July 22, 2011, 4:34 PM

Inaccurate or incomplete consumer contact data dogs 75% of retailers

12% of contact information in retailers’ databases is inaccurate, a survey says.

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75% of retailers say incomplete, outdated or just plain wrong consumer contact information resides in their databases, hindering their ability to reach consumers, according to a survey of 100 retailers conducted in June by data quality services vendor Experian QAS.

Retailers say 12% of the data in their customer databases are inaccurate, which is less than the 23% average found when Experian QAS included another 200 responses from professionals in the insurance and banking industries. Experian QAS says 36% of retailers use some form of in-house software tools to help them keep their database information clean, whereas the broader average is 30%.

Retailer survey respondents, which included people working in information technology, marketing, operations and finance departments, say errors come from a variety of sources within the company, but 44% believe customer service creates the most data errors.

Experian QAS says it frequently finds that the lowest-quality information in a company database is the information consumers enter themselves, such as when checking out on an e-commerce site. “Users are frequently distracted or in a hurry to complete the transaction,” the company writes in a report on the survey. “Organizations need to ensure the accuracy of this information so that they can follow-up. However, as with adding anything to the e-commerce checkout process, organizations want to make sure they prevent user drop-off.”

More than half of retailer respondents to the survey, 55%, say they capture customer contact data through mobile applications, less than the 68% average shown in the broader survey. Experian QAS advises companies to keep the data collected via mobile to a minimum because mobile consumers are especially anxious to complete the purchase process quickly. It also advises companies to match stored data to return visitors’ accounts so they don’t have to re-enter the information, although it also says to periodically prompt consumers to review the information in case it has changed.

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