Today, businesses have the ability to acquire more data than ever before. This information can be a powerful tool, but it has to be accurate. Many businesses make the mistake of focusing on having lots of data without having an adequate concern for its quality.
Without data integrity, information is at best a diminished resource. At worst, it could be a stumbling block for your company. Factors like human error, inefficient systems, and time can affect the accuracy and consistency of data. When your information is inaccurate or inconsistent, it can have a negative impact on the success that you have with customers.
Reliable Data Improves Customer Interactions
Gathering data is a vital part of modern customer relations. You track various customer behaviors, collect email addresses, conduct surveys, and observe an array of metrics. Each of these are different pieces of data associated with your customers. This information can provide your company with a variety of advantages, but it has to be reliable.
When the information is inaccurate, you lose that edge that comes with having all of that data. You won’t be able to use it to make important decisions that can affect customer relations, or you might make poor decisions based on erroneous information.
This is why it is important for businesses to take steps to maintain the integrity of their data. At some point if you haven’t already, you’ll have to deal with customers giving you incorrect data. They might mistakenly enter the wrong contact information, intentionally provide the wrong email address, or have issues with information changing over time. As time goes by, people move, change jobs, get new email addresses, and their consumer behaviors change.
Maintaining Data Integrity
If a company is going to be able to rely on their data, they have to set various protocols that will help to ensure its accuracy. In order to maintain data integrity, a company will need to look at the ways that they obtain and record information, the integration of information between different systems, and the practices employed to maintain records.
In many cases, new information requires verification. If a customer gives you an email address, you need to make sure it is correct. A customer may call you from a different phone number or uses a secondary email address. You need to be able to associate that information with the existing profile of the customer. Using a tool to clean your email lists of false addresses is one way to ensure your data integrity remains intact.
Data integrity depends on the accurate recording. Some people gather and record data through automated tools, but there is also the possibility that some data will need to be recorded by human employees. Therefore, employees need the proper training for recording data. Also, you should ensure that access is restricted to these trained employees only. Regular auditing is an important step for ensuring accountability among the employees that are responsible for recording data.
Even with all of the right procedures for data entry and verification, the occasional database cleaning will be in order. A trained employee can still make mistakes when they record information. Also, the accuracy of data can diminish with time. You’ll need to clean up things like duplicate data, information that has changed with time, and data that is incorrect due to mistakes in entry.
The smart use of data can guarantee success with customer interactions. However, your ability to make the best data-driven decisions will depend upon the reliability of the information on which these decisions are based. Fortunately, you have access to a range of tools that can assist with managing and maintaining data.