Data Cleansing – What You Need to Know

Today, organisations heavily rely on data for everyday business activities.
This makes data cleansing a critical requirement for anyone who has a database, so their organisation can yield better results across all operations.

Following are some core benefits of cleansing your data

1. A complete, accurate and real-time view on your database

Up to 30% of a database can go stale within a year, due to people changing address, jobs, emails, and simply updating their status. This causes data to become obsolete, which can lead to numerous problems which can spread through multiple departments and other data chains; impacting on marketing, engagement, business intelligence and overall business efforts.

By cleansing your database, you filter out any bad data in your systems to give a clearer view of prospects and customers.

2. Improved targeting for better conversion rates

As your database significantly improves so will your marketing efforts, as there’s no bounce backs from emails, or incorrect addresses to hamper communications with your prospects. Also, by matching and merging records you won’t be wasting time and money on sending out marketing material to stale and duplicate prospects.

And when you have clean reliable data you get a clearer picture of your customers, leading to better segmentation, and delivery of a single customer view.

3. Better ROI and saved costs

Consider the 1-10-100 rule, that it costs on average £1 to verify the accuracy of a record at point of entry, £10 if it needs to be cleaned and £100 if nothing is done – not including the cost of mis-deliveries of shipments, direct mail, missed opportunities and undetected fraud.

Businesses with clean, up to date and verified data on the other hand can expect to drive a standout customer journey, leading to better sales, cross and up-sell, and stronger revenue streams.

Which one would you prefer?

4. Positive brand value & reputation

A company will deliver and maintain better communications, and therefore reputation with its prospects, with clean data. It enables them to be more engaging across various channels, offer tailored promotions, speedy deliveries, and provide value across a range of systems and practices, such as at the point of sale. It also helps them to elevate customer retention efforts to meet the future customer expectations.

5. Putting together a data cleansing strategy

To achieve any of the above you must put together a data cleansing strategy. A great starting point is to analyse your data. Which departments are lacking the most clean data? Where is revenue being lost? And are there certain aspects of your database that are causing overlaying problems? It can sometimes be hard to spot issues, so take some time to do this.

Following is list of common problems a database can have:

  • Bad address data which causes mis-deliveries, logistical issues, and poor customer service
  • Fraudulent activity from not having a verified and up to date address, email and phone number, and its impact on delivering a single customer view
  • Duplicates in your database resulting in lower accuracy and wasted efforts and costs
  • Gaps in your data caused by incomplete records, like missing phone numbers, email, address and even IP
  • How standardised is your data? Punctuation & abbreviations must be in the right place i.e. in the spelling of emails or addresses, and always consider international formatting rules for postal regulations
  • Prevent a single customer view or 360-view of your customers
  • High bounce rates and blacklistings in your email campaign efforts

As the next step, we would recommend requesting a data audit from a data cleansing specialist. Ideally, it should be one that offers a complimentary service that really digs down on gaining vital insight on your data. Feedback should then be given on the ins and outs of the database, and advice on how to get the most out of it. Data quality solutions should also be recommended to implement into their current systems (see our data audit link above for more information).

Always remember that cleansing your database is not a one-off process. You should always be keeping tabs on your data, making sure it’s providing fulfilment at every point in the chain to save time and effort. It’s always best to take advantage of the SaaS services a data quality company like Melissa offers. Such a service ensures that your data is clean, verified and up to date as it enters your systems. It also automatically prevents your data from going stale each year, saving you money and giving back better ROI in the long term.

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