4 ways to fix and prevent duplicate contacts for cleaner data

Duplicate contact data

A customer inquires about their subscription and you go to your CRM to find their contact record.

Instead of a single record with neatly organized data and communication records, you're greeted with six duplicate contacts, all with different details. You daren't check your customer software or other apps in case it's even worse...

How can you know what's accurate? And more importantly, how can you focus on running your business when your data is in disarray?

Duplicate contacts are the stuff of nightmares for many organizations, but it really doesn't have to be that way. In fact, you can fix it right now.

Instead of doing one big clean up and waiting for the mess to pile up again, the best way to solve problems with duplicate contacts is by creating a system that fixes and prevents future duplicates.

Here's how to set this into motion.

 

1. Decide exactly how your apps should interact

The first step to avoiding duplicate contacts is to sync your apps so data automatically flows between them.

With an automated sync in place, you don't have to manually add or import contacts, and you don't run the risk of accidentally adding duplicate contacts.

A two-way sync also means that contact records in all apps are automatically updated in real time with the most up-to-date information for every contact, rather than being scattered across multiple records and apps.


2. Introduce IF/THEN rules

As part of using a two-way syncing solution like PieSync, you'll come across conditional if-this-then-that (or IF/THEN) rules. These are pretty simple, they just mean: IF this is the case, THEN do this.

For example, IF a contact is in Google Contacts, THEN sync it two ways with FreshBooks:

Sync Google Contacts and FreshBooks

 


3. Enable 'Avoid duplicates' on PieSync

There's a feature we've built into PieSync that's designed to avoid and fix duplicate data in your apps. It's called Avoid Duplicates and you'll notice it on your PieSync dashboard as a recommended setting:

Avoid duplicates with PieSync

This only syncs contacts that have an email address, so there's no way of adding rogue unidentifiable contacts with no email attached.

After setting this up, all data associated with a specific email address will be shared between apps - which means that contact records for the same contact will be enriched across your apps.

For example, a CRM record for the imaginary email don.draper@sterlingcooper.com can include all of the customer data we have associated with Don's email across all apps – such as his subscription plan, last invoice paid date, and whether he's opted into newsletters.


4. Implement consistent data entry and rules per app

To stop bad data from rearing its head in the future, set aside some time to implement rules for how your team should add new data to your business apps.

Although you might feel you have other priorities, it's absolutely worth the effort. When your team has clear documentation to follow that shows how to avoid duplicate contacts, you'll be rewarded with much cleaner data that benefits every area of your business.

You can also create clear policies for which contacts to remove from your database, such as unsubscribes, disengaged leads or unqualified marketing leads.

Another tip is to check what your individual apps offer to prevent duplicate contacts.

Many CRMs have built-in settings for duplicate contacts. As one example, HubSpot automatically deduplicates your contacts, companies, deals, tickets and products when they're created through a form submission or an import. If you're a user in a Professional or Enterprise account you can also use the duplicate management tool:

HubSpot duplicate manager tool


To avoid and fix duplicate contacts, a quick and powerful solution is to get started with a free trial of PieSync. Set up a two-way sync to connect accurate customer data between the right apps, and check the Avoid Duplicates setting to improve the quality of your database.

Try PieSync for free

About Lucy Fuggle

Lucy Fuggle writes for PieSync, the two-way contact sync tool for hundreds of apps. She also works with her clients to make their brand matter with a content-rich marketing strategy.