Friday, 11 May 2012

Have Your Updated Your Customer Database?

With around  1.25 million address changes per year, as reported by Royal Mail, how can contact centres and service desk professionals make sure that their customer database is up to date? To find out more visit
Royal Mail's PAF (Postcode Address File) stores the addresses for 28 million people in the UK and Royal Mail expects to make around 1.25 million address changes to its database each year.  With such a large number of address changes per year, a customer database needs to be adequately maintained and reviewed on a regular basis. 

For a customer database that is not maintained properly, it will  will decay at the conservative rate of anything up to 30 per cent each year.  With such a high decay rate, a customer database will hold no usable information within a short five years' time.  So updating a customer database should be an annual priority for contact centres and service desk managers.

Evidence shows, at a calculated average each year, 13 per cent of people in the UK will move home, 600,000 people will die, 300,000 are expected to marry, 200,000 will emigrate and approximately half a million people will move to the UK.  These changes will make a large percentage of the current customer database and registers completely ineffectual if they are not monitored and maintained correctly.

Maintaining a company database is costly.  For mail order companies, they need to consider the cost of catalogue print and the cost of mailing them out to new addresses.  An average mail order company has a 50,000 strong database for their customers.  Although it will cost time and money to update a database on a regular basis, manually or otherwise, it will save money in the long-term – sending expensive catalogues to the wrong addresses is a futile. 

Old Database = Wasted Money

Incorrect data can cost a company around £20,000.  This is for wasted materials and postage alone, and only based on 10 per cent of decayed data within an otherwise functional database. £20,000 could easily reach a shocking £100,000 if half of the database has become unusable. 

Discrepancies in the customer database can largely affect return on investment (ROI) and simply put, an old database is money down the drain. 

Database Errors Cost Money!

Wasting high volumes of printed material not only damages cultural and social responsibility, but it will cost a company unnecessary money. 

Implementing data quality management (DQM) for a customer database is critical for data driven businesses. 

Accuracy is vital with a customer database and the correct information needs to be captured correctly at the point of entry.  Customer preferences such as choice of contact method are important.  Disturbing a customer on the phone when they specifically asked to be contacted via email could result in a lost customer.
Companies with large a database and high mail volumes will benefit from investing in Data Quality Monitoring (DQM) software.  DQM software can monitor data using specified guidelines set by the company and can raise alarms if anything appears to be inaccurate.  Companies with a smaller database can access web-based on-demand services for a short term service at a relatively smaller cost. 

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