April Fools: Bad Contact Data is No Joke

Bad Contact Data is No Joke
Bad Contact Data is No Joke
So here we are. April Fool’s Day! One of those non-official, yet fun, “holidays” that we all enjoyed growing up. Perhaps you were the child that rigged the faucet to spray the next person who used it. Maybe you filled your best friend’s locker with shredded paper. Or possibly, you took the April Fool’s Day theme to the next level and now have a funny anecdote to share with people. But now, times have changed.

It’s funny; we see things from a different perspective now in the professional world. What was once entertaining in your youth can be very different in the professional world we live in today. Instead of humorous accounts of how he or she “fell for it,” now the reaction is, “I can’t believe that ‘this’ happened to ‘that’ company.”

Being on the wrong end of a story like this can be harmful to your reputation, especially when the reason could be as simple to address as having accurate and reliable contact information for a customer. Instead, what was once considered to be a memorable childhood anecdote becomes an unfortunate tale about your business that you quickly want to forget.

Where’s my stuff?

There are many tales about shoppers who haven’t received a delivery of something they ordered and have turned to social media to complain. We all know that bad news travels far, fast and wide; and when someone has a bad experience, they can’t wait to share it! Sometimes those problems are quickly resolved, and other times the story becomes national news.

For the customer, not receiving your package is frustrating but is often resolved in a matter of hours or days by identifying the correct and validated address. For the business, however, the hit that this type of public dissatisfaction makes to your reputation can slow or diminish your chances of acquiring new customers. Instead of leaving address quality to chance, why not validate that the mailing address provided by your customer is accurate? Why not test the accuracy before shipping so that the right package arrives on time, at the right address, in the first place?

This isn’t my information!

What about getting an email that wasn’t intended for you? I bet you told your friends about how “XYZ Company” sent you an email by mistake. Sometimes these stories, like those of past April Fool’s Day tales, are humorous. Other times, the implications can be quite scary – like receiving the wrong bank account information, and then having to worry if someone else has your personal information. Mistakes occur. But, when it comes to sensitive information, mistakes like this are not only unacceptable but possibly violate regulatory compliance rules or corporate policies.

That’s why for businesses, monitoring the quality of all customer contact data, including email addresses, is essential. A valid email address should be managed like any other piece of sensitive customer data. Email addresses aren’t just used by marketing for promotional blasts. They are used throughout organizations to communicate with customers and, when 22.5% of email addresses change every year, it’s vital to validate email accuracy on a continuous basis.

I’m sorry, but you have the wrong number.

Ever receive a wrong number call or text message from a business? The person on the other end is calling or texting you to reach John Doe. Have you ever thought, “what if this message was urgent for John Doe?” I know that I had never thought much about this until recently.

A few months ago, I should have received a call about a product recall issued for a part on my car. I had no idea that a dangerous recall had been issued because the messages sent from the dealer never made it to me. To make a long story short, when I leased my vehicle, they wrote down my mobile number incorrectly so the alert never reached me. Without mentioning the manufacturer, I now use this personal anecdote as a cautionary tale to share with others.

Sometimes messages aren’t just promotional in nature; sometimes they are important and need to make it to the right consumer immediately. Had a contact data verification process been in place, an issue like this wouldn’t have occurred.

Don’t be the fool.

While the cast of characters and circumstances can change from story to story, there are always two constants. The first is the person telling the story. The second is the fool. Don’t be the punch line of the next story of preventable accidents, missteps and blunders related to data.

Simply validate your customer’s contact data so that they have a consistent and positive experience with your corporate brand. To learn more about how your organization can improve your customer’s experience with great data check out our report: The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey: Great Contact Data.