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5 Database disasters High-End Interiors Brands should avoid

Wayne McMaster

10 April 2014

Don't let customer experience and ultimately your brand be damaged by poor data management

1. How often have you sent out mailings to the wrong address, wasting budget on bounced emails and returned direct mailings?

The most important component in a good database system is people who understand the importance of gathering information and of thinking proactively, and who are dedicated to keeping information up-to-date. Laying the foundations - Working with those in the business responsible for collecting and managing customer data can ensure that all details are validated at point of capture and cleaned on a regular basis. The value of a database comes not from the computer program, but from the information that is gathered and tracked.


2. How often has a customer received a recent piece of direct mail, only for you to discover they passed away?

As data decays over time it is important to maintain accurate customer information. Organisations should regularly clean data and suppress records, for example those who have registered not to be contacted through a preference scheme. This allows the organisation to respond in the most appropriate manner such as identifying when a customer has moved home or addressing sensitive conversations with relatives when a customer has passed away. Suppression rather than removal from the database will mean no future duplicates, or ignoring customer opting out preferences.


3. How often do cagey prospects provide false phone numbers to avoid follow-up calls?

Its particularly difficult to follow up after a 'send me a brochure' web enquiry when the telephone number provided is the correct length but false (77777 777777)
Integration of data capture software into front-end systems is one way to overcome this issue. Verifying new customer details, including email address and mobile numbers, at the point of capture, can ensure that they are accurate and useable.


4. Have you ever considered how often you are communicating with a customer and whether the messages that you are sending them are even relevant?

Utilise insight from customer data - Harnessing the insights and information locked in customer data can remove the guesswork from marketing campaigns. Segmentation based on previous purchasing trends or activity can drive more relevant communications. Creating an Single Customer View, with a single database to consolidate all customer information across an organisation is key to achieving this. Avoid the marketing and accounts/finance teams data working in silos, combining all event client activity into one central database. Many High-End purchases are not impulsive, but considered, and in the case of some items such as kitchens are likely to have a particularly long lead-time before repeat purchase.


5. Are you sure that you are compliant with your communications? Do you know whether your customer has opted out of direct mailings?

Be channel sensitive - Not only would 45% of people leave a company that had contacted them in a way they had asked not to be, but if you are in violation of the Data Protection Act (1998) the UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) can issue fines of up to £500,000.* Accurately capturing and storing a customer’s channel preferences for inbound and outbound communications means a business can respond to that customer via their preferred channel which in turn increases the chance of creating a more positive engagement. Using data to provide a more targeted approach can demonstrate to customers that your organisation understands them. Consolidation of this trust can then greatly strengthen the ability to cross-sell and up-sell to customers with high-end interior products that they actually need and are interested in.

*Reference: itgovernance: penalties:

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