Data Collection and Linkage Practices Lack Accuracy

Though most companies aspire to achieve the single customer view, many fail to gather and leverage data in ways that promote consistency and visibility across all contact channels.
Customer Experience

With every customer interaction comes another opportunity to understand the consumer experience. But, just as data continues to grow increasingly bigger, so do the obstacles that often derail analytical and omnichannel progress throughout the enterprise.

Experian Data Quality's "Finding Insight Through Data Collection and Linkage" report explores the current state of data collection and the benefits behind creating the ideal single customer view. The study, which surveyed 250 U.S. data management leaders, highlights that, while most organizations wish to leverage data better to drive insights and inform decisions, poor data collection and linkage practices leave most companies unable to move forward with strategic development business goals. Though these organizations seek to better understand their consumers in an effort to improve experience, retention, and revenue, the majority lack the necessary foundation for data quality, consistency, and accuracy.

The following statistics outline how the average company currently perceives their data collection and linkage capabilities, as well as the imperative practices each must adopt in order to remain successful and competitive:

  • Seventy-nine percent of companies surveyed have an analytics team, with an average of 22 employees on each team. Thirty-eight percent of said teams reside within IT, while 16 percent operate within marketing.
  • While 86 percent of organizations have implemented or are in the process of implementing predictive analytics, 83 percent use purchase history, 68 percent use consumer behavior, and 66 percent use first-party customer information to influence their predictive modeling strategies.
  • Overall, 99 percent of companies believe in the importance of the single customer view. Sixty-six percent agree that it's essential for improving customer service, while 62 percent consider this view necessary for generating business intelligence. However, only 24 percent claim to have achieved this feat.
  • Of the 94 percent that link only some customer information across channels, 71 percent link data using email addresses, 67 percent link data using the customer's name, and 61 percent link via phone numbers.
  • On average, 33 percent of those polled believe their customer data is inaccurate in some way, with 88 percent having some sort of data quality strategy in place. Only 18 percent of companies claim they've reached the optimized state of data quality, where data quality is monitored as a core factor of the business, while 43 percent perform data analysis and cleansing only when issues arise.
  • Of the 76 percent facing challenges when developing their single customer view, companies blame such trouble on the inability to link different technologies (40 percent), poor data quality (34 percent), lack of relevant technology (32 percent), too much data (29 percent), and siloed departments (23 percent).
  • For the 83 percent struggling to link customer information across channels, not collecting customer information within each channel (42 percent), inconsistent customer information collected within each channel (42 percent), the inability to link different technologies (34 percent), and poor data quality (29 percent) continue to present the biggest roadblocks on their path to success.

Key takeaway: Ultimately, if companies cannot link accurate information across channels into one single source, said organizations' efforts will continuously fail to yield the desired insights and ROI. Thus, companies must follow these three rules: ensure data quality, create consistency, and link customer information. When it comes to ensuring data quality, leaders must recognize that inaccuracies usually occur at the hands of human error. By verifying data quality at the point of entry, however, and regularly cleansing what already exists, companies can alleviate problems before they arise. To create consistency, companies must develop one enterprisewide strategy that applies to all points of entry. By making sure to collect one piece of data, such as an email address, from every contact channel, companies can easily identify and link the given customers' data in one profile. But, to truly understand the customer experience, companies must remove all disjointed, disparate databases so they may actively focus on creating the single customer view. This central repository must be accessible for all in real time so they may constantly add new data to this master record. Only by adhering to the report's recommendations will companies begin to lay the groundwork for improved accuracy and experience.