Introduction to Data Cleaning
Data cleaning is essentially making data fit for purpose, maximising deliverability, reducing financial wastage and ensuring moral compliance and compliance to industry legislation.
For example we can correct address structure, track address movers, remove duplicates and suppress people who have died. In addition to postal address cleaning we offer email address validation, correction and appending. We deliver data cleaning solutions to a wide spectrum of clients, from those that have small bespoke UK customer databases to those with large volume International transactional data.
Some alarming facts and effects of poor data quality
Every day in the UK 1,600 people die, 18,000 move house, 1800 register with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) and 3,000 register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) (source: Experian QAS). UK Business data decays by up to 33% a year (source: UK Changes). Meaning companies cease trading, move premises, change ownership, merge with other companies, and change what their core business does. The cost implications of data decay are significant for a business, to put it in context:
Sadly, in almost all cases, companies believe their data is in better shape than it really is, and are unaware of the negative impact that this will have upon their business both tangible and hidden brand damage.
Duplicates are commonly found in all databases that we are commissioned to upgrade. Often we find that a customer has been logged as a new customer several times as they may have purchased across different channels or changed their details slightly. This may only be an abbreviation of their company name but the affect is that the customer is not fully understood or its true value appreciated. Creating a fully deduplicated single view database is crucial to company’s transactional /financial databases.
Data is also often inconsistent or poorly structured, contains inaccurate information or spurious characters within data fields. Communicating with customers containing incorrect information can be particularly brand damaging. Why should the customer trust the quality of your product/service if you cant even communicate with them correctly?
Business vs Consumer data cleaning
It may sound obvious, but Consumer cleaning will focus on the residents of a household whereas Business will focus only on the business itself.
In some cases however, companies may have both Business and Consumer customers. Or they may be SOHO (small office home office) companies – who may be positioned as a business client but are actually purchasing as a consumer. We have the facility to match customer data against both consumer and business databases and suppression files to enable us to maximise the cleaning success and enhancement opportunity.
How do we clean your data from our Data Clinic?
After initial consultation and assuming Non-Disclosure Agreements are signed, we simply receive your data via our secure file transfer facility.
We establish and agree that the format is suitable for matching for us to produce a data quality audit and diagnostic report. Your data is matched against our suite of suppression tools and range of relevant Business and Consumer databases.
We then report on the quality of your data, how we can improve it, plus a range of extra attributes that we may be able to append and the actual volumes, along with corresponding pricing based on the audit results.
What do you get back?
After agreeing to the menu of upgrades, corrections, suppressions and attributes to append that meet your exact and agreed requirements, we then carry out the work as follows:-
We will return your original file with addresses either overwritten or new/changed addresses appended alongside your originals, whichever rule is agreed in advance.
All Suppressions are either flagged (a match flag would be appended) or the records deleted.
Duplicate records are either flagged (a flag linking the master record to the duplicate(s) or deleted/ring fenced.
Any additional enhancements will be added to end of each corresponding record in separate identified fields.
As a general rule of thumb we do not overwrite our clients’ original data but simply append changes/extra information alongside unless otherwise agreed in advance. This generally allows for further investigation to be conducted by the client prior to re-importing the cleaned data into their CRM systems.
We will return the data to you in the same format you supplied it to us so that it can be read back into your system
We have recently introduced a new email validation service to our website called E-Validate. Upload a sample of your data to our secure E-Validate site to receive a free, no commitment, quality rating of your data.
To help you identify email addresses which will harm your sender reputation and unnecessarily increase marketing costs, we can append the status and description of each address to your data. Using this, you can remove the undeliverables and improve your marketing ROI. Combine this service with our data enhancement solution and we will actively clean your database by either replacing incorrect information with the correct addresses or remove the data we cant replace. Go one step further by appending additional prospect contacts based on those within your current database to really expand your marketing potential.