Essentials Magazine Essentials Spring 2018 - Page 28

? ” y t r i D e “ l i u? o y F g tin e s o s c t u tha o s i H h uc r m u w o Ho Y Is BY ST BOB O IMOL A sk any service bureau manager which files are the “dirtiest” and the response you get will always be the house or customer files. They get that way for two main reasons: one, the database they are housed in doesn’t have enough fields to accommodate the data that must be kept on file; and, two, the data entry clerks are too pressed for time to enter data in a consistent manner. Maintaining clean and accurate data regarding your customers and inquirers is important for a number of reasons. It saves money whenever you make a mailing to your customers, it makes a good impression on customers, and it improves your opportunity to identify other educators who teach in the same district or school as your customers. 28 essentials | spring 2018 School and District Data is a Challenge School and district addresses repre- sent a challenge to maintaining a clean customer file. Most companies that use direct mail to support their sales usual- ly rent educator names and addresses from an education database company and then merge and purge their own house files of customers and inquirers so as not to send two promotions when- ever their house file names are also on the rented files. When names and addresses are inaccurate or placed in the wrong fields they are much more difficult to dedu- plicate from names and addresses rent- ed from a database company. Conse- quently, two records that represent the same individual can survive the merge/ purge process that takes place prior to creating the final mail file. There are some legitimate chal- lenges in eliminating duplicates. For example, many school names are longer than most databases can accom- modate. Often they have to be abbre- viated and this makes the school or