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Empower Your Team to Deal with Data-Quality Issues
Ignoring the warning signs could put your data at risk.
Posted Jan 9, 2015
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Data-quality issues affect a high percentage of data sets across tens of thousands of businesses. But many businesses fail to spot the danger signs. The longer the problems go undetected, and the longer people fail to act, the more expensive it will be to fix the data-quality issue.

But it's not just a question of cost.

Whose Problem Is It Anyway?

Data quality goes unnoticed or ignored in all businesses, even the most diligent ones. Time and again, businesses think they cannot possibly deal with data-quality challenges, or assume they do not have any issues to deal with anyway.

Small businesses think data quality can't be a concern, since they are on first-name terms with most of their customers. Medium-size businesses see their CRM building nicely, and don't realize how quickly their data is decaying. And large businesses dip in and out of data without assigning anyone a lead role in caring for it.

But data quality is critical to businesses of every size, since all are vulnerable to performance and efficiency problems.

Small businesses could offend a customer or client by getting the details wrong, while medium-size businesses may fail to capitalize on growth once its database starts to age. Large businesses may be sitting on a data warehouse full of inaccurate, useless data; by the time anyone does anything about it, it may have generated thousands of hours of extra work.

So what are the warning signs that you have a data-quality problem?

Breaking It Down

Different data stakeholders interact with data in different ways. The feedback you get from one department will be different from what you get from another, but everyone has their own way of detecting data quality problems.

These comments or situations may be red flags that you encounter across all departments:

1. Dealing with customers on the phone takes a long time.

2. I have no idea what I am supposed to type into specific fields.

3. Customers are frustrated because agents can't see previous conversations they've had with other team members.

4. I have to audit all contact records before using them.

5. I am unable to get reports to match up.

6. Every time I change a record, someone or something changes it back.

7. Email marketing campaigns constantly generate a high bounce rate.

8. I can't find the information I need on the system I expect to use.

9. Customers are complaining that they cannot unsubscribe from marketing messages.

10. There are no required fields in our forms, so we just skip over everything but the name.

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