What is Data Deduplication?

What is Data Duplication?

Data deduplication (or deduping) is a data cleansing process that can be applied to your CRM system to remove or merge duplicate records.

Duplicate data records include accidental exact copies of records and multiple records that all look slightly different but are about the same entity. These potential duplicates can be more of a problem than exact duplicates, and they are harder to find.

Often, out-of-the-box data deduplication functions will remove the carbon copies for you, but will ignore records that are about the same entity, if they are too different. There may be a high chance of single correct details being lost after the whole record gets deleted as a duplicate. Computers are not people, and unfortunately “too different” can be as simple as a phonetic match spelt differently. Here’s an example:

Say one of your customers, Rob Dixon, has accidentally been created in your CRM system several times. How could that have happened? Let’s think about the different records:

There’s the Rob Dixon record that was initially made when you met him. But a month later, Rob Dixon calls your company and tells one of your colleagues that he has moved house. Your colleague can’t find the original Rob Dixon record because they searched for a “Rob Dickson”, so they create a new record with the new home address.

Just like that, you have two different Rob Dixon’s in your CRM, with two different addresses. It is hard to tell who the real Rob Dixon is. What if there are two Rob Dixon’s? You can’t just delete one of them, so, duplicates and near duplicates pile up.

In order to clean up a this sort of problem, you would first need to identify all of the records in your system that were about the real Rob Dixon. You would then need to review them and remove records that were just wrong: such as a record named Bobby Dixon that had Rob’s old home address. Then, you would need to cut the correct details out of several remaining records and paste them into one master record that details the real Rob Dixon.

Thorough data deduplication of your CRM system helps to heighten your data quality by making your records more complete, more consistent, and more accurate.

Data deduplication is an essential step to take to improve data quality. In a world where data is king, you must treat your data accordingly. Low quality data can be worse than having no data at all.

Processing clean data after it has been deduped:

  • Gives your staff peace of mind knowing they don’t have to search to pull together a single view of a customer
  • Reduces your sales and marketing costs by not mailing dead addresses
  • Improves customer satisfaction by contacting them by their preferred name using their preferred contact medium if they desire to be reached out to, and not contacting them if they have requested to opt out
  • Builds your company’s reputation as a customer-centric well-oiled machine

We are all human, so accidental duplicates in your data are to be expected, however, they should not have to be suffered. No matter the concentration or longevity of data duplicates, it is not too late to cure them, and revive your CRM.   As the old saying goes, “Prevention is better than Cure”. It is perfectly possible to sustain your optimum efficiency duplicate free CRM by blocking duplicates from the outset.

Do you think data duplication is harming your business? You can always contact our data specialists here at QGate to help you keep your data looking its best, or visit the Paribus website for details on deduplication tools.

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