There are no two ways about it – running a successful modern organisation depends on the use of accurate, relevant data. Research from Gartner has indicated that poor data quality is the primary reason behind the failure of business initiatives, and it can also impact labour productivity by as much as 20 per cent.
For e-commerce businesses that rely on efficient delivery services, there is perhaps no data more vital for success than customer address information. While they may seem like a perfectly simple piece of our identities, addresses contain a lot of moving parts that present challenges with regards to data quality.
Street numbers and names, suburbs, cities and post codes. All of these elements are necessary parts of customer addresses, so to ensure your products are being delivered on time and to the correct location, address validation tools are a smart, cost-effective investment.
How does address validation software work?
When your organisation captures a customer address, there are two key objectives in mind:
- Having accurate information to enable the delivery of goods.
- Making the purchase and delivery experience as easy as possible – both for your operators and the customer.
Unfortunately, achieving a level of consistency when relying on customer input can be incredibly difficult. Many people enter their information in different ways, sometimes forgetting parts of their address such as the post code, entering data into the wrong field, or getting confused when confronted with an information gateway and making mistakes.
An address validation solution removes the guesswork from this process. Operators or customers can enter correctly formatted address data within ten keystrokes. Once the system has enough information to start narrowing down the location, it will prompt you with potential addresses that suit those keystrokes. Then it’s simply a matter of selecting the correct listing from a drop-down menu.
— Powr of You (@powrofyou) July 26, 2016
Consistency – the key to data quality
A crucial inclusion in Bersin’s Ten Elements of Data Quality is standardisation – ensuring that all information is easily accessible and kept in a format suitable for your needs. Rather than leaving the correct data entry method in the hands of your customers or operators, an address check solution can eliminate all the mess and potential mistakes of manual entry by presenting all address data in a standard format.
The benefits of this system will only increase as your collection of customer data grows – all new information will be entered into the database in the correct format, maintaining clean, consistent, accurate addresses across the board.
With address validation, customers can enter correctly formatted address data within ten keystrokes.
When the need to retrieve that information presents itself, it’s much easier to do when it has been entered correctly. Call centres, in particular, can appreciate the benefits of this – the ability to shave a few seconds of searching time off every call adds up to a significant boost in productivity over the course of a week.
Address validation in action
Picture a scenario where a delivery has failed due to inaccurate customer data. After poor entry of information into a system, the address label affixed to a package is incomplete, meaning the courier taking the goods drops them off at the wrong destination.
Once the mistake has been identified, generally the delivery firm will need to go and recollect the package, bring it back to their distribution depot and return it to the seller. All the while, the customer is forced to wait for their purchase to arrive, with each passing day being more frustrating.
Every step of this process costs money and time, both of which could have been saved had the outlet been using an address checker. The label would have been printed accurately, the delivery driver would have known where to go, and the customer would have received their package in an acceptable time frame.
When you’re delivering goods with accurate data you reduce the number of returns, which can be costly both financially and in terms of PR. Address verification is a simple service – one that can save money for your business and heartache for your customers.