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Why does contact data quality matter?

Posted by Elias Rizk on Dec 4, 2018 12:40:25 PM
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contact data quality management

When was the last time you thought about what state your company's contact data records were in? If you don't know, you've been neglecting your data quality, a problem which could have dire consequences. Studies have found that 50% of companies say they struggle to curb data quality issues in their databases before they can have a negative effect on the business. While this stat doesn't tell the whole story, it serves to illustrate the importance of proper contact data quality management. The good news is that more than half your peers are already doing it. 

Positive Outcomes Depend On Data

The whole truth is that not only can quality data help avert some problems that no business wants to have to deal with, but it can also give you some distinct advantages. The six specific things that follow are just some of the many things that a solid strategy for contact data quality management can bring to your business - and remember, the uses for quality data keep growing every day.

Quality Contact Data...

  • Makes Timely, Successful Communication Possible

The primary purpose of contact data is obvious; it's supposed to provide you with enough details to help you with your reach out activities. Assuming you're collecting this information organically (as you should be), your contacts, going forward, expect you to be in touch with them somehow, and that gives you the chance to nurture them and convert them to become your clients. You do not want any difficulties in establishing communication, but that's exactly what will happen if you've jumbled the numbers in their phone number or the letters in their email address; or if, with time, they change any of their information. Contact data quality management ensures that bad data will never impede you from connecting with your contacts - a basic function, but one that is all the more important for it.

  • Opens Up New Avenues

Now that we usually gather more data than ever before on our contacts, it is easier to mix and match different contact variables to try to find useful correlations. A 2016 study revealed that 63% of surveyed B2B marketers were able to increase revenue by somewhere between 11% and 50% with relevant data analytics.

The potential financial gains that businesses could achieve with the right data are enormous, but for obvious reasons, this won't happen if the data isn't valid, accurate, and standardized. Investing in data quality early on ensures that it is always ready to help you and your team make better decisions and reach another critical breakthrough. 

  • Gives You An Advantage Over Your Competitors

Even if you were to choose not to use data in your decision-making, you can never discount the impact that it will have on the market share of your competitors. This isn't a hypothetical threat, either: companies that embraced the use of data to drive decision-making efforts were 6 times more likely to have shown increased growth and profitability compared to others in their market sector in 2014. Since the importance of data continues to grow every year, the potential advantage is presumably growing with it. 

If your attempts to use data to steer your business in the right direction are scuttled by data quality issues, you've given your competitors a window of opportunity which they can use to get the upper hand over you. However, this process also works in reverse; if you sort out your data quality problems while they remain oblivious to the issue, you'll get that analytical edge instead.

Test your knowledge: Projections state that 40% of data gathered by companies will be used for one particular purpose by 2020. What purpose is that?

  • Makes Everything Easy to Search

Data quality management makes sure your data is organized, and while that might not seem like such an important thing, it can save an incredible amount of time in most instances. When every bit of your database is valid, complete, and up-to-date, your data can be classified and smartly used. If a query turns up with nothing, you know that it's because there are truly no entries that meet the specified terms, not because there are errors, inconsistencies or blank fields that are skewing your results.

Research shows that a full one-third of data analysts spend 40% of their time sifting through poor quality data and correcting it to get good results, wasting time that would be better spent on devising a useful strategy for the business. If data experts have such a hard time with it, you can imagine how much of a toll bad data takes on smaller businesses that often lack the resources to devote a keep employee with such specialized skills on their team. A lack of good data quality management slows everything down, and, when time is money, that's something no one wants to see happen.

  • Enables Better Customer Care

There's a customer service aspect to contact data quality too, even if it's not as apparent as most of these other benefits. With accurate data, you can quickly respond to contacts who need something from you, regardless of whether they have a complaint that needs to be addressed or just want more information on your products and services. You'll also have a better idea of what it is that they want, as well as what you can realistically offer them based on known variables.

There has been a demonstrable increase in interest in this approach lately, with current projections suggesting that 40% of all data-related projects will be related to improving customer experiences by 2020. Not only does this improved service capacity often generate a lot of goodwill for your brand, but that boost in standing is sure to translate into impressive financial gains too. A happy customer is a customer who will keep coming back for more, often providing a consistent stream of revenue over time.

  • Provides More Security

Almost every type of business has some need to secure a customer interface and lock off access to people's personal data from outsiders. Having plenty of accurate data about each contact stored away helps you to provide more varied and reliable solutions to potential security problems. For years, the usual answer to the issue of providing data security was to use basic security questions (think things like the name of a person's first pet or their mother's maiden name). This practice has never been a method with proven positive results to back it up, though; in a 2009 study by Microsoft, a startling 13% of complete strangers were able to guess the answers to the relevant questions locking up a person's account within just 5 tries.

That may not seem like much, but it means that more than 1 in 10 people is at high risk of a data breach with this method. It's also important to remember that this devastatingly high number was discovered at a time before the widespread adoption of social media, which often makes it extremely easy to find the answers a potential hacker would need. One way around these problems is to use something like two-factor authentication, a popular new way of ensuring that customers and contacts have the security they need to feel confident in a company's ability to protect them. As great as this increasingly popular method is, it relies on excellent-quality data in order to administer the second check. You can't even think about using this method, however, unless you have a well-maintained contact database with accurate phone numbers and email addresses that are readily available.

Don't Let Bad Data Bring You Down

contact data quality managementIf your organization isn't paying attention to its data quality, it's only a matter of time before you run into problems. It's vital that you get your data quality management strategy perfected in order to start seeing the good results you want. It's the only way to make sure that your data is good enough to be trusted as a major pillar of your business.

Test your knowledge: With that in mind, how many companies do you think are currently meeting basic data quality standards?

Join us to find out the answer in our next post, where we'll be discussing the six characteristics of great contact data quality and how you can determine if your data measures up.

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Topics: Contact data quality management