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5 signs it’s time to clean your data

Data cleansing is an important practice for online organizations.

Due to the importance of customer relationships in business success, company leaders tend to focus on consumer engagement as a means of increasing profits. Yet, how can organizations interact with their client base without accurate contact and purchasing information?

It's crucial for businesses to keep their data as clean as possible, although many executives find the task to be much more challenging than it seems. In fact, 84 percent of organizations experience quality challenges when it comes to their consumer materials, according to a study from Experian. Companies must have their eyes and ears open to signs their information just isn't cutting it anymore. SFG has five indications that it's time for organizations to clean their data:

A strong sender reputation is critical for ecommerce companies.A strong sender reputation is critical for ecommerce companies.

1. Bad sender reputation
To reach out to customers about the products and services they offer, businesses often rely on email communications. Deliverability is key to the success of this endeavor, as without it messages will likely end up in people's spam folders. Companies want to build a sense of trust and credibility among their customers, but distributing mainly advertisements can work wonders in turning people away from a particular business.

Instead, businesses should focus on creating a mix of strong blog content mixed with more marketing-based pieces. The problem is that it may be too late depending on an organization's sender reputation. Like a credit score, this figure essentially signals how trustworthy a company is to an Internet Service Provider. A bad sender reputation could not only affect a brand's relationship with its customers, but with the web as well.

According to Litmus, there are two different types of sender reputation:

  1. IP Reputation: This kind of credibility is based on the metrics an ISP has historically seen from a particular address. If users don't engage well with the content that comes from a particular IP address, the ISP will lower its sender reputation score.
  2. Domain Reputation: Companies often use more than one IP to distribute information. Utilizing a sending domain enables businesses and ISPs to track all of these addresses together and accumulate a reputation score for the group as a result.

If an organization has a bad sender reputation, it may be time to clean up not only customer data, but communication practices as well.

"Clean data can make employees more efficient at their jobs."

2. Low productivity
Do employees frequently complain about not being able to get in touch with customers based on information stored in your company's database? If so, this is a large indication that data cleansing is needed. When these situations frequently occur, businesses can experience reduced productivity. Instead of communicating with consumers efficiently, workers – especially those in the marketing field – get caught wasting time and money sifting through materials that are no longer useful for one reason or another.

Clean records allow employees to more effectively reach an organization's audience, providing potential clients with helpful information regarding available products and services. If executives witness their team members struggling to complete their daily tasks, leaders should look into cleaning and updating the materials they have. In addition to increasing productivity, this practice can also help businesses save both time and money, according to Adaptive Consulting.

3. High bounce rates
When organizations study metrics related to their business's success, they have many they focus on.  From traffic sources to shopping cart abandonment and beyond, companies rely on these figures to see where their operation could improve. Another important factor to analyze is bounce rates. If leaders witness high numbers in this category, action should be taken quickly. The first place to start is cleansing their customer data.

When looking over bounce rates, organizations will likely see two metrics: soft and hard bounces. Both are incredibly important and should be treated as such. A soft bounce refers to an email that couldn't be delivered for temporary reasons, while a hard bounce is used to designate something more permanent. While the former may occur because a person's email is full or the file was too large, the latter often results from invalid information, according to Hubspot. Regular scanning of their customer database will ensure cases like these take place only on occasion.

Poor data may be causing reduced profits for ecommerce businesses.Poor data may be causing reduced profits for ecommerce businesses.

4. Reduced profits
There is an element of human error that comes into play when discussing dirty data. While it's not uncommon for customers to provide incorrect information on purpose, sometimes it's a slip of the hand or the mind. Still, companies may experience reduced profits as a result of incorrect materials in their database. The key is to nip the problem in the bud as soon as it's discovered. Cleansing data is an ongoing process. It requires organizations to stay on top of their database by frequently sifting through their consumer information to eradicate error-filled and obsolete details.

While businesses may not see reduced profits right away, continuing to overlook dirty data could cause serious problems in a company's earnings. To stay on top of databases and keep information clean over time, Computer Weekly recommends the following steps:

  • Complete audits: Discover the type and location of data issues.
  • Clean: Scrub data by removing errors and mending easy problems.
  • Focus on prevention: Utilize real-time safeguards to minimize the amount of new errors that enter a database.
  • Comply: Appoint an employee who is in charge of monitoring, measuring and managing data quality.

5. Poor business decisions
Have recent choices resulted in subpar outcomes? Dirty data can lead ecommerce organizations down the wrong path, as the information used to make big decisions could be inaccurate. If your business has experienced something similar recently, it's time to clean up the materials you have on hand.

With updated and correct information, online retailers can make more informed, data-driven selections regarding issues both big and small. If the materials in an organization's database aren't clean, then they also aren't measurable. Without analytical information, companies may find themselves in the dark and waste time on areas that may no longer be relevant.

SFG can help ecommerce businesses clean their company and consumer databases to ensure the information in use is accurate. This practice offers many benefits, including cost savings, the ability to make more analytical decisions and increased employee productivity. 

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