If Sputnik heralded the advent of the ‘Space Age’, it’s fair to say that the internet has heralded what can best be described as the ‘Information Age’.
It could even be said that the Information Age is a direct result of the Space Age, given that the efforts of all the geniuses involved in the ‘space race’ ultimately helped to miniaturise computers and their associated technologies, eventually making it accessible and affordable to everyone.
But however we got to where we are today, there can be little argument that people have access to more information than ever before. Information is freely available in a way that simply wasn’t possible before the so-called digital revolution, and how we manage this deluge of data is ever-evolving.
From a business perspective, how a company uses its customers’ information is key to its success, and this extends way beyond any information a customer enters via the company’s web portal.
Verbal information and anecdotal data given by a customer on a call, for example, can be recorded in their personal profile to help improve customer service in the future. A tailored approach is a good way to go in terms of customer retention, as you stand a better chance of meeting both their short term and on-going needs.
Indeed, it’s thought that the effort involved in retaining one customer can be anything up to seven times more profitable than that of securing a new customer. And effective data management can help companies attain significant insight into their existing client base, to ‘up-sell’, ‘cross-sell’�Цor just plain ‘sell’.
Of course, it’s not just about getting to know your existing customers. A client profile is built up over time, so you need to know in advance what information to gather – so right from the beginning you should be gathering the correct data of your new clients, so that you can offer them an ever-improving level of service as time passes.
However, it’s worth remembering that data does grow old. Telephone numbers change, email addresses change and key contacts at companies can change frequently – often a number of times within a year.
And that’s why data cleansing is a vital cog in the overall data management wheel. Simply put, B2B and B2C sales and marketing initiatives require clean and accurate data.
In terms of B2C, almost 15% of the UK public change addresses each year, whilst in the B2B sphere data decays by over a third year-on-year. And with £18m wasted annually on mailing to deceased individuals, the prudence of effective data cleansing and management really becomes clear.