Top Ten Tips For Data Cleaning Success

Obviously data needs to be clean and up to date in order to work effectively, but it can be difficult knowing where to start. Our top 10 tips for data cleaning success will help you on your way.

1. Apply a Unique ID

Often called a unique reference number or URN, this field enables the accurate management of data – including tracking and merging of changes. Importing changes such as data cleaning suppression flags can be done using a URN and the flag itself.

2. Ensure accurate data capture and input

Create a guideline for data capture to improve basic data quality.  This will ensure that all required fields are made mandatory e.g. postcode. Consistency is also vital e.g. Rd or Road, Ltd or Limited, 01/01/2011 or 01.01.2011. This improves data cleaning accuracy and saves processing time.

3. Ensure field separation

Separate core fields – they can always be merged later on e.g. Town, County, Postcode and First Name, Initial and Surname. Data cleaning suppression routines all work with data in separated fields.

4. Choose your data cleaning supplier carefully

Do your research and choose the supplier who best suits your needs. Can they provide a case study or testimonial?  Also, sites like MarketingFinder will help you make an informed decision. Once you have selected your supplier give them as much notice as possible so that time does not become a barrier. It’s better to take 72 hours to get it right than 4 hours to get it wrong.

5. Ask for a free data cleaning audit

Data cleansing is an important process to ensure data quality. Assess the live situation with your data by getting a free data cleansing audit.

6. Protect your data

This isn’t a consideration, it’s a requirement. Your supplier should provide you with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) and a secure method of transferring your data. As an additional security measure make sure you encrypt your data before sending for data cleaning.

 

7. Only export and supply the fields needed

This saves time on transmitting and processing of the data, and saves storage space. If you have a suppression flag on your data, send it or exclude those records. Don’t waste time and money suppressing them again. However if they are goneaways why not send that file separately for data cleaning to see if they can be identified as a mover.

8. Agree return file layout and format

How would like your data returned to you after the data cleaning has been completed?  Agree the file layout and format with your supplier.  Make your supplier work harder to make your job easier!

9. Don’t just mail the file

Once data cleaning has been completed make sure you import the changes into your CRM or database management system. This is where a URN comes into play to make the import easier.

10. Conduct data cleaning little and often

Data changes all the time, so it makes sense that data cleansing should be a regular activity.  You’ll cut mailing costs and reduce wastage by contacting clean data only, plus you can separate a large yearly bill into smaller monthly or quarterly invoices.

If you have any questions, call us today on 01980 592 999 and we can discuss data cleansing options for your business.