One of the biggest complaints we hear from AMS (association management system) users is the quality or state of their database in regards to duplicates.  Sometimes these duplicates are a minor nuisance because they are temporary.  While there are other situations where duplicates are an epidemic and have infected the entire AMS where the AMS is almost in a state of being non functional.
Keeping your AMS from a duplicate epidemic is a simple task … regular duplicate management.  I know that everyone works differently and each association has their own business process for managing duplicates (if your association does not have a business process for managing duplicates, you are probably getting closer to a duplicate epidemic than you realize).  But there are key principles in duplicate management that are simple common sense that every association should be able to follow.

  • Easier to manage in smaller numbers – Managing duplicates on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, or even quarterly) will lower the volume of potential duplicates to address.  If you only have to deal with a handful of duplicates the task will be easy and quick.  If you wait and only do this annually (or not at all), the number of duplicates will skyrocket and the task will soon become monumental.
  • Empowerment – Share the wealth.  Sometimes when a responsibility is shared, the task becomes easier for everyone.  If the task is easier it is more likely going to be completed.  Instead of having only one person with the duplicate merge “superpower”, empower a variety of staff with that power so the duplicate merging will get completed more frequently and more importantly … quicker.  This is usually a security question as to who should have access to this power.
  • Tag previously reviewed suspects – No one likes to repeat work.  But often with duplicates, the suspected records that are review and are NOT duplicates are never updated as NOT being a duplicate.  And without tagging them in some way that they are no longer duplicate suspects, you will always be seeing those same records on your duplicate reports.
  • Tools – All AMS solutions should provide tools to assist in the merging process.  Some of these tools may be included in the base product while others may be an additional module to purchase or add to the system.  These tools could also vary in ease of use.  I have seen some that are very easy and intuitive while others are difficult and not easily managed by the average user.

The process to merge records should be fairly simple (or at least as simple as possible depending on your tool).  With Nimble AMS, the Salesforce platform provides an easy to use account merge wizard (Merge Accounts).  

  1. Select Records to Merge – Identify the duplicate account records you want to merge.
  2. Select the Values to Retain – Identify the elements of the various duplicate account records that you want to keep in the retained record.
  3. Verification – A warning will alert the user that the merge is permanent and can not be undone.

It is that easy to merge identified duplicate records in Nimble AMS.  With a user friendly duplicate management wizard, there should be no excuses on why duplicate merging can’t be completed on a regular basis.  So get out there and start looking at the duplicates in your system.  Find out the business process your association follows.  Find out what tools your AMS has to assist you in merging customer records.  And finally, see what you can do about eliminating your Double Mint Twins from your AMS today.