April Fools: Oops, I Have the Wrong Contact Information!

Nearly every day there is a story about a business that mixed up something as basic as having a customer’s correct address, email address, or phone number. Rather than hurt your business’ reputation, learn how you can validate customer contact data and avoid being a fool.

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So here we are. April Fool’s Day! One of those non-official, yet fun, “holidays” that we all enjoyed growing up. Perhaps you were the child that rigged the faucet to spray the next person who used it. Maybe you filled your best friend’s locker with shredded paper. Or possibly, you took the April Fool’s Day theme to the next level and have a funny anecdote to share with people. But now, times have changed.

It’s funny; we see things from a different perspective now in the professional world. What was once entertaining in your youth can be very different in the workplace. Instead of humorous accounts of how he or she “fell for it,” now the reaction is, “I can’t believe that ‘this’ happened to ‘that’ company.”

Being on the wrong end of a story like this can be harmful to your organization’s reputation, especially if the issue is as simple as having accurate and reliable contact customer information. Instead, what was once considered a memorable childhood anecdote becomes an unfortunate tale about your business that you quickly want to forget.

Where’s my stuff?

There are many tales about shoppers who haven’t received their order and have turned to social media to complain. We all know that bad news travels far, fast, and wide; and when someone has a bad experience, they can’t wait to share it! Sometimes those problems are quickly resolved, and other times the story becomes national news.

For the customer, not receiving your package is frustrating—but is often resolved in a matter of hours or days by identifying the correct and validated address. For the business, however, the slight that this type of public dissatisfaction makes to your reputation can slow or diminish your chances of acquiring new customers. Instead of leaving address quality to chance, why not validate that the customer’s mailing address is accurate? Why not test the accuracy before shipping so that the right package arrives on time, at the right address, in the first place?

This isn’t my information!

What about getting an email that wasn’t intended for you? I bet you told your friends about how “XYZ Company” sent you an email by mistake. Sometimes these stories, like those of past April Fool’s Day tales, are humorous. Other times, the implications can be quite scary – like receiving the wrong bank account information, and then having to worry if someone else has your personal information. Mistakes occur. But, when it comes to sensitive information, mistakes like this are not only unacceptable but possibly violate regulatory compliance rules or corporate policies.

That’s why for businesses, monitoring the quality of all customer contact data, including email addresses, is essential. A valid email address should be managed like any other piece of sensitive customer data. Email addresses aren’t just used by marketing for promotional blasts. They are used throughout organizations to communicate with customers. When 22.5% of email addresses change every year, it’s vital to validate email accuracy on a continuous basis.

I’m sorry, but you have the wrong number

Ever receive a wrong number call or text message from a business? The person on the other end is trying to reach John Doe. Have you ever thought, “what if this message was urgent for John Doe?” I never thought much about this until recently.

I learned that a few months ago, I should have received a call about a product recall issued for a part on my car. I had no idea that a dangerous recall had been issued because the messages sent from the dealer never made it to me. To make a long story short, when I leased my vehicle, they wrote down my mobile number incorrectly so the alert never reached me. Without mentioning the manufacturer, I now use this personal anecdote as a cautionary tale to share with others.

Sometimes messages aren’t just promotional in nature; sometimes they are important and need to make it to the right consumer immediately. If the manufacturer had a contact data verification process in place, this likely wouldn’t have happened.

Don’t be the fool

While the cast of characters and circumstances can change from story to story, there are always two constants. The first is the person telling the story. The second is the fool. Don’t be the punch line of the next story of preventable accidents, missteps, and blunders related to data.

Simply validate your customer’s contact data so that they have a consistent and positive experience with your corporate brand. To learn more about how your organization can improve your customer’s experience with great data check out our report: The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey: Great Contact Data.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.