You need a PLAN to deal with duplicates
Here's the thing about duplicate records: No matter what you do, you'll never get rid of them completely, because humans are human. Whether it's a staff member creating a duplicate record because they forgot to check if the record exists, or it's a customer who doesn't want to take the time to reset his password and just creates another record with a different email address, duplicates are going to happen.
And because duplicates are inevitable, you have to have a plan for dealing with them. Here are some suggestions:
- Create data integrity reports that will help you identify potential duplicate records, and run those reports consistently. ("Consistently" means at least once a month, if not more often.) And make sure someone (or several someones) on staff has responsibility for cleaning up this data.
- Make it everyone's job on staff to identify potential duplicates whenever they are using the database and make sure you have a clear process for how those duplicate records are reported. And make sure someone (or several someones) on staff has responsibility for cleaning up this data.
- And did I mention to make sure someone (or several someones) on staff has responsibility for cleaning up this data?
Managing duplicate records is a journey, not a destination. No matter how good your technology is, like weeds in a garden, duplicate records are going to appear. So you have to have a plan for dealing with them, not just now, but always.
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