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Data Quality Do’s and Don’ts – Part 2: “I See Dead People” (in my CRM system)


Seeing dead people in your CRM system?

Many of us may remember that chilling quote from the movie The Sixth Sense.  Seeing dead people in your CRM system can be almost as disturbing. Nothing is more likely to cause your CRM users to tune out and turn off than finding deceased contacts living on in your system.

Even more disturbing, these contacts are often known by multiple people in your firm – yet not everyone may be aware that the person has passed. So, when the contact is removed from a mailing or event list, others unaware of the situation may continue to add them back to the list. This can be incredibly problematic, as the last thing anyone wants is to send a card or invitation to a prominent former client who has passed and then receive an uncomfortable phone call from their family or former company.

Involve your data quality team in a process for dealing with deceased contacts.

So, you must have a consistent process and procedure for dealing with deceased contacts. One good method is to have your marketing or data quality team involved in the process. When it is known that a contact has died, they can put ‘DECEASED’ in the title field and move all contact information to the notes field, along with the date the contact was marked deceased. This way, you ensure that the person will not receive future communications. These record updates will then flow back to others in the firm who knew the contact, and everyone who views the contact record will be aware of the person’s passing…
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