Why do organisations need data verification?

Data verification is the process of checking data against an additional, authoritative data set to make sure the information is accurate.

Often, data verification is used to check the accuracy of data before it informs any decisions or anything is spent acting on it. If the data is determined not to be correct, it can be fixed before money is wasted or organisational reputation is harmed by using it. Data verification is also used to ensure that data is intact and correct after migration or consolidation. In some cases, data verification helps organisations avoid making costly mistakes under privacy legislation.

At DCA, one of the most common use cases we see for data verification is in ensuring customers or donors can be reliably contacted. That’s because contacting people comes with a per-contact cost. This is true whether the method is a telephone call from a customer service officer, an email from a marketing platform, or a good old-fashioned direct mail campaign. That cost is wasted on every record for which inaccurate data is held: every email that is sent but not delivered and every envelope returned to sender represents a cost that a business did not need to pay! The role of data verification in this scenario is to check data against an additional database and eliminate that waste prior to sending.

Which data sets are used for verification changes according to need. Some use cases might include:

  • Australia Post captures 80% of changed addresses through their redirection service. The National Change of Address data is available to check addresses against, so a B2C business could avoid waste on a $5-per-send direct mail campaign by checking their address information is still accurate.
  • Non-profit organisations, depending as they do upon donor relationships and public goodwill, often wish to avoid requesting donations from donors who have passed away for more reasons than just campaign ROI: at a time of tremendous stress, family members of the deceased rarely wish to consider the EOFY donations drive, and may forget to alert the non-profit to the donor’s passing amid all their other obligations. In this case, the right verification data set to help the organisation take a sensitive approach to their circumstances is something like the Australian Death Check.
  • A company planning a call centre campaign to contact customers may need to determine that all the numbers that will be called are still connected, and, importantly, that the consent status of the recipient is up to date. This means checking that none of the numbers have been placed on the Do Not Call Register to make sure the company is complying with privacy legislation.
  • A business that wants to send out an email marketing campaign may need to check whether or not all the contact emails they possess are real email addresses. If bad email addresses comprise a significant percentage of your contacts, it can damage the sender’s reputation and make legitimate marketing emails more likely to register as spam. Verifying that the email addresses in a contact list are attached to real inboxes helps ensure the business can continue email marketing after the current campaign!

There are many use cases for data verification and many sources available to improve the quality and value of a database. Organisations will often use a trusted data broker to make data verification as smooth, compliant and stress-free a process as possible.

If you have questions or concerns about the accuracy of your data, you can contact us to arrange an obligation-free consultation with a data specialist.

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