Christmas is coming… a blog from the PASA Data Working Group

Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat……but the bill from poor data doesn’t have to be. Many people take advantage of Christmas savings schemes or plan for Christmas throughout the year, and perhaps schemes can take some lessons from this. Planning scheme milestones and timeframes for achieving goals, and then taking steps to achieve them is the best way to success and running your scheme effectively.

As well as the cost of Christmas, thoughts are no doubt also turning towards digging out the Christmas card list to send seasons greetings to friends and family. Data will likely have been updated throughout the year as people have got married, moved house, or maybe both! Perhaps schemes can learn from this ‘regular monitoring’ approach rather than leaving updates of the Christmas card list to the last minute and trying to remember what’s changed throughout the year.

Given the low rate of engagement between savers and their schemes, as well as the large number of people schemes need to stay in touch with, the challenge is magnified. While you’re likely to know of changes to your friends’ circumstances, schemes have to rely on savers notifying them, which doesn’t always happen.

The number of cards sent by post has significantly reduced over the last 10 years in favour of e-cards or digital Christmas letters which make it easier to communicate with friends and family (whether they like it or not!). A personal email address is held for 10 years or longer by 51% of people in the UK according to a report by the Data & Marketing Association, meaning most people move house considerably more frequently than they change their email address. Perhaps this digital migration as a way of communicating with savers should be a New Year’s resolution for those schemes not already digitally engaged. Either way, regular attention to contact information and maintaining its currency is critical to the smooth running of a scheme.

While there are similarities between scheme updates and sending a Christmas card,  schemes also need to think about the data required for inclusion with the saver communications. It’s very frustrating to prepare for an annual scheme event or plan a project, only for the quality of the saver data to cause delays, which usually come with added costs. As with contact details, regular monitoring and cleansing of data reduces the burden at point of communication and makes associated costs more manageable.

So if you want a festive season full of sugar and spice rather than a lump of coal, preparation is key. Remember, good data quality isn’t just for Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the PASA Data Working Group!

About the Author

Lucy Collett