What’s data cleansing and why is it important to do regularly?

In this FAQ style article, we’re going to answer questions on all things data cleansing and why it’s so important to do it.

If we can give you just one piece of advice? keep your data squeaky clean!

If you have a membership or customer database, correctly casing, PAF validation and preparation for marketing campaigns are all essential measures to ensure your data is clean and up to date every time you come to use it.

Here are the answers to a few of your data cleansing FAQs.

What is data cleansing?

Data cleansing (also known as data cleaning, data scrubbing or datawash) doesn’t require you to get the Fairy liquid out.

It’s the process of detecting and correcting or removing any data from within a database that is…

  • Incomplete
  • Incorrect
  • Duplicated

And GDPR requires you to remove any data that is irrelevant or unnecessary. Take a look at this article for more information on GDPR.

This line from Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

“Used mainly in databases, the term refers to identifying incomplete, incorrect, inaccurate, irrelevant, parts of the data and then replacing, modifying, or deleting this dirty data.”(Wikipedia)

Why is data cleansing important?

Excellent quality data = good long-term customer relationships.

Inevitably over time things change. You must account for births, deaths, marriages and changes of address to name just a few factors that impact on data.

That’s why the process of regular data cleansing is so important to help businesses avoid the risks and expense of bad or ‘dirty’ data, especially since GDPR was introduced.

Now that GDPR is in place, businesses can face hefty fines if they are found to be breaching regulations, by holding and/or using data that is deemed to be irrelevant or where permission hasn’t been granted.

By ensuring your data is as accurate as possible, you’ll be better placed to:

  • Improve your company’s efficiency
  • Guarantee useful data-driven insights
  • Save money on campaigns by only using accurate data
  • Maintain good customer relationships
  • Avoid huge fines by complying to the GDPR

What’s the impact of bad data?

Neglect your data and here are just a few examples of what you could experience:

  • The cost of processing incorrect data
  • Incorrect or invalid invoice data
  • Mail or marketing going to the wrong address
  • Customer frustrations when documents are incorrect/invalid and cannot be processed in time

How can I keep my data clean?

To keep your data clean and performing at its best, it’s important to factor in regular checks of your data. 

We actually offer regular free data checks to our customers. You can find out more about our data cleansing service here.

These are some of the things you should consider…

  • Explore the current state of your data. This will help you measure ROI and scope the size of the data cleansing process
  • Identify and document how data flows in and out of your business
  • Look for any pre-existing issues with how you handle/capture data and try to fix them

How often should we carry out data cleansing?

If you neglect to check your data regularly, the data cleansing process can take quite a while as you will need to go through data which has piled up over the years.

Schedule in regular data cleansing and the process will become much less painful and time consuming.

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