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DQ Blog Data Quality Why Great Customer Service Needs Clean Data

Why Great Customer Service Needs Clean Data

Martin Doyle September 3rd, 2013 Data Quality
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Anyone that runs a business knows it: finding customers is expensive. It’s far cheaper to retain an existing buyer than seek out a new lead, pitch and make a sale. That’s why businesses work hard to retain the customers they already have.

Data quality can play a big part in the way your customers see your brand. Over time, businesses build up relationships with clients, and the information they share inevitably changes. The business’ job is to ensure data quality is never compromised and the trust they’ve built up is never eroded.

Data Quality Consequences

A successful business knows that data is the backbone of its operations. Each customer trusts the organisation to retain accurate information, to protect that information and to delete all or part of the data when asked. In an era of digital communications and information overload, customers require control, and it’s your job to ensure they get that control.

Every time a customer contacts your customer service department, they should be afforded the same accuracy and courtesy that they enjoyed on day one. That means being addressed by the correct name, for example, or being able to request removal from marketing lists at any time. The customers’ right to alter or withdraw data should never be underestimated.

There are other consequences too. By failing to keep your data clean, you’re endangering your business in a number of ways:

  • The customer feels that your attention to detail has dropped, giving them reason to go elsewhere.
  • They feel less of an individual and less valued.
  • Customers may be disturbed by multiple mailings to people who have asked to be removed from a list or who are deceased.
  • The feeling of mutual respect between customer and brand is tarnished.
  • Disgruntled customers who complain of poor service kick start a wave of criticism on social media.
  • Your ROI is reduced as you lose all future custom, or a large proportion of it, and have to seek a replacement customer elsewhere.
  • The business is less able to personalise communications with its customers, and the information it sends could be less relevant to their preferences and lifestyle.

Making the Right Impression

Improving data quality is an investment. Once a business begins to see clean data as an essential factor in quality customer service, a clean database reveals its value instantly.

In order to make sure each customer is satisfied with the service they receive, maintenance of the database should be an on-going task. This means:

  • Removing duplicate records, so customers are not bombarded with mail.
  • Removing records when a customer asks for their details to be deleted.
  • Recognising that customers have gone away or died and dealing with their data appropriately.
  • Updating demographic information about a customer to ensure marketing and customer service communications stay relevant.
  • Striving for a single customer view.

By using data quality tools and deduplication software, most of the work involved in maintaining a clean database can be automated; today’s data quality tools are sophisticated enough to thoroughly clean your customers’ data without affecting the integrity of your database.

Martin Doyle
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Written by Martin Doyle

Martin is CEO and founder of DQ Global, a Data Quality Software company based in the UK. With an engineering background, Martin previously ran a CRM Software business. He has gained a wealth of knowledge and experience over the years and has established himself as a Data Quality Improvement Evangelist and an industry expert.
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