data gets better. There’s no rush -- take it one step at a time.

3.   Establish a custodian of your data. This should be someone with the right technical skills who understands your data model concepts and your business. This position requires a team player with diplomacy and negotiation skills who is well-respected by his colleagues.

4.   Educate your employees and recognize their results. Data quality should become part of your company’s culture. Employees will support quality-control initiatives when they recognize the impact of poor quality data, including the loss of money and opportunities. Make them proud of their achievements!

Never drop your guard. High quality data requires constant vigilance; I find this to be the most exciting and also critical step in the data quality management process, so it deserves a few extra words…

Monitoring

Proper tracking of processes and data will help you build your initial data profile and figure out what “bad” data is currently being captured. (Is that really your customer’s phone number on their record – or is it your store’s number?) Once you have a baseline of what is being captured you can set goals and begin measuring.

Measuring Through Periodic Reporting

Reports are a powerful solution when it comes to measuring data quality. They are a great resource to identify how your stores and sales associates are performing, good or bad. Use reports to provide immediate feedback on their data capture efforts, and to recognize and reward top performing staff members.

Here are some examples of reports we wrote for clients who wanted to periodically monitor and measure store performance. By the way, you could write these reports yourself if you wanted!

CRM Data Quality Report

This report validates the capture of email, name, address and phone. It provides counts and rates per total transactions; ranking the number of captures against your established quality standards.

CRM Capture and Quality Report

This report displays the invalid data captured in the email, name, address and phone fields. How does it know what is considered invalid? It’s checking the data against your established quality standards.

It’s Time

Data quality was once considered a nice-to-have initiative; today it’s critical for any retailer’s success. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your data quality management program today!

Watch for our next blog on “Daily hygiene for a healthy database”.

Maria Elena Duran

CRM Services

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