Why Verifying Identities Is Mission-Critical To Lead Generation

by , Mar 11, 2011, 5:15 PM
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Whether you're running an inbound call center or generating leads online, the most important first step is knowing the identity of whom you're communicating with. There is no point in overlaying a host of attributes -- purchasing scores, home ownership, credit worthiness, vehicle ownership, purchasing patterns and lifestyle characteristics - unless you know who is on the other end of the line. The keystone is still "identifiers," because attributes are useless without association to a true and current identity.

Identifiers are a person's name, physical address, landline telephone phone number, wireless telephone number, email address and IP address. The ability to take any combination of these six identifiers, and match any incoming client identifier to produce a prospect's full identity that can then be matched to attributes and scores enhances your decision making.

I am not simply talking about validating that an identifier could be correct; that Bob Jones in fact is a valid name. Rather, it is more important to know that Bob Jones, today, lives at the address and uses the phone number provided. There are significant differences between validating a person's information and verifying it.

Validation is determining if a name, address or phone number satisfy specific requirements. With respect to "name," is the name provided on a names list? When it comes to "address," can it be standardized by the U.S. Postal Service? When looking at the "phone" number provided, is it included in the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) and what type of number is it? When answering each of these questions, validation services are dependent on static lists. Validation says yes or no to the question, "could this name or address be real and is the phone number provided listed in the NANP?"

Verification is immensely different. When looking to verify prospect or customer identifier information, verification determines the relationship, today, that exists among a name, address and phone number. The strongest linkage is the provided name, address, and phone all go together. Furthermore, verification includes the identification of invalid information such as being an invalid phone and a non-standard address. Finally, verification provides insight when a name, address, and phone are not all linked i.e. the name and address matching but having a different consumer name associated with the phone.

When looking to invest in a verification solution, access to authoritative data is king. Where is the data coming from to feed their repository? Is it authoritative and how often is it updated? Only authoritative data -- data that demonstrates the prospect/customer has a billing relationship -- provides the most complete coverage, currency, and accuracy.

To preserve data quality and correctly link records, all the input names, addresses and phone numbers must first be validated then a process of identifying linkages must occur. This allows for the identification of the relationships or lack thereof among names, addresses and phone numbers. They must then be organized into business rules or categories that can be acted upon to utilize all the linkage relationships in a manageable manner. Finally, the solution must be accessible in real-time.

Real-time verification will do your business wonders to improve your interactions with your customers and prospects. It will be a better experience for them and more profitable for you.

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