The Importance of Quality Data

By: Melissa Hinrichs

Data can be a tricky thing. There are so many different ways to create, capture, and return data that it can become a little complex at times. Regardless of how the data is to be returned, the important thing is to always be sure to give the client the best quality data possible. Take pride in the data that you’re transmitting. This is the one aspect of the program that you have control over and can prove to the client that you’re a valuable member of the team. The data person is the ‘behind the scenes’ piece of any program. And although we’re not the ‘face’ of the

company that many see, all it takes is some bad data that can make you very visible.

My philosophy behind giving the highest quality data possible has always been ‘if you can’t show the client the importance of returning quality data, what does that show the client about the company as a whole’. Now we can write numerous pages on all the different fields that could or should be captured, the format of each field, and the countless ways of doing data, but I wanted to touch on three pieces that will aid you in delivering quality useful data.

The Layout: This is where it all begins. Needing to know how the client wants the data back and in the format is very vital. It’s very important to know this before working with any data. And the first rule of thumb is to NEVER assume anything. If you are unsure, always confirm first. Not only does this help you escape a lot of stress later, it also shows the client that you truly care about how they need the data. It’s very important to understand the program and what the goal is so that you understand the pieces of the data being returned and then you can dissect each field to make sure the program and the data are aligned.

Authenticate the Data: Now that you have the data to return to the client you need to run a series of checks and balances to double check the data before you return it. Even though you may have set up the program and limited how they enter data, it’s crucial to verify that such data is truly in the format needed. Here are few helpful guidelines to get you started.

Verify that all required fields have a valueVerify that ‘constant’ fields have not beencompromisedVerify that the data is following the flow of theprogram and there isn’t data where it shouldn’t beVerify that the answers for each field are in theformat expected by the clientVerify that the layout is in the correct format

Transmission: The send off. Some clients may be very specific in how they want to receive their data but for those that don’t it’s up to you to make sure it’s sent in it’s finest form. Afterall, this is your last stop on the data train. First find out what the deadline is for the data and allow enough time so that you are not late sending it off. Now for the most important rule of thumb: ‘Quality over Quickness’. This is very, very important to remember. What’s worse than late data is inaccurate data so again do not let the quality be compromised by the speed. If you foresee that you are not going to hit a deadline let communication be your friend. Send a quick email letting your client know you’re going to be late and give them an ETA of the data. And be truthful in your ETA – do not say in 30 minutes if you know it’s going to take you an hour. Give yourself enough time to assess the data thoroughly. Next you’ll need to know how to transmit data. Some clients prefer email and this is acceptable for most data, however if the data contains sensitive information it’s very important to post it to a secure FTP site or transmit it in another secure form. Once the data has been sent, it’s a good idea to send some type of notification of the data you’re sending, whether it be in a transmittal document or just embedded in the email. The 3 pieces of information that are essential in the notification is stating the type of data (sales, finalized records, do not calls, etc); the date(s) of the records in the data; and the number of records being transmitted. This will give the end-user a way to verify they have received all the data.

As I’ve mentioned before there are many ways to format, manipulate, and send data but the basic concept is all the same: Giving the client what they want in the way they want it. If you follow the three steps I outlined above you will be on the right track. Do take pride in what you’re doing. Sending good, quality data is not only a reflection on the company but it’s a reflection of yourself.

Melissa Hinrichs is the Client Services Director for Quality Contact Solutions. Melissa is an invaluable member of the team and ensures that the client always receives flawless data. Prior to working at Quality Contact Solutions, Melissa spent over 10 years working for a Top 50 inbound/outbound contact center in a variety of positions, including Reporting Specialist and Programmer/Analyst.

To contact Melissa Hinrichs: [email protected] or by calling 1-866-963-2889 ext. 205