While it’s impossible to control external forces, such as macro economy and pandemics, and their huge impact on trading, it is possible for estate agents to improve internal resources that can play a key role in their survival and growth as the crisis starts to ease. One such resource is customer data.
Decision makers working from home, without the distraction of a busy office environment, have an opportunity to take a step back and look at their business practices, such as with their customer data, and improve them.
Clean customer data: a valuable asset
Customer data is the lifeblood of most businesses. It’s this data—if clean, contemporary and verified—that ensures communications are efficiently delivered for outreach. Also, this data can be accurately analysed to garner valuable customer insight that estate agents can use to keep customers happy and return when they want to make their next move.
And when it comes to selling a property adding geocodes to deliver precise geographic (rooftop) latitude and longitude coordinates, based on accurate customer address data, it’s possible to pinpoint its exact location. This enables agents to add valuable information about the property that can aid sales, such as distances to schools, shops and local attractions, for example.
However, one of the big issues with customer data is that without regular intervention it degrades at two per cent each month and 25 per cent over the course of a year – with moving home one of the biggest factors! Also, in an age when people are increasingly providing contact data via their mobile devices, mistyping contact details on a small screen has become an issue. It’s why approximately 20% of addresses entered online contain errors such as spelling mistakes, wrong house numbers, and inaccurate postcodes.
Cleaning, standardising and deduping data
The good news is data that is simply incorrect, such as customer name, address, email or telephone number, can be easily fixed. All that’s needed are simple procedures in place to ensure customer data is clean. These practices include straightforward and cost-effective cleansing and standardising of held customer data to deliver data quality both in batch, and as new data is collected, in real time, to create a seamless experience for the customer.
By taking this approach estate agents will avoid mis-deliveries of communications that could help build a standout customer experience, and a long-term relationship with customers. This is important when it costs five times more to acquire a new a customer than retain an existing one.
Duplication of records remains a hazard, caused by the mistyping of contact information and through mergers and acquisitions where customer records are merged. It’s why an advanced fuzzy matching tool to deduplicate data should be deployed. It enables organisations to merge and purge duplicate records and also produce a single customer view from fragmented and dispersed data.
As the number of data breaches increases, along with the number of criminals posing as legitimate consumers, it’s more critical than ever that property businesses use a customer verification solution to prevent fraud. In many cases this is something they should be doing anyway to meet anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) regulations.
It’s vital that the data verification tools selected correct, clean, standardise, and add missing components to a customer record. The process must involve matching a particular name to a specific physical address, telephone or email to make sure the customer is who they say they are, ideally in real time, to deliver a standout user experience. To do this effectively requires sourcing a global dataset of billions of records containing data from trusted country specific reference sources, such as credit agency, government agency, utility company and international watchlist data.
To ensure you are best placed to quickly drive forward once economies begin to rebound, a comparatively small investment in an enhanced data quality regime today is the answer. It’s only by having access to clean and verified customer data that you will boost your chances of survival and future growth.