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Data quality boot camp: Collecting clean data from your website

Melissa Nazar

Melissa Nazar

October 14, 2014

Data quality

Did you know that on average, U.S. companies are collecting data from customers in more than three different channels? With all that data coming in from different places in different formats, it’s no surprise that 85 percent of U.S. companies believe their bottom line is affected by data issues.

Kicking your data into shape

Our databases are hiding a dirty secret—bad data. In this three-part blog series, we will explore three channels where bad data is collected and share how you can kick your data quality strategy into shape.

Your company website: The cornerstone of bad data habits

Imagine the following scenarios:

  • You've just moved into a new home. You research local area utility providers and quickly find an electric company that serves your needs. You enter your address to see if they provide your home with service—they don’t. But you know your neighbors use the company, so how can that be?
  • A friend tells you about a great new website that provides advice on money matters: budgets, investing, retirement and more. You’re interested, so you visit their website—turns out that a local bank is behind the site—and you sign up for a regular newsletter specific to your interests. You never receive the newsletter.
  • Your sister’s birthday is approaching, so you decide to order her that purse she keeps talking about from her favorite online retailer. Her birthday comes and goes, and not only do you not get a thank you for the purse, but you also find out she’s annoyed that you forgot her birthday. After some digging, you learn that the purse was shipped to her street address—in another state.

All of these scenarios are highly frustrating for customers, and can make them feel like they never want to engage with your company again. Failing to consider the quality of data being collected through your website is a big risk—U.S. organizations name their websites at the number one channel using for collecting prospect and customer data.

Keeping data clean

To avoid these kinds of poor customer experiences, you need to collect clean, accurate contact data. Whether it’s addresses, emails or phone numbers, you won’t be able to contact customers if you aren't sure who they are and how to reach them.

What causes these dirty data issues? About 60 percent of the time, it’s human error. A fat fingered street address, a transposed email domain—very small mistakes can create huge issues.

Implementing real-time validation solutions that verify and correct data at the time of entry can help catch very common mistakes.  If a customer enters invalid information into a form, the website immediately prompts them to make a change before they can continue. Real-time verification asks for a correction while the user is still engaged and likely to give accurate information. This helps prevent bad data from impacting your customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

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