This article originally apppeared in the Sept. issue of CUSTOMER magazine.
There’s a lot of talk these days about the value organizations can reap from business analytics. But if that data isn’t accurate, it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.
That’s why Melissa Data outfits businesses with the tools they need to verify that information is current and usable.
“As more and more organizations work to improve operational costs, increase revenues, and manage risks by capitalizing on their return on data, they realize that the quality of the data itself is essential to making those objectives reality,” says Bud Walker, director of data quality solutions at Melissa Data. “Without processes in place to systematically validate and update constantly-changing contact information, data quality quickly deteriorates. An accurate, single view of these critical information assets can dramatically reduce waste while significantly improving customer communication and business intelligence efforts.”
Indeed. Databases housing customer information deteriorate 18 to 20 percent a year due to incorrect or outdated data, including people moving, changing jobs, and making other life changes, says Greg Brown (News - Alert), vice president of marketing. As a result, U.S. companies waste on the order of $6 billion annually due to data quality issues resulting in excess mailing, postage, and other marketing and delivery costs, he says. That’s not to mention the “silent cost” organizations pay in terms of their inability to continue communications with customers, Brown notes.
To eliminate that waste and enable companies to make the most of customer information, Melissa Data offers solutions that verify and correct addresses, e-mail, and phone numbers; parse and genderize full names; and, where desired, append additional customer contact information to existing data stores.
The Data Quality Suite is Melissa Data’s bundled offering of address, phone, e-mail and name verification. WebSmart Services from Melissa Data provide this functionality for organizations that want to leverage the solution via a cloud-based model.
The company sees big potential for its recently launched global address verification service, which is seeing strong interest from companies mailing and shipping internationally. And, this summer, Melissa Data will introduce a lead scoring solution. The latter is a Web service solution that can immediately verify input name and address information, and provides additional contact information for that individual, including associated telephone numbers and email addresses where available.
Melissa Data also sells a solution called MatchUp that eliminates duplicate records in databases – associating similar records even when they look dissimilar. That’s noteworthy given up to 10 percent of contact records in the average database are duplicates.
Identifying, verifying, and combining these duplicate records can save organizations on mailing and other costs, and can provide organizations with a more holistic view of the customer, says Brown. Health care organizations are among those benefitting from this solution, which can be used to consolidate similar patient records from multiple sources and interactions.
Of course, there are plenty of companies that offer data validation. But many of them leverage rule-based criteria to assess whether incoming data looks correct. Melissa Data uses a more intelligent approach.
“There’s a big difference between a phone number that looks right – with 10 digits – vs. one that is correct,” he explains. “Melissa Data solutions make sure that the phone number is actually dialable and connects.”
Small and medium businesses, as well as enterprise customers, find that Melissa Data’s solutions are affordable, easy to integrate with their existing platforms, and deliver on the promised ROI, adds Brown. The company provides free, unlimited technical support to help get customers up and running with its tools. It offers a 120-day ROI guarantee ensuring a 100 percent return on investment within four months.
“Our philosophy is that data quality should always save more than it costs in implementation and vendor fees,” Brown says.
All of the above, and Melissa Data’s expertise and longevity in the field, have led over 5,000 customers – including call centers, e-commerce operations, health care organizations, and every other type of entity with a marketing department and the desire to ensure the quality of its data – to tap the privately-owned, 27-year-old company to meet their data verification requirements.
To find out how your company can benefit from Melissa Data solutions, call 1-800-635-4772 x3.
Edited by Brooke Neuman