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Consumer Research


Data standards threatened by poor practices

Data standards threatened by poor practices

Over 40% of Britons received a bill or statement addressed to the wrong person in the last six months, according to dsicmm’s latest study into the customer data standards underlying transactional communications.

Interest and activity in transpromo is on the rise, with analyst firms predicting meteoric growth over the next few years.  These predictions embrace both the use of bills and statements for cross-selling offers from the originating company, as well as selling the ‘white space’ to suitable third parties or affinity partners.  As an advertising medium, transpromo is substantial, valued at some £0.5 billion in the UK alone.  

However, underlying standards in the management and updating of customer records, unless improved, stand to undermine this emerging opportunity. To gauge how widespread data quality problems are within the transactional market dsicmm commissioned a survey asking to what extent people had experienced the worst of data quality offences – receiving a bill or statement for the wrong person.

Government, credit card, mobile phone, banks and storecards emerged as the major offenders in large part, not because their data standards are substantially lower than the other sectors, but because they generate such high volumes of transactional documents.

Misdirected bills and statements are most severely experienced by the 25-34 age group, with almost two thirds (62.2%) having received such transactional documents addressed to the wrong person, consistently reducing across the older age bands up to the over-55s at 25.4%.

This is perhaps not surprising in that new home activity also tails off with age.  However, even amongst the more static but wealthier empty-nesters aged 55 and above, still fully one quarter are experiencing misdirected bills and statements.

Chief Executive of dsicmm, Yolanda Noble, said, “This is surely an indictment on customer data standards at any organisation that sends transactional documents, all of whom want to grasp the transpromo opportunity, but a section of whom seem to be undermining that opportunity.

“The misdirection of these confidential documents causes annoyance and distress and may serve to undermine consumer receptiveness to any targeted advertising that accompanies them

She added, “If transpromo is to be effectively exploited there needs to be an improvement in customer data standards.  Two fifths of the population have received bills or statements addressed to the wrong person in the last six months, which could seriously undermine consumer attitudes to advertising carried in those documents.

“The opportunities presented by transpromo are probably very considerable.  But their effective use requires British business to make significant enhancements to the way it manages and updates customer records.“

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