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Time to spring clean customer databases to drive growth

The last twelve months have been a challenging time for many in financial services, with the pandemic and also Brexit to contend with. This means it’s more important than ever to look at all options to keep customers happy and drive growth in 2021.

Spring clean customer data

A good place to start is with data. Best practice business decision making is based on high quality, reliable data. And as we enter 2021 it’s important to ensure this remains the case, particularly with customer data.

Customer data is one of the most valuable assets financial institutions have. If maintained and used correctly it can help them to prevent customer churn, drive revenue and thrive in an extremely challenging marketplace. This is important when it costs five times more to acquire a customer than retain one. Accurate customer data also enables those in financial services to obtain valuable customer insight, such as a single customer view (SCV). This insight can be used for better targeting, such as personalisation with communications, and inform processes such as new product and service development.  

Data decays quickly

Unfortunately, 91% of businesses have common data quality problems, with customer data degrading at 25% a year without regular intervention. Also, 20% of addresses entered online contain errors, such as spelling mistakes, wrong house numbers and incorrect postcodes. 

Fortunately, incorrect contact data, such as a customer name, address, email or telephone number, can be easily fixed, often with simple and cost-effective changes as part of their data quality regime. This should involve cleansing and standardising held customer data to deliver data quality in batch, as well as when new data is collected, in real time. Ideally, any cleansing tools used in this process should be able to enhance the data by filling in any missing contact details. Beyond cleaning, it’s also vital those operating internationally undertake global address formatting and standardisation, along with collection of the correct country dialling codes, to ensure effective customer communications worldwide. Any standardisation tools must be used in conjunction with and should ideally integrate with the data cleansing service.

Address autocomplete

An important option as part of the cleansing process is an address autocomplete service. These can gather accurate address data in real time at the customer onboarding stage - vital in an age when many consumers are completing contact forms on small mobile screens where they are more liable to make mistakes. They also enable those in financial services to deliver a standout customer service by reducing the number of keystrokes required—by up to 70 per cent—when typing an address. This speeds up the onboarding process, reducing the probability of the consumer not completing an application or a purchase. An autocomplete service also provides a valuable point of difference in a highly competitive and increasingly global financial marketplace, where many offer similar services.

Deduplicate data

The issue of duplicate customer data can be a problem in financial services. It’s commonly caused by mistakes in contact data collection at different touchpoints, and when mergers and acquisitions take place. It’s costly in terms of time and money when communicating with customers. It can also adversely impact on brand reputation – particularly when customers receive more than one of the same printed communication. To prevent this, source an advanced fuzzy matching tool to deduplicate data. By using such a service and merging and purging the most difficult records you save money with customer communications, improve the customer experience and effectively deduce a SCV.

While it’s not possible to control the external forces such as macroeconomics and pandemics that are making the working environment extremely difficult, financial institutions can control their own destinies when it comes to improving business practices with data. Therefore, it’s time for a spring clean of their customer data, which requires data cleansing and deduplication, so they are in the best possible position to standout in a competitive marketplace, reduce customer churn and drive strong growth.

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