It may not be one of the sexier components of any e-commerce operation, but the fact remains that having solid and accurate customer data information in order to maintain clear lines of communications with your shoppers is a must in this day and age.
The question then becomes, are you one of the haves or the have-nots when it comes to an updated customer database?
According to a new study by Experian QAS called The Dilemma of Multichannel Contact Data Accuracy, it seems that accurate customer contact information is falling through the cracks for many retailers even as many are increasingly finding new methods to collect the vital information.
The overall polling carried out in June by Experian QAS, a division of Experian Marketing Services and provider of address verification services and software, included the responses of 100 or so retailers. The study’s aim was to review current attitudes toward contact data quality and make recommendations for better collection of such data across multiple channels.
Three quarters of the retailers polled say their databases are rife with incomplete, outdated or simply erroneous consumer contact information. They further stated that an average of 12 percent of all the customer information in their databases is inaccurate, which further hinders their ability to reach shoppers. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that among the rest of the industry sources polled (mostly insurance and banking professionals), there’s actually a higher rate of erroneous information (23 percent) in their databases.
Furthermore, 55 percent of the retailers (versus 68 percent for everyone else) say they capture customer data via mobile applications, cementing the utility and effectiveness of mobile in general.
Still, the picture isn’t a pretty one, as evidenced by the fact that 98 percent of ALL respondents say they waste budget money annually on inaccurate contact data.
“The large amount of erroneous contact data is overwhelming businesses, causing them to ignore the inaccuracies in their system,” said Thomas Schutz, senior vice president and general manager of Experian QAS. “With the popularity of alternate channels, organizations face more opportunities for growth, but also for error. Data quality needs to be considered to ensure success from new channels rather than additional headaches.”
Experian’s data shows that 36 percent of retailers use some type of in-house software tools to manage their databases, slightly higher than the survey’s broad average of 30 percent. The company also states that the lowest-quality information in company databases is often that which customers enter themselves, though 44 percent of the retail respondents to the survey pin the blame on customer service.
Nevertheless, Experian recommends that companies keep mobile data collection to a minimum since such shoppers are often in a rush to finish the check-out process, making errors all the more likely.
“Users are frequently distracted or in a hurry to complete the transaction,” the survey states. “Organizations need to ensure the accuracy of this information so that they can follow-up. However, as with adding anything to the e-commerce checkout process, organizations want to make sure they prevent user drop-off.”
The company, among its additional recommendations, also advises that retailers should match stored data on its returning customers’ accounts so the shoppers aren’t forced to re-enter the data with every visit.
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