Businesses often have a substantial amount to manage when it comes to data. It’s necessary to ensure information is always kept secure, easy to access when it’s required and a non-issue to archive when it eventually becomes redundant.
For those companies running customer relationship management (CRM) systems, however, there’s an even more important issue to be aware of: data duplication. This is a problem that’s not easy to solve, and can often require the use of new solutions and even a shift in company culture. In certain circumstances, it could even be necessary to bring a third-party consultant on board.
This isn’t to mention the innumerable problems that can arise from data duplication. In this article, we’ll take a look at the problem of duplication itself, and the approaches that businesses can employ to mitigate the issue.
Businesses often have a substantial amount to manage when it comes to data.
Taking a closer look at the issue
Duplicate data in a CRM system is commonly a recipe for a host of issues, even though it may not seem entirely problematic. In certain circumstances, there’s even a chance of duplicated data leading to companies losing business.
Let’s take a call centre as an example. An outbound caller may phone out to a customer, offering them a particular product or service at a discounted rate. The customer declines, and the caller logs this in the CRM system. However, the business has two separate records for the same customer, perhaps due to a misspelled name or a date of birth in a different format. Another outbound caller phones out out to the same customer using the different record, and the customer becomes annoyed at having the same offer made twice.
It’s easy to see just how much of a problem this is, especially when it comes to customer data duplication. So how can companies effectively overcome the issue?
Put a plan in place
According to CRM Switch, while CRM data duplication can never be fully eliminated, putting a strong plan in place with written guidelines is one of the best approaches. This means developing guidelines that essentially dictate the “dos and don’ts” of data entry. Essentially, it’s about standardising all information that’s entered into the CRM system, whether that’s how names are typed into the system or in what format staff log birth dates and addresses.
When staff have access to the CRM software, they need to abide by the guidelines. While it may appear as if software is the solution to data duplication, a focus on the right guidelines can be equally as important – and effective.
Once effective guidelines are in place (or even before) it could be a good idea to start thinking about the benefits of an in-house customer data management platform. The Harmony Suite, for example, contains a number of modules that can be used to cleanse, validate and match customer data. This can be done in either a batch operation, when tidying up legacy information, or in real-time, for example in a call centre.
Consider a powerful solution
Harmony Suite also offers functionality such as high-speed entry of both valid and accurate addresses into any screen, address mastering and management accredited with the New Zealand Post and Australia Post, and consolidated customer profiles.
Data duplication can often seem harmless, but if left untended it has the potential to become quite a serious issue. Problems are often compounded when dealing duplication in CRM systems, given the risks of incorrect information pertaining to customers.
To learn more about the Harmony Suite, and the included modules for dealing with data duplication, speak to Mastersoft today.