One third of businesses say poor data quality leads to the loss of potential new customers

News release


One third of businesses say poor data quality leads to the loss of potential new customers

New Experian QAS survey reveals the good, the bad and the ugly of data quality

London, UK, 19 February 2013 – Despite ninety-nine per cent of organisations having a data quality strategy in place, almost a third still say poor data quality is leading to the loss of potential new customers, according to new research launched today by Experian QAS.

According to the study, which highlights the current state of data management in the UK, the average organisation believes 17 per cent of its total data is inaccurate. Almost a third of respondents (29 per cent) claim this leads to the loss of potential new customers and a quarter (26 per cent) to reduced customer satisfaction.

There has, however, been a significant shift in attitudes towards the task of managing data quality.  Ninety-nine per cent of companies surveyed now have a data quality strategy in place, compared to only 45% in 2009. The research also showed an increase to 94 per cent (92 per cent a year ago) of companies reporting common data errors, which may be down to the increased implementation of data quality strategies.

“The strategic significance of data quality management is now clearly understood with the majority of companies having a strategy in place,” said Joel Curry, Managing Director at Experian QAS.  “However, less is being done to manage data quality on a process level – both automated and manual data checking are less commonly applied today than they were in 2012. This disconnect between strategy and application is a serious issue, and businesses have shown in the research that they understand the direct and indirect costs of poor data quality.”

Alarmingly the research also showed that 27 per cent of organisations still manually examine data by working through databases line-by-line, and 23 per cent of large (1,000+) organisations only carry out manual checks.  A staggering figure given that the majority (65 per cent) of organisations say human error is responsible for data inaccuracy. 

Single Customer View (SCV) still a long way off
Customers have become more demanding than ever and want to interact with organisations through a variety of means, not just traditional channels such as websites, face-to-face and call centres.  In each, they expect organisations to understand their needs and provide services more effectively, yet 85 per cent of respondents lack the strategy, infrastructure and processes to deliver the SCV that is so critical to multi-channel customer communications.  In the UK, the situation is at its worst – only 11 per cent of organisations claim to have the ability to deliver an SCV.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) coming of age
The research shows that the costs and benefits associated with adopting SaaS to maintain and check data have started to overcome objections around security and risk.  Sixty per cent of organisations reported to be already using SaaS, with 19 per cent managing all their data in the Cloud.  Only six per cent of organisations surveyed have no plans to adopt a SaaS solution in the future.

To download the full research paper visit:

An accompanying Infographic can be downloaded at:


Summary of key research findings

Data quality strategies

  • More than 99% of organisations now have a data quality strategy in place

Data management practices – Methods of managing contact data accuracy

  • Use a dedicated point-of- capture software tool – 40% (49% in 2011)
  • Use dedicated back-office software to clean contact data – 40% (47%)
  • Measure response and return- to-sender rates – 36% (45%) Carry out data analysis using Excel spread sheets – 40% (47%)
  • Work through databases manually line-by-line - 27%

Data quality benefits – Reasons for maintaining high-quality contact records

  • To increase efficiency (63%) To enhance customer/citizen satisfaction (53%) To enable more informed decisions (51%)
  • To capitalise on market opportunities through customer profiling (43%) To enable a single customer view (37%)

Data quality – percentage of contact data suspected to be inaccurate

  • 94% of organisations report that they suffer from common data errors, compared with 92% 12 months ago

Data quality – common data errors encountered

  • Incomplete or missing data (55%) Out-dated information (45%)
  • Duplicate data (43%)
  • Typos (32%)

Impacts of poor data quality

  • Wasted budgets (91%) Loss of potential customers (29%)
  • Reduced customer satisfaction (26%)
  • Inefficient use of staff (33%)

SaaS coming of age?
The cost and efficiency benefits associated with adopting Software as a Service (SaaS) tools to maintain and check data have started to overcome objections around security and risk, as the cloud model has matured across a wide variety of technology-driven services:

  • 60% of organisations are already using SaaS technology to manage data quality.
  • 19% manage all their data this way, and
  • 41% manage some of their data in this manner.
  • A further 8% are in the process of implementing their first SaaS solution, and 4% are in the process of sourcing suppliers.
  • Just 6% have no plans to adopt SaaS solutions at all.

About the survey
Experian QAS commissioned Dynamic Markets to undertake quantitative research into the latest organisational attitudes to data quality across three countries – the UK, USA and France.

Online surveys were conducted in October 2012, and 806 respondents were drawn from GMI’s Global Panel – UK organisations made up 37 per cent of the sample.

Companies surveyed ranged from small and medium sized companies (250-499 employees) to very large enterprises (more than 5000 employees), and spanned a wide range of sectors – from manufacturing, automotive and transport, to financial services, retail and utilities.

The median number of contact databases per organisation was 10, though some claim to have significantly more.

Victoria Melville / Duncan Gurney
Melville Communications
Tel : +44 (0)1483 489009

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2012 was US$4.5 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 44 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

For more information, visit

About Experian Marketing Services
Experian Marketing Services delivers best-in-breed customer data and insight, digital-marketing technologies and data management services into multiple regions around the globe. By helping marketers more effectively target and engage their best customers with meaningful communications across both traditional and digital media, Experian Marketing Services enables organisations to encourage brand advocacy while creating measurable return on marketing investment.

For more information, visit