Be kind—don’t pollute telephone fields

One of the most exasperating things about processing telephone data is all the junk that often gets added next to the numbers. Little notes like “cell”, “parent’s phone”, “call before 8 p.m.” and “disconnected” can wreak havoc when the information is processed with telephone update services or sent through merge/purge, as well as when utilized in-house.

Having the extra information included is particularly destructive when trying to verify telephone numbers or running a reverse append. Often these numbers are flagged as invalid and not properly processed.

Merge/purge can also be harmfully affected if telephone information is used in the match criteria and matches are missed due to the “database pollution”.

The little notes can be a problem in-house as well. They show up when printing telephone lists and when supplying data to your call center. And they can also cause issues when performing queries on the tables.

If notes about telephone numbers are necessary, a separate field should be provided and utilized by the end user. And if the problem persists, database managers can limit the size of the telephone fields so there is not enough room for the notes.

Most importantly, lessons in database etiquette, including a list of do’s and don’ts, should be included in training for anyone who accesses the database tables.

A company or organization’s data resources are among its most important assets. Following a few simple rules when accessing them can greatly help maintain their value and extend their effectiveness.

Be kind—don’t pollute!

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