Ensure a Positive Customer Experience With Accurate DataOctober 12, 2010 By Joel Curry
Creating a positive customer experience is a top priority for retailers. Not only does it create company advocates, but a positive shopping experience keeps existing customers coming back to buy additional products and services. There are many important aspects of the customer experience, including e-commerce site design and customer service philosophy, but one item that's often overlooked is contact data quality.
Contact data impacts many aspects of the retailer/customer relationship. If that data is inaccurate, future sales could be inhibited. Data quality affects three main areas:
- The ability to deliver shipments: Without accurate contact data, retailers are unable to deliver orders to customers, creating not only unnecessary customer service calls and shipping costs, but also a poor customer experience.
- Analytical data: Contact data serves multiple purposes when it comes to analysis. First, it can provide geographical information to help retailers allocate advertising dollars or make decisions on locations of new brick-and-mortar stores. Second, it serves as a unique identifier for removing duplicate data. This helps to develop a singular customer view that allows retailers to household data or prioritize high-value customers. Without accurate data, this analysis is incomplete or even incorrect.
- Delivery and selection of marketing materials: Coupons, catalogs and other promotions are often sent to encourage purchases. Inaccurate contact information prevents these offers from ever reaching customers or prospects. Marketing dollars spent on such mailings are effectively wasted. In addition, if the analytical data mentioned above is incorrect, customers could receive duplicate marketing offers or be incorrectly targeted due to an incomplete account history.
While it's clear that contact data plays a key role in a variety of functions, is poor data quality really a problem for cross-channel retailers? According to an Experian QAS survey, 97 percent of retailers don't completely trust their contact data quality. So where are data errors coming from?
Data comes from many different places. With the diversification of the retail sector, cross-channel retailers have to be more careful than ever with so many points of customer contact data entry. The worst data often originates from e-commerce sites, where customers enter their own information. Customers are often in a hurry to complete their orders, and can mistype information or forget fields altogether, leaving retailers unable to deliver the order or market to them in the future.