What is data cleansing and why do you need it?

Data is one of the most valuable assets a business has. Customer records and potential leads are crucial for marketing reach and to keep your business in the minds of everyone who needs to know about you, your products and your services.

It’s no surprise that data changes rapidly. Names, addresses, phone numbers and emails are changed by millions of people and businesses every year. It’s pretty obvious that data needs to be kept up to date for it to retain its true value to your business.

What is data cleansing?

Data cleansing, sometimes referred to as data scrubbing, is the process of editing, deleting and updating information in a database. Broadly speaking, special data cleansing tools and software are able to identify, and in some cases correct, out-of-date, incomplete, incorrect, or duplicated data.

Data cleansing can include data enhancement, email verification and landline verification. Data enhancement cleans your data by getting the correct data format (telephone and postal address) and also by cross checking your data against various suppression databases.

If your business relies on telemarketing for contacting and keeping in touch with clients on the phone, then you’ll know how important it is to have the correct telephone numbers in your database. Data cleansing will be able to check numbers are in service, or if lines are out of order, as well as identify numbers not recognised, and those not accepting incoming calls. Landline verification can ‘sniff test’ the status of landline numbers without actually calling the number.

Email addresses can also be checked in a number of ways during the data cleansing process. The format of emails can be checked to ensure they are recorded in the correct syntax. Configuration can be tested to flag up any email addresses where the domain hasn’t been set up to receive emails. An SMTP check tests the email address and email server for any issues and also checks if the emails actually exist.

Why you need data cleansing?

There are many good reasons why data cleansing is important for your business. Data is constantly decaying. Keeping records up to date is vital to maintaining positive relationships with customers and prospects. Here are some of the reasons why data cleansing should be an active part of your data quality strategy.

• With out-of-date data you’ll waste money contacting people who aren’t there. Clean data will save you time and reduce your costs
• Your response rates will be affected by mail not getting to the right people. Cut out dead data and you’ll get the same return sending out less mail
• Duplicates and incorrect details make your business look inefficient and careless. Keep on top of your data to protect your brand and maintain good customer relationships
• Wasteful mailings aren’t good for the environment. Let your customers know that you care by keeping your data clean
• With clean data you can refine and enhance the information you have to connect more effectively with your customers and improve organisation efficiency
• With a clean database you will be able to easily identify unresponsive or inactive customers
• Freshly cleaned data is the perfect platform to identify repeat customers and create new marketing campaigns
• Clean data is important for accuracy and GDPR compliance