You can reduce the amount of bad data right at the source by tackling the three primary causes of bad data in CRM and CDP systems:
- The customer data wasn’t entered consistently or accurately.
- The customer data has changed and wasn’t updated.
- The customer data was improperly integrated from different systems that were not designed for the same purpose.
Focus on the following areas to minimize these three causes of bad data:
Customer Form Design
Make sure that your customer and sales representatives know what to do. Many form designers think that their instructions and layout are clear. But, we are dealing in a world with cultural and physical differences that need to be handled.
One pervasive and easily fixed problem has to do with instructions for name entry. It is common in Western Europe and the Americas to ask for a person’s “First Name” and “Last Name.” However, in Japan, Korea, and Hungary the family name is used first. Solve the problem by using terms like “Given Name” and “Family Name.” (Personal Names Around The World.)
The other common problem is that form designers tend to create forms based on the structure of the database rather than the way people want to enter data. How many address lines does your customer need to ensure delivery? How does she enter a post office box, her tower number, her home’s name? It may be best to have large open fields that can be parsed by software into their proper components. If a form structure is required, it is essential to have clear instructions. (More about addresses in forms may be found in an interesting article entitled Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Addresses.)
Data Entry Mistakes
Reduce typos by looking up the customer in real-time and through the use of autocomplete software. You might be able to retrieve customer information by asking a customer for her phone number first. The entire form might be completed automatically, which reduces the change of a typo. The customer can review and make corrections for her on the spot.
In the absence of real-time customer information, real-time autocomplete works well by suggesting addresses as the person types. After she types a few letters, entire addresses can be displayed on a list from which she may select. It saves time and reduces errors. If real-time autocomplete is not feasible, specialized software can also check her entry after it is completed and suggest corrections based on a database of address information.
Proper Data Silo Integration
Luxury retailers have many data silos: online and brick-and-mortar, country by country, and product lines. Each was created for a different purpose and likely has different data in a differing format. When data from these silos are merged, new errors are produced. A complete discussion may be found at Data Silos.