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The state of data quality is not trending in the right direction. A report from Experian Data Quality (EDQ) [download page] reveals that US organizations believe that one-third of their customer and prospect data is inaccurate in some way, up 5% points year-over-year.

It’s fair to say that companies aren’t making strides in this area. A review of past editions of the report likewise shows that between one-quarter and one-third of US organizations’ contact data has been deemed inaccurate in recent years.

As separate research finds, the majority of large US firms believe that inaccurate data can harm their acquisition marketing, customer insights, revenue, and customer trust, among others.

Numerous factors are contributing to data inaccuracies, per EDQ’s latest report. While human error is again seen as the biggest culprit, several factors appear to be turning more problematic over time for US organizations. These include: lack of internal communication between departments; inadequate data strategies; inadequate senior management; and inadequacies in current relevant technology.

In fact, just two factors were cited by fewer respondents this year than last as contributors to inaccurate data: insufficient budgets; and a lack of relevant technology.

Why Data Accuracy Matters

The biggest strategic driver for maintaining high-quality data once again this year is to increase efficiency.

But US organizations also see a number of other reasons for keeping their data accurate, including improving cost savings, protecting the organization’s reputation and brand, and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Better accuracy can also help organizations achieve a single customer view, something which is close to gaining holy grail status at this point.

Organizations are motivated to achieve a single customer view due to the perceived benefits of increased customer sales and revenues, increased customer retention and loyalty, improved strategic decision-making, and improved customer experience.

Nonetheless, the volume and variety of information to parse through, along with technology expenses and disparate data sources continue to prove challenging.

Data Professionals Envision An Improved Customer Experience

EDQ’s survey of more than 1,400 respondents with visibility into their organization’s customer or prospect data management practices reveals that improving the customer experience is the most critical business priority for 2018. This top priority is shared by organizations both globally and in the US.

This finding is echoed by recent research from Radius and Harvard Business Review, in which B2B executives saw data and analytics’ benefits primarily in terms of an improved customer experience.

The majority of US organizations surveyed as part of EDQ’s report indicate that leveraging their data can result in areas of strategic advantage. These include better relationships with customers (61%), better insight for decision-making (59%) and more efficient business practices (57%). About half also recognize that data can help improve their marketing efforts.

With that in mind, here’s hoping next year’s study will find a smaller amount of inaccurate data…

About the Data: EDQ describes its methodology in part as follows:

“Produced by Insight Avenue for Experian in November 2017, the study surveyed more than 1,400 people across four countries around the globe: The United States, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Australia. Organizations that were surveyed came from a variety of industries including IT, telecommunications, manufacturing, retail, business services, financial services, healthcare, public sector, education, utilities, and more.

A variety of roles from all areas of the organization were surveyed, including information technology, data management, marketing, customer service, sales, operations, and more. Respondents were chosen based on their visibility into their organization’s customer or prospect data management practices.”

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