When I reach out to new customers, I’ll often receive a common set of questions.
Two of them are this: How can I trust that your data is accurate? Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about the process you all use to maintain the quality of your databases?
They’re two really good questions.
As time has gone on, the process has evolved.
It started with me sitting at my laptop, manually looking for changes by going from school directory to school directory. There are thousands of school directories. This, obviously, was not sustainable.
About two years into running Contact College Coaches, I spent roughly six months building a system that allows us to efficiently compare the current month to the previous month, and vice-versa. This has been a game-changer — and improved the quality of our data, significantly. It also allowed us to expand from offering a handful of sports to offering every sport, as the updating process sped up significantly.
Each month, our internal system produces thousands of variances, which we then investigate and process.
Let’s say a women’s volleyball coach has one digit change in her phone number, or a football coach’s position changes from Defensive Line coach to Defensive Coordinator. In the early days, I likely would have missed those two changes. But now, our system will alert us to those changes, we’ll process them and we’ll make the change.
But that’s not the extent of the quality-control check. It’s only the first step.
There are still some changes that can slip through for a variety of reasons, so we’ve added other quality-control checks over the last four years.
- We investigate every email kickback we receive from our customers, who are very helpful.
- We run our data through a bulk-email checker to isolate emails that are misspelled, non-existent and otherwise potentially wrong. We look into each one of them.
- We manually check every directory that has had its URL change over that previous month.
So when I receive those two questions about quality-control from customers, my answer is: it’s a four- or five-step process, depending on the month. I also say that our data isn’t going to be perfect, given that there are more than 90,000 college coaches and there is a significant amount of turnover every year in college athletics, but it’s extremely accurate because of the processes we’ve put into place — and the fact that we run them every month.
-Eric Van Dril, Founder/CEO (May 27, 2023)