Data quality is on the mind of customer relationship management (CRM) users. It was the subject of Innovative Systems’ most recent Dataversity Demo Day event. As customers adopt virtual options, companies must adjust. They need to improve communications with customers and better understand their needs. If you’ve already adopted a CRM system, you’ll want to make the most of your investment. Data quality is the key to maximizing the ROI of your CRM.
How bad data happens
Any CRM system is of course only as good as the data it contains. Unfortunately, most CRM systems become a dumping ground for data. Companies have many data sources, each with their own formatting and validation rules. They merge all these sources into a single CRM system. Each department that accesses the system brings its own way of entering data. The end result is duplicates, unwanted characters, misspellings, incomplete, and misplaced information.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
This gives rise to the old adage of “garbage in, garbage out”. Without clean, complete, and accurate records, your marketing team can’t personalize communications. Your sales team can’t connect with contacts. Your service department can’t access order histories. Worst of all, leadership can’t rely on dashboards or reports. They can’t gain insights into customer behaviors. Improving data quality is the best way to build stronger customer relationships.
Stop bad data from getting in
The way to prevent bad data is to keep it from entering your CRM system in the first place. The Enlighten Data Quality Suite accomplishes this in two ways.
First, before you add any data to your CRM system, assess it using Enlighten Profiler. This will identify all your quality issues. You can then map and reformat fields using Enlighten Transform. Finally, clean and standardize data with Enlighten Cleanse. Now you will load only clean data into your CRM system.
The second way to prevent bad data is through validation. Enlighten Cleanse uses APIs to confirm data in real time during data entry. This ensures that dates are in a valid range and ID numbers are in a valid format. PostLocate confirms that addresses are complete and valid. Companies now offer more self-service options to their customers than in the past. Data validation is crucial to maintaining data quality.
There are also several things that you can do outside of Enlighten to prevent bad data. Publish data entry rules and procedures and provide user training. Your internal CRM users will understand the need for better data integrity. Their data entry will be uniform and without shortcuts. Provide a field for any data element that is important. Guide external users through data entry with format and validation checks. Do not allow improper entries, especially in critical fields.
Fix bad data
The second step to better data quality is monitoring and maintaining quality. The sad truth is, no matter how clean your data is going in, it will degrade over time without maintenance. You will import new data sets, from acquisitions for example. Users will manipulate data through normal, everyday operations and introduce data entry errors.
The Enlighten Data Quality Suite provides tools to track the quality of your data. Regular reports show you the status of your data. Schedule routine cleaning as often as needed. Your frequency will depend on the rate at which your data quality degrades.
Use Enlighten Cleanse to remove unwanted characters and correct misspellings. Use Enlighten Individual Match to find and merge duplicate people. Use Enlighten Company Match to eliminate duplicate corporate entities. Use PostLocate to complete and correct addresses.
Customer relationship management tools are important for increasing revenue. A CRM system helps attract and retain customers. It can build brand loyalty. You can discover new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. And it doesn’t matter if you use a familiar name like Salesforce, Dynamics, Oracle, or Zoho. Or if you use a system developed in house. You still need clean, complete, and accurate data to be effective.
For an in-depth look at how to improve CRM data quality, check out our whitepaper. If data quality isn’t part of your customer relationship management program, it’s time. Learn more about Enlighten Data Quality for CRM.