What is CRM Data De-duplication & How To Solve It?

So you think your elaborate CRM data is going to get you places with loads and loads of business!

Wait a minute. What if a high percentage of this is actually duplicates in some form or the other of which you have no clue?

At the least your trusted clients will complain that you are sending them more than one e-mail and/ or message or worse, duplicate bills.

If your relation with your clients is good, they may just ignore it with a word of warning. What if it is not? Well, you may just lose a valuable client. And if their business is substantial, this may translate into something far worse.

If you are yet to get into this space, pray you never get here because once you lose a client to competition, your chances of getting them back diminished drastically not to mention the time, money and efforts wasted in doing so.

As a matter of information, CRM data duplicate may take place for the following reasons:

  • The person at the counter entering the customer’s details might not have taken the trouble to check if the details already exist. A word here or a comma there is all that is needed to enter a new (though duplicate) entry.
  • While transferring the data through a third source, the importing software may not be sensitive enough to have observed duplicates.
  • Bugs and loop holes in the software pertaining to the database may itself produce thousands of duplicate records in your CRM.
  • Data from many sources not integrated properly with the CRM system in that entries made in places other than the CRM location may pertain to same individual but may have been entered under different headings.

How do you get out of a sticky situation?

  • A data plan for the entire organization authorized by the management to be strictly followed by all the department(s) without exceptions. In addition CRM data-entry guidelines should also be formed organization-wide to be strictly followed with zero tolerance to deviations.
  • No via-media or side track to be tolerated under any circumstances. Department heads to be held responsible in case of any deviation(s). Staff has a habit of keeping data in excel sheets besides the CRM which should be actively discouraged.
  • Staff responsible for data entry should be trained from time to time to keep them abreast with the latest in the CRM working.
  • To the extent possible, the correction of the data in the CRM should be in real time. Additionally, provide for audits at fixed intervals to obviate the chances of any duplication.
  • Where data is procured externally, the software should be seamlessly integrated with the CRM so as to obviate any chances of duplication.
  • Where data is fed from connected sources such as suppliers, service providers, distributors etc, these bodies should also be trained to work on the relevant system(s) with strict instructions not to deviate from guidelines under pressure of fines and penalties.
  • Information can also come from organizations’ URL which may later appear wrong. To the extent possible, organization’s URL should contain guidelines on how to enter and send information correctly.

Experience is the best teacher. A few years into the business and most organizations do understand where they stand and what they lack. This, is the best teacher. But why learn from own mistakes when there are others showing the way?

Happy spring cleaning!

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