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.
Accurate Data Collection
Data integrity depends on accurate recording and there are several systems or steps that can be put in place to ensure data collection runs as smoothly as possible. Take a look at how you acquire your data, whether it be from web forms or mass uploads. Identify the methods you use to acquire contact information and work to streamline these systems. Try eliminating unnecessary form fields when possible, or take time to ensure nothing in your process seems misleading or confusing, and be sure to utilize form validation to capture certain data points.
Though most people gather and record data this way, there is also the possibility that some data will need to be recorded by human employees or manually entered. 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.
An Audit of Your Database is Essential
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 first step towards proper data housekeeping is to perform routine audits on your existing contact database to uncover out-dated, inaccurate, erroneous, or missing information. This can be a time-consuming process that is easily derailed by human error, so we recommend partnering with a market intelligence solution to ensure the process is efficient and error-free as possible. Typically, data service providers can assist in filling in missing information, correcting typos or misspellings errors, and boosting the overall accuracy of your database.
Prioritize Technologies That Integrate
Like most B2B businesses, you probably generate and collect large quantities of valuable data through several different channels and departments – from marketing automation to CRM, to customer support technologies. Unfortunately, this usually leads to fragmented, irregular customer data, kept in an array of disparate data silos.
When data is kept separate, it’s difficult to develop a single, cohesive view of buyers. Thus, limiting their ability to provide consistent, meaningful, and thoughtful customer experiences across all touchpoints. Businesses should prioritize using tools that integrate together, making sure that your data remains consistent across your entire organization. Your efforts with customers will benefit from cohesive data.
There’s virtually no corner of your business that is not touched or impacted by the data that you use. From the sales team to the marketing department and the C-Suite, data quality should be a major concern for anyone looking to improve their business and push it into the future.
Marketers professionals require quality data to target qualified, good-fit leads for their sales reps. Sales reps require high quality, accurate data to make sure that they’re contacting the proper decision-makers at the proper time with the right messaging. Most importantly, C-level executives need to ensure that the foundation of their business strategy is built upon accurate data so they can stay focused on their vision for future growth.
The smart use of data can guarantee success across departments. 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.