Don’t Let Bad Data Ruin a Good Time!

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Person using pen to point to chart on table

I had always wanted to be a tourist. Sure, I had traveled, but I never got to be the kind of tourist that rides an actual tour bus. I wanted the full experience—you know, the cheesy bus tour with the guy in the front who gives you a play-by-play of all the famous sites and landmarks you are passing. Well, I finally got my chance. I was visiting LA, Hollywood to be exact. I had come in a day early to avoid the ridiculously long day I usually put in when I take the red-eye in from Connecticut. It was a Sunday, and it was beautiful.

After passing roughly 802 guys who tried to hand me CDs on the sidewalk and then ask me to pay for them, I got roped into a tour bus ride. A persuasive salesman offered me a deal as I walked by, and sucker or not, I bit. 20 dollars. 90 minutes. Not too bad, right? And, by the way, who hands out CDs anymore? Where do you even play them? But that’s another conversation altogether—back to the bus!

I bought my pass, boarded the open top bus, secured my place in the back, and was ready to be enlightened with fun facts and trivia tidbits. That enlightenment I was seeking…. never happened. The driver, who was a struggling comedian for reasons that were painfully obvious, peppered our minds with a wave of INCORRECT info (data). Of course, I corrected him. More than once. Four, maybe even five times.

Incorrect info (data). Whether it’s presented on a Tinseltown tour bus or in a place of business, it’s a problem. Unfortunately, we’re not always savvy enough to realize when the facts aren’t correct. And, what’s worse, sometimes we make decisions based on those facts—decisions that affect us and others. If you’re a credit union, misinformed decisions can have a damaging impact on your members—and your bottom line.

As the world moves forward into a data-driven decision-making process, it is imperative to trust and verify the accuracy of any data used to create products, services, and promotions. Pull lists? Use them in a timely manner and remember to update them! All too often, stale data is passed along for a variety of reasons. Maybe IT hasn’t had time to get to it. Maybe Marketing doesn’t have access. Maybe (and sadly) people think that 30 days, 60 days, or even 90 days is “recent enough.” Behaviors change, credit scores change, emails and addresses change, people pass away—or on a happier note, simply decide to relocate.

To increase the accuracy of your communication, automate list generation whenever possible. Not only does this save valuable time, it also reduces the need to filter out people who are no longer in your target demographic. Nothing feels as impersonal as when a store, company, or financial institution you already do business with sends you a marketing piece that is either irrelevant to your needs or trying to offer you a product or service you already use.

People want their interactions to matter, to feel that their time isn’t wasted. They want to walk away from a conversation, an article, a phone call, or even a tour bus in LA feeling like they learned something. They want to be inspired, motivated, or at the very least feel like they have a better chance at winning the $1,000 question on Jeopardy. When they miss out on that feeling, they might feel slighted, wish they could get that time back, or in the worst case, decide to take their business elsewhere.

Let’s face it—there are worse things in life than taking a $20 tour bus ride on a sun-kissed afternoon in Los Angeles. If nothing else, the experience gave me some entertaining content to write about! But if I had accepted the driver’s information (as I’m sure many others have), I would still believe that in the movie Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts was shopping at David Yurman on Rodeo Drive. Oh, the travesty!

Seriously. Data ROCKS! Data is incredibly POWERFUL and can help us make our members feel SPECIAL! And, at the end of the day, those of us in Credit Union Land understand that it’s the member experience that truly makes us stand out from the crowd.

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Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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