In which Jill reiterates the importance of data profiling for those who might be new to the process.
If you ever really want adviceâ€”and I mean good, solid, sit-down-and-breath-it-in adviceâ€”talk to someone whoâ€™s failed. It seems counterintuitive since we all expect to find nirvana by sitting at the feet of the master-du-jour. But thereâ€™s a lot to be learned from someone whoâ€™s fallen and stayed on the ground awhile.
Sometimes it takes hitting the wall before we really understand the impact of bad data. Once upon a time, Hersheyâ€™s put a bad UPC code on a lot of chocolate bars. The UPC code was invalid. So when the consumer went to buy a candy bar, it wouldnâ€™t scan. Now anyone whoâ€™s ever had a chocolate craving understands the calamity of a situation like this. Customers in the throes of a major craving could be found begging the grocery store clerk to manually enter the UPC code, and guess the price. Suffice it to say, this is the opposite of customer delight.
As an enthusiastic consumer of Hershey products, what comes to mind is the sprint back to the chocolate aisle (aisle 7, left side middle at my local grocer) for a replacement. The business side of me considers the impact of the bad UPC codes on the storeâ€™s inventory. And the number of consumer calls the Hershey call center had to field. And the re-production of all those labels. The costs were likely tangible and intangible.
The point is that it usually takes real, bona-fide, costly business pain in order for managers to realize that bad, incorrect, or missing data had a true, tangible financial impact to the business, and to customer loyalty.
My friend Susan B., whoâ€™s a really good mom by anyoneâ€™s standards, refers often to a book called, â€śThe Blessing of the Skinned Knee.â€ť The book talks about how sometimes our kids have to feel pain in order to learn those hard-won lessons. Weâ€™ve all hit the skids, but those of us with the actual scars have more interesting stories to tell. And maybe a bit more wisdom to share.
Posted June 29, 2006 11:46 AM
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