When you are in a service industry where there is a need of calling customers and contacts frequently, you must have experienced that a significant time gets wasted in calling inaccurate contacts or repeat contacts. Since you spend heavily on setting up contact calling system, it is a sheer wastage. You can’t afford it in the competitive environment where the top and bottom lines are always challenged.

Gone are the days when people were keeping the contact lists in handwritten format or worksheets. In the modern world of a hi-tech system, we have sophisticated CRM systems. Since it is the single, centralized system, everyone in the organization refers to it. Your sales team uses it for exploring new businesses. Customer care executives use it to service customers or seeking their feedback. When the contact list is so much important, shouldn’t it be valid and accurate? Yes, it should be. However, many times it is observed that there is a huge mismatch and duplication in the contact list.

Imagine a situation when you make a follow-up call or cold call, and you find that somebody from your team has already called the person. Isn’t it embarrassing at your part? Also, you lose the faith of customers. They feel that there is no coordination in your team. It leaves a bad taste.

Why should you have an accurate contact list?

The mailing list is nothing but the reference data for your sales and marketing team. It contains the demographic details of customers that are used for the purpose of contacting the potential customers. Also, it is used for sending an email and promotional messages. However, the use of contact list is not limited to business promotion only, but it is an instrumental tool in building the reputation of your company. It is needless to say that it is critically important to maintain the accuracy and relevance of it.

When you send a relevant email to right customers, it increases the probability of generating more business. Having said it, the whole purpose gets lost when the data is incorrect. You reach inappropriate customers who are not interested in the products or services offered by you. Even if you keep the quality of communication high, it is of no use because the mail doesn’t reach the correct audience.

Develop a correct contact list to avoid such problems

Inappropriate and erroneous CRM data causes damage to your performance. Particularly, sales and marketing departments are the worst affected parties. When a sizeable percentage of your contacts change the phone numbers, email address or job, the contact list maintained by you doesn’t remain relevant. It is disastrous to rely on the same good old list. Experts give five useful tips to maintain a clean contact list. It not only saves efforts but also keeps your database clean.

Eliminate duplication

Statistics shows that duplication or redundancy is the biggest reason responsible for inaccurate contacts. If there are multiple records of the same customer with a few variations in the other fields, then you end up with calling the same customer repeatedly. He gets annoyed by it and leaves you ultimately. Experts say that you pick a key that you feel is unique, e.g. Email Address. When you add another account, check whether there is any record with the similar details. Thus, you will avoid duplication and wastage of efforts.

If there are already several duplicate records, then merge them so that you have only one occurrence. Sometimes, the duplicate records are not fully identical. Rather, they have partial information scattered in two or multiple lines. In such a scenario, it is not a wise thing to delete the records as you lose some vital piece of information. Therefore, merge the records to make a single, complete and meaningful record.

Enter complete data

It is an extension to the point mentioned above. When you maintain the contact list, make sure that the data doesn’t get entered unless the information is complete. Incomplete data indicates that the quality is poor and there is no meaning in entering such poor quality data. Your sales team is the biggest sufferer of it. They will call the same customer repeatedly which is time-consuming and wasteful.

Standardize data entry by maintaining style sheets

The style sheet is nothing but the drop-down list of the CRM where you fill-in the valid values while doing the baseline setup. It ensures that no irrelevant data goes in the system. All abbreviations, pin codes, designations, salutations, etc. can be standardized by making style sheets. It not only facilitates in correct data entry, but you can also generate a wide variety of reports by putting filters on the relevant data points. When you do the data entry using a data entry module, it is possible to incorporate the style sheet into the front-end entry screen.  It arrests the problem at source.

Establish data security rules

If you are importing data from several sources instead if entering from a front-end module, then you must define data integrity rules in the import program. It ensures that only valid records get loaded in the system and rest all get filtered with a respective error code. Several iterations are required to enter all data records.

Enter only that data which you feel relevant. Flooding the CRM system with loads of junk is not a good practice. If you are loading it in bulk, then follow the normalization process. Format the data properly before you load.  Though CRM database has integrity checks built in, it is always better screening the same beforehand.

CRM offers profile-based access rights. It means users can change particular data fields they are eligible for. The eligibility criteria are decided by the system admin. Access rights can be configured for entry, update and delete actions.

Maintain right contact is highly important when you use CRM system for contacting customers. Make necessary corrections to eliminate duplication and erroneous records. Valid data enhances productivity and profitability. Master list in CRM system is critical from the perspective of getting further business.