13 Mar 2023
by Barley Laing

Why data cleaning technology is critical to delivering a single customer view [SCV] (Guest blog by Melissa)

Guest blog by Barley Laing, the UK Managing Director at Melissa.

With businesses under significant strain due to high inflation and economic uncertainty, it has never been more important to deliver a competitive advantage to help drive long term growth, along with operational efficiency.

To achieve these objectives gaining insight, a single citizen view (SCV), of those on your database is the answer in these tough economic times. Doing so provides a better understanding of customers, enabling the personalisation of communications. Having a SCV also enables improvements to the delivery of products and services further aiding a competitive advantage, and operational efficiencies with a reduction in inaccurate communications and their associated cost.

Overall, having a SCV will lead to enhanced customer retention rates, increased spend and a standout user experience. It will also help businesses to meet their know their customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) requirements, reducing the opportunity for fraud, which is on the rise.

Data decays rapidly

One of the biggest barriers to delivering SCV is data decay, with user contact data degrading at 25 per cent a year without regular intervention, as people move home and get married, for example. Additionally, contact data collection at the customer onboarding stage is a big issue with about 20 per cent of addresses entered online containing errors. These include spelling mistakes, wrong house numbers, and incorrect postcodes, that are predominantly caused by people mistyping their details into small keyboards on their mobile devices.

Fixing incorrect contact data to help deliver a SCV can usually be undertaken with simple, cost-effective changes, which includes utilising data cleaning technology as part of your data quality regime.

Data cleaning should involve cleansing and standardising held customer data to deliver data quality in batch, as well as when new data is collected, in real-time. Furthermore, the cleansing tools used in this process should be able to enhance the data by filling in any missing contact details.

Autocomplete stops input errors

Technology, such as address autocomplete or lookup, are important in ensuring accurate address data at the customer onboarding stage by providing a properly formatted, correct address when the user starts to input theirs. They also improve the customer experience by reducing the number of keystrokes required, by up to 81 per cent, when typing an address. Furthermore, by speeding up the onboarding process they reduce the probability of the user not completing the sale.

The first point of contact verification can be extended beyond address to email and phone, enabling these valuable contact data channels to be verified in real-time. This ensures the ability to communicate effectively with users, not just on the first occasion but on an ongoing basis, which supports the delivery of a SCV.

Match and dedupe

Duplication of data is a huge problem for many businesses with the average database containing 8 - 10 per cent duplicate records, usually caused by mistakes in contact data collection at different touchpoints or when departments merge their data. 

Duplicate data adds cost in terms of time and money with customer communications, the delivery of which can adversely impact on the sender’s reputation.

To prevent duplication an advanced fuzzy matching tool is required. It’s able to merge and purge the most challenging records, making it possible to create a ‘single user record’ and obtain an optimum SCV. It also reduces the potential for fraud by establishing a unified record for each customer.


The data cleaning tools used should be able to fill in any gaps in the contact data, such as a missing telephone number, as well as correct them where required. This is something which will aid the delivery of a SCV and improve the customer experience. 

SaaS supports data quality efforts

It’s possible to obtain a scalable data cleaning software as a service (SaaS) platform which requires no code, integration or training. Simply plug in and benefit immediately. Such a service can instantly cleanse and correct names, addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers worldwide. A single, intuitive interface provides the opportunity for data standardisation, validation, and enrichment, resulting in high-quality contact information in real-time across multiple databases to help engender a SCV.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

It’s important to recognise AI’s evolving role in adding even greater value in delivering a SCV. For example, a type of machine learning called semantic technology can deliver high value, in-depth intelligence on your customers. Semantic technology, or semtech, associates words with meanings and recognises the relationships between them. It works by delivering powerful real-time connections between records, combining the missing pieces of data to support an informed decision about the content of a communication to a user.

The value of obtaining a SCV is clear for those serious about having a competitive advantage that helps drive long term growth and reduce the opportunity for fraud in today’s volatile economic climate. To achieve this requires having clean customer data, which can best be delivered via sourcing and using data cleaning technology that can correct customer data in real-time in batch and at the onboarding stage, along with deduplicating and enriching data.

This guest blog was written by Barley Laing, UK Managing Director at Melissa. To learn more about Melissa, please visit their LinkedIN and Twitter page.


Barley Laing

Barley Laing

UK Managing Director, Melissa

Barley Laing joined Melissa in 2014 during an exciting expansion phase of the California headquartered company.

As Managing Director, with 24 years of technology and data industry experience, his role is focused on meeting the customer onboarding, data quality and ID/compliance needs for organisations in the UK and worldwide.

The team that Barley heads up provides sales, data consultancy and technical support for their wide range of software solutions, which help organisations to achieve efficient data verification and management; and meet ID, Know your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) requirements. 

Under his leadership Melissa’s UK office has experienced double digit growth over the last five years in a row, including 21% in 2021. Over this period he has significantly grown the UK client base, which includes: the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office; GCHQ; Financial Conduct Authority (FCA); BBC; BAE Systems; GSK and Mars.

Read lessmore