I asked our team the other day for their input on blog topics that would help our clients. Donna, who helps Mark with programming and does most of the data imports suggested I do one on clean data. What a great idea. Here's her thoughts about Duplicate and Dummy Records.
Donna: I am surprised at how many clients leave our "dummy" records in their account.
Boyd: These are the profile records that come with your free trial. They are there to give some names to play around with. But, when you're data is imported, get rid of them! We've given you an easy way to do that: Reports / Members - Delete Members. Then under filters: Groups / Group Involvement / People in a Group - pick the Archive group (it contains all these dummy records) and run. Gone. Then, get rid of the dummy groups by clicking the red x on the far right of the browse groups page.
Donna: After I load client data, I can spot the duplicates in the member table. So, I send them files with the records that I think might be duplicates highlighted for them to look at and merge. At least I do this with our larger clients once I have finished loading their data. It boggles my mind how messy some databases are.
Boyd: Listen to Donna everyone! She knows this stuff really well. The Excel file she sends you with highlighted names is pure gold. She has done the hard work. Review the highlights then use our merge feature to merge people together. If you need help acting on her recommendations, let us know.
Donna: I think our different possible duplicate options are a good place to start, but these reports do not catch everything. I am working on a new possible duplicate option that looks at mobile phone and/or email.
Boyd: I love that we've added the logic to the different merge reports on that page for everyone to see and was just talking the other day with a client about using mobile phone and email addresses. Look for that coming out soon.
Donna: I think it would be very helpful for clients to clean up their duplicates. I personally would go crazy if I had to work around these dummy and duplicate records. Is this something that is just a big deal to me? Are we not helpful enough in showing our clients how to remove this date?
Boyd: Donna is spot on, everyone! Find the time. Make the time. Prioritize the time to clean your data. Get rid of that old, dummy data. Many of our clients put a monthly task on their calendar to go in and run the merge reports to keep their data clean. Just do it, so that you can avoid crashing into reports that are at best a wreck, because of bad, lifeless data.