Death-related data obtained from Social Security records, obituaries and other sources can be used for many purposes. When it comes to direct...
What is Data Quality, and Why is it Important?
Having clean and reliable data is akin to having a powerful ace up your sleeve for your organization. However, picture this: a database packed with 'Mickey Mouse' entries and obsolete addresses is more like digging a hole in your own path.
What could be lurking in your data?
There’s a good chance your data is full of the usual suspects - typos, inaccuracies, and data transfer blunders. Sometimes, people slip up when typing their information into those forms, or they decide to get a bit creative with fake info.
Take, for instance, signing up for a marketing emails during checkout or filling out a form on a new website. Who wants to give out their real email address every time? So, the 'email@example.com' or 'firstname.lastname@example.org' make an appearance.
Data transfer can also be a landmine of problems. Encoding, data types, delimiters, and nulls - it's easy to mess things up. Extra columns may sneak in accidentally, setting you up for a future headache.
What’s the solution?
The good news is, these data quality issues aren't some unsolvable mystery - it all starts with nipping problems in the bud. For starters, you can put up guardrails in your data collection process. Stop people from throwing in numbers or symbols where names should be. Of course, there are exceptions for international customers who have unique names, but customizing the rules can save the day - and your database.
Imagine a date of birth field that's a pain to fill in - a simple calendar picker or dropdown can ensure everyone gets it right. Once the data's in, give users a gentle nudge to double-check their info. If their address doesn't match the verified one, ask them to pick the right one.
And here's the real kicker - there are tools out there that can automate the cleanup. They can whip your database into shape, standardize everything, and ensure it's all legit.
And don't forget about keeping things fresh. People change emails and addresses, and they won't always remember to update them. The trick here is to figure out how often you need to run these checks. If you're sending out a massive quantity of emails every month, you might want weekly or monthly checkups. If you're using the data less frequently, an annual cleanup might do the trick.
Of course, the frequency of your checks also depends on how vital the data is. If you're making important reports or decisions based on it, you'll want to stay on top of things. Remember, this isn't a one-and-done deal. Data quality is like maintaining your garden - it needs regular maintenance.
Data Quality is Continuous
Finally, don't forget to align your data quality goals with your business plans. Sure, you can run checks every day, but that might break the bank. It's all about finding that sweet spot where it's both effective and budget-friendly. So, while you can kick-start the data quality journey by being careful in the first place, keeping that data clean is an ongoing adventure.
For more information on Melissa's address verification and data quality solutions, visit www.melissa.com or call 1-800-MELISSA. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog for everything related to data quality!