Getting a Grip on Your Data - Postcode News
Do you want to get a grip on data quality as you work toward compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?
We are helping thousands of organisations on that journey with a range of software and services. These help capture, clean and enhance name and address data; identify duplicate records and validate names and email addresses. How could we help your organisation?
Inside this edition of Postcode News, find out how the Historical Association implemented AFD solutions to move them to better data, lower internal costs and higher levels of confidence – and more value for members.
If you run technical support for your organisation - you will know it's not easy! We asked Chris Edge-Alexander, Head of Technical Services at the AFD Group, to provide insight into the culture of continuous improvement that drives all aspects of our technical support. Find out more, below.
Bringing History to Life!
Putting AFD at the heart of our new system – which incorporated new functionality for member self-service and internal staff use – has been easy.
The Historical Association brings together people who love history, study history and teach history. Its members and subscribers want access to an unparalleled depth of history-related learning resources and to engage with a like-minded community. The Association has delivered this as a charity since it was founded in 1906.
Today it is a vibrant organisation serving over 27,000 people – and through them influencing far beyond this number in schools, colleges and universities. The Historical Association has a network of over 50 UK branches which run over 350 events per year.
Employing just 10 staff, the Association “punches above its weight”. By using efficient systems, processes and data, it is able to serve members through increased focus on publication of journals, magazines and podcasts, and many other services.
Improve, Upgrade, Automate
Emily Randall is the Membership Manager. For four years she has worked to improve the Association’s membership systems and increase engagement from members and subscribers.
Emily explains: “We had a legacy Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which was not fully integrated with our website. This led to a lot of manual work to find and eliminate duplicate records and update details. We needed a new integrated system.”
Emily had clear outcomes in mind. These included maximum automation and self-service by members, elimination and prevention of duplicate records, minimising internal administrative work and having all data connected to each member in one place. In addition, she wanted the organisation to have dynamic, relevant and clear reports.
Emily continues, “Our careful stewardship of revenue from member subscriptions means we can add more value to members. The benefits of process improvement and data accuracy go beyond the financial. They release the passion of our staff from administration to higher value tasks which add further value to our members.”
Accuracy, Service and Confidence
The Association believes that member acquisition and retention and the collection of membership subscriptions rely on address data being correct - so that journals, renewal notices, and other communications reach the intended recipients.
Emily concludes: “Having used AFD for address validation within some of our legacy systems we were familiar with the solutions and knew they were reliable. We had a good relationship with our account manager and were keen to continue using AFD products. Putting AFD at the heart of our new system – which incorporated new functionality for member self-service and internal staff use – has been easy. Occasionally mail is returned. This can be due to people moving and not updating us and is now easily manageable. We are confident in our data and can concentrate on content and member services.”
Time and Money Saved
The Historical Association has significantly reduced the time spent on mundane but essential administrative tasks – including identifying and eliminating duplicates; and re-keying address data entered into one system onto another.
AFD Postcode Plus software plays a hidden but active role in helping the Historical Association expand the number of members, cut costs and improve data accuracy.
Access our data expertise – FREE.
Do you want to cut costs and improve data accuracy as you work towards GDPR compliance?
To book your free bespoke data quality consultation, call Joel Miller today on 01624 811709, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Technical Support - Giving 100%
The AFD Technical Support team serve thousands of AFD Customers who have installed solutions or operate through AFD Hosted Services. In addition, they support all internal technical infrastructure and hosted services infrastructure. How does the team deliver all of this to the highest possible standard?
Thriving on Variety
The team have to engage with customer platforms ranging from old legacy systems to the latest systems… and be ready to support the latest upgrades. They serve customers ranging from sole traders who may have very little technical knowledge, to highly specialised technical experts in some of the largest UK organisations. Plus every member of technical and non-technical staff across the whole AFD Group.
We asked Chris Edge-Alexander, Head of Technical Services at the AFD Group, how do you build a team which doesn’t just cope, but thrives on variety? Chris began: “Our goal is to make external and internal customers happy. To do this I believe each person in the team needs three important personal qualities – they need to be inquisitive, have a solution orientation and take ownership of an issue to follow it through to its resolution. We are constantly improving by understanding, resolving and preventing problems – we thrive on that continuous cycle.
Provided a person has technical aptitude, the technical skills can be learned through study and experience and from being within a strong, diverse and well-established team.”
Setting Service Standards
Chris continued: “Our focus is resolution and we aim to respond to any support request in under one hour. Of course we prioritise any issue affecting a customer’s immediate operation – these situations are rare. We don’t automate responses – each contact is picked up by a specific technical support engineer – who has at their disposal the experience of the team. This person takes full responsibility for the issue resolution.
80% of issues reported can be resolved within one hour. 20% need further information from the customer – and we request this within the hour. A small number of issues need us to research or replicate to understand - or to do some work to fully resolve.
Some customers do like the fact that, with their permission, we are able to securely access their systems remotely to get to a faster resolution. We believe the key to excellent service is a friendly, can-do attitude and good communication.”
Standards for AFD Hosted Services
Chris concluded “The great thing is that for ultimate resilience, any AFD Evolution customer can have an installation on their own infrastructure and failover to our Hosted Services or vice-versa. Our Hosted Evolution System up time for the last 6 months is 100%. As a team, we give 100% and we aim for 100%.”
Scott Howard - Technician
Born in London, Scott moved with his family to the Isle of Man in 1987. Venturing off for three years at University, a year travelling in France and the USA, and three years in London completing teacher training – the island keeps calling him back. Having trained as a teacher, he spent five years in the profession before undertaking a career change two years ago when he started at AFD Software as a Trainee Technician.
Earlier this year Scott completed his formal training with a Distinction and he is now heavily involved in multiple projects within the Technical Support team. “I’ve enjoyed the project work that I take on, as each one offers different challenges and opportunities to improve in my role”.
To keep healthy, Scott enjoys playing squash, going for walks with wife Jen and “Thor the Thunder Dog”, swimming in the freezing Manx seas, and enjoy kayaking and paddle boarding. Scott’s favourite place in the world is New York City due to its amazing food and coffee. His favourite holiday destination is a choice between snow and sun – the Alps for snow and snowboarding, and Gili Air for beaches and sun!
Data News - Q. 4/17
Between July and September 2017 there were significant updates to data on the Royal Mail Postcode Address File (PAF). These included 23 new localities; 8,200 new postcodes; 116,989 new delivery points and 27,129 delivery point changes.
|Postcode||Double Dependant Locality||Dependant Locality||Post Town|
|AL5 3||KINSBOURNE GREEN||HARPENDEN|
|CM77 7||SKYLINE 120||GREAT NOTLEY||BRAINTREE|
|DN19 9||NEW HOLLAND||BARROW-UPONHUMBER|
|HP22 0||ASTON CLINTON||AYLESBURY|
|KY7 4||EASTFIELD INDUSTRIAL ESTATE||GLENROTHES|
|MK43 2||MARSTON MORETAINE||BEDFORD|
|NE3 5||HIGH GOSFORTH PARK||NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE|
|NE61 5||SAXON VALE||ELLINGTON||MORPETH|
|OX29 7||WINDRUSH INDUSTRIAL PARK||WITNEY|
|PE1 5||NEWARK EAST||PETERBOROUGH|
|PE2 8||FLETTON QUAYS||PETERBOROUGH|
|SA62 4||TROOPERS INN||LLANGWM||HAVERFORDWEST|
|SN3 6||BADBURY PARK||SWINDON|
|SY4 1||FORTON HEATH||MONTFORD BRIDGE||SHREWSBURY|
|SY4 4||RODINGTON HEATH||RODINGTON||SHREWSBURY|
|TF4 3||LIGHTMOOR VILLAGE||TELFORD|
The most up-to-date PAF data is available now in our latest Q.4/17 update. The Q.4/17 Names & Numbers update is due for release in November. You can order updates for any AFD Software solution by calling 01624 811711 or email email@example.com