Managing data can easily become overwhelming…so here are some quick simple steps you can take to improve data.
1. Cost Effective Email Validation
One simple step is to validate every email! There are now many online email validation services out there…they allow you to upload an email file and they will ping the email to see if it’s valid.
So what results can you expect from validating every email address? When you ping an email there are many responses you can receive, they fall into these main categories:
1.The email is accepted fully – The email is valid and you are safe to send an email to that address again
2.The email is rejected (known as hard bounce) – The is no longer valid…you can either remove these emails from you database or validated the contact by calling them
3.The email was rejected (known as soft bounce) – There are many reasons for receiving a soft bounce, for example, their mailbox if full; and you may want to validate these emails a week later
4.The email is a ‘Catch-All’ email – The email domain is validated, for example for Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org only ‘acme.com’ is validated, not the actual email. In this case we are not sure if the email is correct. This happens because the email server is configured not to provide the full answer
These email validation services are very cost effective and a simple step towards cleaning up email data.
2. Have a Simple Data Entry Guide
Sometimes it’s the most obvious and simple ideas that can work a treat. If you have employees that enter data into a CRM application (or any other application) then having a simple guide or cheat sheets can go a long way to improving data.
A great deal of poor data are entry errors…for most people data entry isn’t the highest priority but it is an important one. Imagine a hotel check-in clerk is busy registering a guest, the guest experience is a priority, often the clerk is bombarded with many questions and other actions Therefore, very quickly, data entry can easily be an afterthought.
The data entry guide is a quick reminder for employees and soon enough it becomes second nature to enter data correctly.
3. Create a Simple But Effective Data Measure
Measuring data is part and parcel of managing data. There are so many complicated ways to measure data, but how about using this simple measure. Take your key data fields and apply a percentage to the field if the data is there. Let use an example to illustrate this.
We have 3 fields with the following weights:
Then for these records we calculate the score (last column):
4. Make Data Standards Contractual
I’ve seen companies try to incentivise staff to enter data correctly by providing a simple bonus scheme, I’ve even seen a company penalise staff for poor data entry, but unfortunately, neither of these methods works.
What can work is to place a simple clause in their employment contracts about mindfulness of entering data because it each piece of data is vital to your organisation.
Once it’s in a legal document, we tend to abide by it and it sets the right standard for your company. A very simple but effective step!
5. Include Data in Induction Training
Setting the right tone and habits early on can have significant improvements in data quality.
Once everyone realises that this is important, it becomes the fabric of your organisation. Time isn’t wasted correcting data and you start to live the mantra of ‘Garbage In Garbage Out’.
6. Schedule Data Spot Checks Monthly
You can view data easily by using a Data Profiling tool to check for errors in your data. The tool is very quick and errors are easy to detect, therefore simply get into the habit of scheduling these spot checks monthly. This can save considerable time later on by eliminating errors early on.
7. Create a Monthly Dashboard
Management teams prefer graphs, charts and tables, so having a simple dashboard showing progress monthly will keep the issue of data quality in the minds of senior management.
In the long run, it creates a culture of ‘no bad data’, and everyone benefits for the greater efficiency and results from high quality data.
Just taking these 7 fairly simple steps can really improve the quality of your data and how its managed within your organisations. Just remember staying on top of your data will impact your marketing campaigns and your relationships with your customers and prospects.