Businesses putting customer data at risk

A study conducted by DMC Software has found 79% of businesses in the UK are failing to put customer experience first, due to poor data quality, with just 21% of organisations confident in the customer data they hold.

While many businesses claim they are aware of the importance of data and analytics possess in building long-lasting relationships with their customers, it’s clear many are struggling to make it a priority. However, these relationships are the backbone of a business’s bottom line; ensuring there is a solid data-led business strategy can help to cement meaningful, and profitable, customer relations.

>See also: 5 things all CIAM vendors should be doing to protect customer data

Customer First

2017 has been dubbed the ‘year of the customer’, and it’s estimated by 2020, customer experience will be a key brand differentiator for customers; so why, are businesses failing to place a high importance on their data strategy? After all, it’s data that holds the key to truly understanding an audience and can help to ensure that the strategy a business takes is informative and captures the attention of customers – turning them from prospects to a sale.

With the General Data Protection Regulation, due to begin in May 2018, legislation which is designed to strengthen data privacy and protection, businesses are also required to ensure that they are storing customer data safely as well as using it in a sensitive manner.

>See also: Using big data analytics to win back customer confidence

So, once you’ve acknowledged your data strategy needs to be addressed, where do you start?

The growing problem

It’s currently estimated there is 2.5 exabytes of data being produced every day, which equates to around 90 years of HD video. In fact, by 2020 there will be 44 zettabytes in the world – which when you consider that one zettabyte is the same as 44 trillion gigabytes, it puts the figure into perspective.

While the amount of data businesses hold varies from company to company, with more data in existence than ever before, it’s time for organisations to take stock of their current data strategy and review what needs to be improved.

Poor storage

Part of the problem lies in the storage of data. With just 43% of businesses surveyed using a dedicated CRM solution to store their data. Of the remaining businesses, 20% use Excel spreadsheets, 5% still use paper-based records and 11% utilise their Email Client – which is worrying considering the increase in cyber-attacks.

>See also: Data privacy and security vs personalisation


With the amount of data that businesses hold constantly increasing, companies are failing to implement a successful storage system which ensures they can maintain data accuracy.

88% of customer data records contain errors, affecting data accuracy; resulting in miscommunications with customers or intended recipients not being reached, leading to damaged relations and, in some cases, losing that customer altogether.

21%  are using separate processes for different business functions, in order to manage different processes, such as manage customer relationships or a finance package to manage invoicing. Even if the systems used are fit for purpose, inaccuracies and duplicate data can occur between systems, which will ultimately affect the customer experience and could have an impact on revenue generated.

>See also: Driving retail possibilities and e-commerce with data

Duplicate data

66% of businesses admitted to finding duplicate data by accident, but for businesses to deliver consistent levels of service the data each team has access too needs to be consistent across the board. When interactions aren’t recoded accurately, it means sales and customer service teams do not have a full overview of the customer they are interacting with – leading to miscommunications.

Where high levels of duplicate data occur, this can lead to frustration from customers who are having to repeat information or over communicated to – causing complaints and lowering retention levels.

Incomplete records

A further 79% of businesses were unable to verify if their customer records were up to date, and where email records are inaccurate, 66% experience deliverability issues to the intended recipient. Therefore, customers could be missing essential communications.

>See also: Privacy in the digital age: honouring the customer

What next

For businesses who think they are putting data first just because they’ve invested in a CRM, it’s time to revisit and consider whether it has solved the issues it was intended to fix – if deduping isn’t being conducted, and data isn’t being updated, then it’s time to clean up.

And for those who are using email, paper or multiple systems to keep customer records, then now is the time to ensure that you’re keeping data safe and utilising it to your business’s advantage.  


DMC Software Dirty Data Infographic
DMC Software Dirty Data Infographic


Sourced by Jade Winters, marketing manager at DMC Software


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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