This is a guest post with exclusive content by Bill Inmon, Mary Levins, and Georgia Burleson. Bill “is an American computer scientist recognized by many as the father of the data warehouse. Inmon wrote the first book, held the first conference, wrote the first column in a magazine, and was the first to offer classes in data warehousing.” -Wikipedia.
Here’s what you should know about your customers’ voices:
- Something magical happens when a corporation takes the time to listen to its customers.
- As soon as a corporation listens to its customers, the number of customers increases, revenue increases, and eventually, the company's stock increases.
- Credit bureaus must keep accurate and complete data, and credit bureaus must have correct and complete data.
- The credit bureau needs to communicate with the public for various reasons, not least to allow the consumer to dispute the information in the credit bureau's records.
- The consumer has a right to share what they believe might have happened and to make their side of the story known.
Any business, including credit bureaus, can greatly benefit from hearing its customers' voices. You can view and listen to customers' voices on the Internet and access online data without special privileges. Internet users often make it easy to access as they upload data for public consumption.
Something magical happens when a corporation takes the time to listen to its customers. As soon as a corporation listens to its customers, the number of customers increases, revenue increases, and eventually, the company's stock increases. And the Internet is just sitting there waiting for people to pay attention to it.
Customers' voices were studied to determine what they think of credit bureaus. The study examined publicly available comments from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion customers.
A typical comment looked like this:
"I am getting ready to buy a house and wanted to check my report on TransUnion. I thought they ran the same way as Experian, where I can have free monthly monitoring and only have to pay for extras. Well, it's not the same. They charged me $20 right away once I finished signing up. I immediately called TransUnion and had them cancel my account and refund my charge. During my whole sign-up process, it said nothing about being charged money. She told me I was supposed to select the 7-day free trial button... but there was no free trial button. I had to enter my card info for Experian, too, in case I wanted extras, so I thought it would be the same."
The study used several internet sources, such as the Better Business Bureau and Consumer Affairs. We used the same sources for all three credit bureaus, randomly selecting approximately 2,100 comments representing the customers' voices for analysis. Textual ETL read analyzed and fed the comments into a database. Then, we used Qlik to create a visualization.
Interpreting The Results
Several recurring themes were found in the customers' comments.
The purpose of a credit bureau is to acquire and maintain data about consumers' relevant financial activities. Credit bureaus must maintain accurate and complete data. One of the most basic functions of a credit bureau is to issue credit scores, perhaps the most basic function of a credit bureau. So, Aa big part of ensuring data quality is to amend amending data when it is incomplete or incorrect. Of course, the customer complains if credit history data about a customer is not complete or accurate. Customers complain when data about their credit history is not complete or correct.
The credit bureau needs to communicate with the public for various reasons, not least to allow the consumer to dispute the information in the credit bureau's records. Customers cannot always communicate effectively when credit bureau operators have a foreign accent, and it impairs the ability to have effective communication. In addition, the foreign operators may only have been hired by the credit bureau and have a cursory understanding of the procedures they are enforcing. Given the lack of clear communication, another issue is trust. Consumers may not fully trust what the operator tells them and distrust them when speaking to someone with a distinct foreign accent.
Ability to Dispute Incorrect Data
Occasionally, a creditor enters invalid data into the credit bureau records. In some cases, the dispute is incorrect. In other cases, customers may have another side or angle to the activity that could change the outcome. The consumer has a right to share what they believe might have happened and to make their side of the story known.
However, getting that information into the credit bureau's files can be challenging. The consumer may find it challenging when they attempt to correct the incorrect or misleading details, or they may not get the information into the credit bureau’s records.
Occasionally, consumers wish to "freeze" their accounts. Unfreezing the account can be a bureaucratic nightmare. And many consumers have a legitimate reason for unfreezing the account, either temporarily or permanently.
Refund of money
Many consumers feel that the credit bureau has sold services under misleading or deceptive practices. The “fine print” hides the real terms of the agreement for the services rendered, and the consumer feels taken advantage of. The consumer may only see monthly charges on their credit card bill before realizing the cost. So, they may feel like they’ve been “tricked” or “duped” into signing up for credit card services. Then, too, trying to stop the service and trying to be reimbursed is a bureaucratic nightmare.
A credit bureau faces a complex problem because it is challenging to identify an individual. A person proving who they are at the point of doing business is complex, and credit bureaus have got to protect against the fact that a scammer may try to get into the credit bureau's records. The credit bureau and the consumer find it difficult to prove identity remotely.
Breach of Credit Bureau Data
Consumers are worried that an external data breach exposes the consumer unnecessarily to risks beyond the consumer's control.
Mail ID Via Insecure Methods
Occasionally, the credit bureau asks an individual to send sensitive identification documents through the mail. Given the clever scams, consumers are understandably reluctant to send identification information to a total stranger.
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About Bill Inmon
Bill Inmon, the father of the data warehouse, has authored 65 books and was named by Computerworld as one of the ten most influential people in the history of computing. Bill’s company, Forest Rim technology, is a Castle Rock, Colorado company. Bill Inmon and Forest Rim Technology provide a service to companies by helping them hear their customers' voices. See more at www.forestrimtech.com.
About Mary Levins
Mary Levins is the owner of Sierra Creek Consulting, a data management and strategy company that brings value to companies through data. She is recognized as an entrepreneur and leader in Enterprise Data Management and Data Governance with more than 20 years of experience in the industry. See more at www.sierracreekconsulting.com.
About Georgia Burleson
Georgia Burleson is a Data Analyst at Forest Rim Technology LLC. See more at www.forestrimtech.com.