Companies are constantly dealing with information from new and existing customers from a range of different sources. DataFlux has long been emphasising that such data should be treated as a strategic asset in order to maintain prosperous relationships with customers.

In order to improve customer relationships a company must recognise the importance of reliable data. It can mean the difference between success and failure. The process of intelligently finding, marketing, selling to and servicing customers requires an enterprise wide implementation of data quality processes and the technology that supports it.

With this in mind I recently decided to undertake an online survey that asked UK-based IT and marketing managers about their customer relationship management (CRM) systems and the quality of data underpinning those systems.

The results of the survey highlight that there is still widespread uncertainty amongst UK organisations regarding the quality of data held about customers. The survey found that almost half the respondents were unsure of the quality of data within their CRM systems and another 13% were not confident about the overall quality of their customer data.

One of the persistent problems highlighted by the survey is that many businesses are operating multiple CRM systems. This, according to 47% of respondents, can lead to data inaccuracies, duplications and inconsistencies, all of which can lead to a multitude of problems.

It is not uncommon for companies to market to children or the deceased, a mistake made as a result of wildly inaccurate data. Duplicate records can also distort the view of a customer and waste valuable resources by marketing to the same customer twice. It can also lead to untrustworthy results when customer data is used for business intelligence analysis.

However, the survey results weren’t all negative. Almost a third (32%) of organisations currently have on-going systems consolidation initiatives. A single, consolidated view of the customer across the organisation is the foundation of solid one-to-one marketing and customer management.

Having a customer’s purchase history, service history and demographic information at your fingertips, in a single system, which you know you can trust, is a critical business asset. It both enables intelligent, personalised marketing campaigns and allows for excellent customer service.