60% of our customer data is rubbish, firms admit

big data still big problem for marketersCustomer data quality may be an issue which has plagued marketers for generations but, even in these days when firms are gathering more data than they can shake a stick at, the vast majority admit to being in the dark ages when it comes to checking whether the information they hold is accurate.
Consequently, most businesses could be relying on just over 40% of their customers to deliver business growth.
That is the rather worrying conclusion of a new report commissioned by Royal Mail Data Services, which highlights that 63.3% of UK businesses reported out-of-date customer information.
Even those who do have current details, 62.8% said their customer data was incomplete with gaps in certain data fields, and a further 60.1% admitted to having hardly any information on certain customers.
The stats are drawn from an online survey commissioned earlier in 2015 by Royal Mail Data Services to understand the use and management of customer data within UK businesses. The survey interviewed senior data, marketing and analytics practitioners from a sample of large B2B and B2C organisations across the UK.
It suggests that continual data quality issues may be the result of businesses’ approach to customer data capture and validation. Only 43.4% of businesses automatically validate the customer data they capture on their websites or as it enters internal systems, while 21.4% still have no validation process for customer data captured via the web, and 15% fail to check data that is entered into their internal systems.
Royal Mail Data Services managing director Jim Conning said: “It is interesting to see that a fifth of businesses continue to rely on manual checks of address data. This is a time-consuming, costly practice and highly vulnerable to human error.
“Contact and address data management solutions are now readily available as cloud-based services specifically designed to automate customer data capture and validation using the most accurate and up-to-date address data available.
“Because these solutions are cloud-based, the need for up-front investment and complex systems integration is removed. 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.”

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