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63% of UK businesses have out-of-date customer data

10th Nov 2015
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Over half of all businesses have missing, incomplete or out-of-date customer data, according to Royal Mail Data Services.

63.3% of UK businesses reported out-of-date customer information, while 62.8% also said their customer data was incomplete with gaps in certain data fields, and a further 60.1% admitted to having hardly any data for certain customers.

The issues, revealed in an online survey commissioned earlier in 2015, are directly related to the system of data capture and validation in most businesses says Royal Mail, with less than half of businesses automatically validating the customer data they capture on their websites or as it enters internal systems. 21.4% still have no validation process for customer data captured via the web, while 15% fail to check data that is entered into their internal systems.

"It is interesting to see that a fifth of businesses continue to rely on manual checks of address data,” says Jim Conning, managing director, Royal Mail Data Services. “This is a time-consuming, costly practice and highly vulnerable to human error.”

"If businesses are committed to improving the quality of their customer data, they’ll need to use faster, online, self-service ways to capture and validate customer data."

Former D&B global chief data, insight and analytic officer Paul Ballew states the key to maintaining data quality starts with governance, and suggests best practice should include the following:

· Defining your data standards, including the metrics for adhering to those standards.
· Ensuring data quality at the point of origin and at key checkpoints as data flows through your organisation’s systems and databases.
· Adopting a unique, persistent key that identifies each entity, such as a customer, and the corresponding data that relates to that entity.
· Establishing a nomenclature and taxonomy to identify, categorise and organise your data.
· Implementing a rigorous data maintenance strategy to update constantly changing information.

“Each of these practices must be applied enterprise-wide to ensure consistent handling of data across the entire organisation,” he says. “And if you are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of rigorous data governance, don’t worry, most companies are—or have been—in your shoes. Few companies have all of the necessary capabilities or the global datasets to address all their business objectives.”

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