You’ve captured the addresses of customers and prospects the same way for years, and you don’t really want to switch over to another system that requires re-training your employees. The learning curve and training time are nothing, however, compared to the costs your business incurs because of dirty data in your system.
A whopping 94 percent of companies suspect their databases suffer from major inaccuracies, a QAS.com report on data quality notes. Even if you don’t think data cleaning is worth the time and effort, there are indirect and direct costs associated with data quality issues that all businesses need to be aware of.
The postage you spend on returned mail represents a sunk cost you can reduce by following the best practices for data quality and address validation. Another direct cost is the supplies you put into direct mailing campaigns, particularly those offerings that get trashed because they never reach the correct destinations. You may also end up sending the same mailer to a family multiple times, making the message ineffective.
If you’re dealing with data quality issues when you’re shipping out a physical product, you have to worry about whether packages are even getting to the intended destinations. If your customer needs to contact you multiple times to correct a shipping issue, chances are good they aren’t going to continue being your customer. The damage to your brand can result in lost opportunities with customers, and makes it difficult for your marketing department to target specific demographics and interest groups. When you’re trying to leverage an existing customer base, which is three times more likely to purchase compared to a brand new prospect, having accurate data allows you to customize your marketing to your customers. Compared to the amount of lost sales due to dirty data, address validation tools can fit into any budget.
What to Do About It?
If you want to mitigate the damage poor data can do to your company, you have two options. You can have employees go through each record, manually verifying every piece of data you have available. Or, you can invest in an address verification tool that standardizes and checks your addresses for accuracy, removes duplicate entries, and allows you to properly organize your address lists for direct mail campaigns. Some software packages even integrate directly with existing software you may already be using, such as point-of-sale machines and customer relationship management applications. You’ll wonder how you ever managed customer data before without using address verification and other data quality increasing tools.