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Data quality is a key component of any business.  At its heart, data allows a business to build great and lasting relationships with customers – both internal and external.

Building a consistent and holistic view of customers is not easy, however. 

It’s important to realise the importance of data granularity.  For example, storing a customers name in discrete data fields (title, first name, middle name, surname) rather than in a single field (name).  Granular data helps group common data sets together and makes analytics easier.

Think about the data you want to capture.  What will be useful?  Clearly gathering email addresses is a must for any business these days – but supplementary data on a customer can also be useful and monetised.  If your business is B2C for example, capturing dates of birth can open a number of marketing and promotional avenues depending on your market vertical.

A wealth of technology solutions exist.  Do you want a bespoke product to manage data, or will you build your own database using SQL technologies?  Is a front end important to allow management, or is a database layer sufficient?  Whether or not you decide a front end solution is required, validation will be key.  Ensuring that data is correct at the point of entry will save you money, so a period of determining what constitutes a valid value for any given field is extremely important.

Whatever you decide in terms of capturing data, don’t underestimate the value and insight that can be gleaned from it.  Data is the key to making the best decisions and establishing great customer relationships, from determining who your customers are to what your customer want.

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