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Guest opinion: Data - quality vs quantity

Author: Chris Poulsom, CRM Director, MDF Database Solutions

Whilst some might find it a boring subject, more and more focus has been put on the collection of customer and vehicle data in recent times. 

As most will be aware, data is the driver of so many areas within a dealership and has a significant impact on business performance.

There are varying degrees of success in the area of data capture and usage in the industry, we still find that the basics of data capture are lacking in places.  Many dealers are capturing a good level of data now though however focus should also be on the actual quality of data being captured.

Let’s say for example a dealer captures or hold a future MOT due date for 100% of vehicles that visit the workshop in the last month but only 70% of them are accurate to within 30 days. 

The potential impact of this is significant, it means that for every 1000 reminders sent x 30% inaccurate MOT due dates, some 300 customers/records impacted as follows to name a few:

- Reminders sent/received at the wrong time

- Wasted marketing items, postage/print costs and time spent fulfilling reminders

- Time wasted calling the customer about something that’s not due

- Impact on staff morale where calling at the wrong time

- Lost business where already done elsewhere e.g. 3 months previous

- Customers losing confidence in dealer/brand ability to look after their vehicle

- Customers less likely to have their car serviced or to remain loyal to the dealer/brand

What is worse than this is where we see due dates being rolled on 12 months when a customer does not return and the process starts all over again 12 months later.

It is harder to measure the accuracy of Service due dates, however, we tend to find that where MOT due dates are inaccurate, Service dues dates are usually inaccurate to the same degree so double the impact.

For our clients, quality measurements are now more possible with our ability to measure MOT due date accuracy vs what the DVSA hold plus supply back correct dates in bulk meaning 100% accuracy or as near to amongst other data quality measures.  The result = more business plus likely better relationships and retention in both sales and aftersales over time.  We also check things like email validly in both format and the percentage of email bounce backs received to address that area if it’s an issue. 

The influence of having accurate data should not be underestimated and if data is not a continual focus in your business this may be some food for thought.  Data is not all in the collection of course, it is how you then use data along with data sources (the latest buzzword is ‘Big Data’) that makes all the difference.  There is so much more that could be said but I’ll leave that for another day.

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