Fixing Falling Data Quality

Fixing Falling Data Quality

In this Autumn edition of Postcode News, we feature a charity that needed to fix the falling data quality within their contact database. After receiving high volumes of returns from mailing campaigns, Scripture Union knew a solution was required to improve the accuracy of contact data for 250,000 supporters.

Right to Health Ltd provide tailored health insurance to their customers by understanding their specific needs. When a customer completes a call back form on the website, these vital conversations cannot take place if contact details are missing or inaccurate.

Read more about how AFD’s data validation and cleansing solutions help both organisations overcome their specific challenges.

Spreading the Good News

Fixing Falling Data Quality

Scripture Union is a Christian charity which invites young people to explore the Bible for themselves and understand the difference Jesus can make in their lives. Scripture Union has been doing this since 1867 and today is active in over 120 countries with a strong network of volunteers, staff, partners, and supporters offering a wide-range of activities and initiatives to support its objectives.

Gill Russell joined the organisation five years ago and now works as the Database Manager. She explains: “Working for an organisation that you are passionate about and whose objectives you share is very satisfying, especially when your work directly impacts the reach and engagement with supporters.

The work I do as Database Manager makes a difference because building relationships is key for our growth and funding. Once someone expresses an interest in the charity, we want to nurture that relationship and keep them updated with all the work we are doing transforming lives.

A key communication channel is through physical (posted) mailings to our supporters throughout the year with a magazine, regular updates, and fundraising initiatives. Our database contains 250,000 records and after receiving significant numbers of returns marked “Return to Sender”, we wanted to understand the accuracy of our contact data.”

Accurate - at the Time

AFD Software has partnered with the charity for over 17 years, providing address and bank validation to speed up the process of onboarding supporters and validating the data at the point of entry. Having data validation controls in place is vital but this only helps to ensure that the data is correct at the point in time when it is entered. Checking that this data is still correct over time is also essential. Statistics show that Royal Mail updates around 50,000 addresses on the Postcode Address File (PAF) each month, most people move house eight times in their lifetime meaning that each month around 100,000 people move home - highlighting the vital importance of cleansing and applying the latest available data.

In discussing the partnership, Gill continues: “We have always found the data provided to be accurate and the usability has been good for our staff. When one of the team at AFD made a timely call to discuss data cleansing, we took up the offer of a free data audit to assess the quality of our address data and to see how many mailing suppressions (deceased or goneaway contacts) could be identified.

We must ensure we are not wasting vital funds sending mail to the wrong place and missing the opportunity to connect with our valued supporters, leading to both cost and relationship failures. In addition, even from a regulatory point of view, we need our data and processes to be compliant with GDPR which requires data to be accurate and up to date.”

Results from AFD’s data quality audit identified 25% of contacts within the database had either moved house or deceased, and only 67% of the addresses matched accurately to PAF. Particularly considering Scripture Union’s efforts over many years to ensure accuracy at the point of entry, it was quite a revelation to discover how much the quality of their customer data had degraded over time. Based on the audit and the promise that AFD’s data cleansing solutions could increase the percentage accuracy of addresses on the customer database to 98%, the decision was made to have the database cleansed and suppressed.

Complete Confidence

Fixing Falling Data Quality

Gill continues: “The whole cleansing and suppression process was very good and completed very quickly. Having an individual data specialist to work with and get the job done rather than being lost in a crowd of different contacts or not knowing who to talk to is very helpful. We know our data quality has now been improved, saving thousands of pounds in wasted cost and since mailing returns have reduced, we are building and improving relationships with more of our supporters.

Throughout the process of partnering with The Postcode People to get our data right we had complete confidence that we were doing this with the right team of people.”

Do you have complete confidence in the accuracy of your organisation’s contact database? How recently have you checked that the data you took care to collect accurately is still current? AFD’s free data healthcheck service quickly highlights the accuracy of the data held against the best possible sources.

Contact Joel Miller on 01624 811709 or email organisation regain trust in its data.

Health Insurance for Specific Needs

Fixing Falling Data Quality

Twenty years ago, two friends had a goal to provide health insurance policies tailored to people’s specific needs and started “Right to Health Ltd”. This customer-first focus has allowed the organisation to grow into one of the UK’s biggest healthcare intermediaries with over 30 specialists helping protect 45,000 loyal customers.

We spoke to Gary Marney, Co-founder and Director, to understand more about the organisation and the importance contact data accuracy plays in helping people find the right solution for their needs:

Honesty is always the best policy

“Getting the right policy for a customer requires a conversation with a specialist who has both the knowledge and experience to ask the right questions and use those answers to find the best cover at the best price. We are an ethical company who truly value our integrity, so if the best advice for a prospective client is for them to stay with their existing provider, we advise them accordingly.

All conversations and recommendations are medically driven rather than price driven - which may mean a client is advised to take a policy that is more expensive if we know that the underwriter is more sympathetic to a particular condition affecting that client. Because of our many years of experience in the field and experience with various underwriters, we can be confident that we are offering the very best advice tailored to each individual situation.”

Due to the medical intricacies of the policies provided, customer contact is of vital importance and data quality is a very sensitive matter. Right to Health needed a solution to help ensure more clients could be reached and given the best advice for their needs.

Fixing Falling Data Quality

Essential Contacts

Gary continues: “We can’t provide the right policy to a client without talking to them, so it is essential that we are able to actually reach the people who have requested information. We have relied on AFD’s residential address, name and telephone solution, Names & Numbers for over 15 years to help our specialists reach these prospective clients and to turn them into valued long-term customers.

After switching purely to the internet to generate new leads, we found that when people used the contact forms to obtain a quote, they would make mistakes in the details entered or not submit their phone number.

Using Names & Numbers, we can often look up the phone number of the name and address provided which enables us to improve contact rates by around 6%. That may not sound much, but with 50,000 leads generated annually this equates to an extra 3,000 contactable leads each year - which might equate to around £250,000 of potential profit as we help protect more people.”

In discussing the importance that the data quality partnership has played to the organisation, Gary goes onto say: “AFD Software, The Postcode People, have been and continue tobe instrumental in the growth of our business. We have been able to reach more customers as a direct result of their Names & Numbers product and provide them with the right health insurance solutions for their specific requirements. As a quality data partner, I would recommend AFD to any organisation wanting to improve conversion rates via the quality of contact data.”

AFD Software specialises in helping organisations get contact data right. To discuss your specific requirements around validating name, address, email, phone and bank data, contact Joel Miller on 01624 811709 or email

HotSpot - Joel Miller (Sales and Marketing)

Fixing Falling Data Quality

Having tried his hand as an Electrician, Warehouse Manager, Restaurant Managerand Door to Door Salesman, Joel joined The Postcode People at AFD Software in 2014.

In that time, he has covered various roles and responsibilities within the Sales and Marketing team from writing Postcode News and the AFD website copy, to organising conferences and helping customers improve their data processes with AFD’s solutions.

Understanding customers’ pains and the solutions that solve them brings fulfilment to his role. Being able to capture and share these stories is a constant reminder of the importance AFD’s solutions have, not just to the thousands of organisations that we serve, but to their millions of customers that also benefit from fast, accurate contact data.

Joel used to play football, both 11 and 5-a-side, but an unfortunate eye injury put a firm stop to that. A scarred retina and increased sensitivity to natural light is a small price to pay to be able to spend all his time at the weekends with his family. Married with three children, Joel likes to be out and about with his family as much as the West Yorkshire weather will permit. Favourite family activities are walks (especially during his favourite season – Autumn), playing at the park, bike rides and connecting with other family members.

Data News Q4/21 - PAF Changes

Between July and September 2021, there were significant updates to data on PAF. These included 7 new localities; 9,092 new postcodes; 110,292 new delivery points and 25,398 delivery point changes.

Postcode Double Dependant Locality Dependant Locality Post Town

The most up to date PAF data is available now in our latest Q.4/21 update. You can order updates for any AFD Software solution by calling 01624 811711 or email