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Customer Relationships Start With Quality Data

Martin Doyle March 4th, 2014 Data Quality
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Customer relationship management (CRM) is all about understanding customers and recording data that helps you in that task. If you don’t appreciate the individual customer, you cannot communicate with them effectively. If you don’t know what makes them tick, you cannot know what they need and desire. And without that knowledge of their needs and wants, your business cannot profit.

In modern business, customer relationship management is at the heart of all business functions. It dictates critical business decisions that could make or break its future.

And customer relationship management cannot be effective without quality data.

Approaching Data Quality

At DQ Global®, we have many years’ experience in improving data quality and advising our customers on doing the same. In almost every case, it is far better to tackle the root cause of inaccurate data, rather than firefighting when things go wrong.

The lifecycle of your CRM system begins at the data capture stage, and there are three key aspects to improving the quality of information recorded. Ask yourself, or your front line staff, these three simple questions:

  1. How do you know that the data is accurate; what checks have been performed?
  2. Is the data correctly formatted compared to other records in the database?
  3. Can you be 100 per cent sure that this record will not be a duplicate of an existing record?

By running through this checklist, it is possible to filter mistakes, correct errors and prevent data duplication, thus keeping the database in a better state from the off.

If Prevention Isn’t Enough

Inevitably, prevention of mistakes can only get you so far. There will always be a rogue record or inaccurate piece of data that throws confidence in the entire CRM system.

In this case, you will need to deploy a cure for your sick database.

Ask yourself these four key questions:

  • Is your data decaying? (In every known case, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.)
  • Is your data duplicated? (Data deduplication software will be needed to process records in batches, detect duplicates, match duplicates and merge data correctly.)
  • Is your data accurate? (Despite the best intentions of staff, data will eventually become less accurate, even if it was accurate on day one. People move, change their names, age, have children and pass away. The data relating to them lives and changes as they do.)
  • Is your data relevant? (Data relevant to your business in the early days may not be sufficient to make good quality decisions as your business grows.)


Remember the definition of data: facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. Facts, not fudges. There is no place for guesswork in business.

If you cannot confidently say that your data is clean, and that your employees are dedicated to keeping it that way, you have a data quality problem that could become a hindrance to profit and productivity.  Ensure your data is properly formatted, accurate and free of duplicates, and the relationship you have with your customers should weather any storm that follows.


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.