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Preparing for data quality errors when managing contact information

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Organizations in numerous fields have an interest in looking over people's contact information - specifically, their billing and mailing addresses.

If you're running a retail company, you need customers' addresses in order to send them everything from catalogs to the goods they've ordered online. In health care, contact information is vital for keeping tabs on people's whereabouts and monitoring their well-being. In education, it helps administrators know where students are achieving well and where they need help.

In all of the above endeavors, data quality is important. Organizations everywhere seek to sharpen their strategies through a better approach to clean information, and if they have invalid knowledge of the consumers who matter most, they could end up making costly mistakes.

That's why address management solutions are important. They help corporations and nonprofits better make sense of all the contact information in their databases.

The complications don't end with mere address validity. According to Data Quality by Example, just because an address is valid, that doesn't mean it's correct. Data expert Jim Harris explained what this means. He lives at 2032 SW 35th Street, but a company recently entered his contact information into a billing system and mistakenly dropped the digit 3. According to the system, he was at 2032 SW 5th Street - that is in fact a legitimate address, but it's not his.

"As this example shows, while the use of a postal validation service is a highly recommended best practice for ensuring valid addresses are entered when data is created, just because you have valid data doesn't guarantee that you have accurate data," Harris concluded.

The lesson here is clear - companies can never be too careful when it comes to collecting high-quality data. Even if you think your addresses on file are correct, it can never hurt to double-check.