Who is Who?

Blog Administrator | Address Quality, Analyzing Data Quality, Data Management, Data Quality | , , , , ,

By David Loshin

In my last post, I started to list the many different channels and contact identifiers that a single individual could use to interact with your business. What I neglected to delve into is the challenge of unique identification. Let me illustrate using two examples.

If you perform a search at Amazon for books by “David Loshin,” you will get a
list of books. Most of those books that have “David Loshin” as the author were
indeed written by me.

However there is one book about Optics that was written by another author who
happens to also have the name “David Loshin.” Now, this is not a common name (in
fact there are maybe 3 or at the most 4 people with that name that I am aware
of), but it is even more curious to find that there are two people with the same
name who have written books. This first example shows how two distinct
individuals can share the same identifier (in this case, “name”).

The second example is a byproduct of my barely legible handwriting, leading to
transcription errors in which my name is represented as “David Losrin,” “David
Loskin,” among many other minor variations. This example shows that a unique
entity could be referenced using multiple identifiers, even within the same
method of contact.

In essence, sometimes a single identifier represents a single entity, sometimes
a single identifier represents multiple entities, and sometimes multiple
identifiers refer to the same identity. The deeper issue is that attempting to
manage customer identification in the presence of this degree of potential
confusion makes customer centricity challenging, if not practically impossible.

That is, unless your organization has a plan for managing customer
identification and contact. Employing methods for both unifying customer
identities with methods for differentiation can help in driving standardized
processes for accumulating enough identifying characteristics in order to
eventually determining who is who…