"The fact that Experian Data Quality has an office in Edinburgh to support all Scottish customers means that blue-chip organisations like Scottish Provident make a purchasing decision with confidence."
Scottish Provident are so impressed by Experian Data Quality's address capture product that they have brought forward its implementation, describing it as a 'quick win'.
In the current drive by large corporations to attain a more customer-focused approach, the ability to provide an efficient and friendly service from the first moment of contact has become a critical consideration. Scottish Provident, one of Scotland's market-leading financial institutions, has recognised this fact. Not only has the company brought to the market a number of products designed to suit people's widely differing needs, it is implementing these innovative products on IT systems that focus on giving customers a fast and efficient service.
Their systems, using technologies such as Oracle, Unix and Windows NT, deal with everything from quotations to new business and policy administration. Address capture is being integrated to ensure standardised address records throughout the company.
Peter Clee, Project Manager at Scottish Provident, explained: 'We're tightening up on customer service areas. We recognised that the addressing side of the business was very weak. We don't have any proper address validation at the moment so we're integrating address capture with our current systems.'
Charles King, Senior Account Manager with Epxerian Data Quality said. 'Address management has three main aspects. One is the address capture, which is where Scottish Provident are now. The second step is address cleaning and enhancement of existing records. The final step is keeping the address accuracy to approved Royal Mail levels. The fact that Experian Data Quality has an office in Edinburgh to support all Scottish customers means that blue-chip organisations like Scottish Provident make a purchasing decision with confidence.'
Cris Lewis, Systems Development Manager, sees the adoption of a strategic addressing approach as an important facet in Scottish Provident's communication with its customers.
Lewis described the scenario that exists in companies which have a number of IT systems that have been developed over a number of years, often servicing different parts of a business: 'On one system there might be a different address for somebody, or it might be the same address in a different format. If a customer moves address, then we may have to update a number of systems.'
Lewis used his own experiences as a consumer to highlight the importance of an integrated addressing strategy, something most of us can identify with. 'I get irritated if I ring a company up and they ask me for my address and I have to spell it out to them,' he said. 'Why don't they just ask me my postcode and pick up the address from that?'
With the customer record being the basis of almost any company's data infrastructure, Lewis believes that providing an addressing strategy through the address capture products is an example of how IT departments can introduce business managers to a solution that saves time, money and increases efficiency. He explained: 'One of the roles of IS within organisations should be to help the business understand the opportunities that there are and be a catalyst for change. And I see bringing in a product like address capture is an example of how IS can go to the business and say "There's a real opportunity here."'
In this competitive age of business efficiency and customer focus, tools which deliver both improved customer care and allow the automatic standardisation of the basic record in any data set - the customer record - are rare. Address management is such a tool and is something all companies should consider taking advantage of.