Act has a very unique method of accommodating the various elements of how a customer wants to be addressed. It is a great capability, and it can be easily enhanced to accommodate every type of business.
The contact name field in Act is unique, as it has six components to it, which are: first name prefixes like Mr. Mrs. Dr., first name, middle name/initial, last name prefixes like Von and Van, last name, and last name suffixes like PhD. and M.D.. This is important to know, as problems can arise when you enter a contact’s name into your database. While you enter the name into a single field in your detail view, Act automatically identifies each piece of the contact’s name using those six components. However, Act is not perfect at this, and user mistakes can cause naming errors in your database.
To start, you need to create a list view with a column order that makes it easy to identify contact errors. You can do this manually, but there is no way to save this list view, meaning you have to re-create it every time you want to find and fix errors. However, by using an Act add-on such as List View Manager, this process becomes much easier, allowing you to save this list view for later and sync it across your other databases. We have previously covered List View Manager, and have links to the video in our blog. To best find errors, you can customize your columns like I’ve done here, in order, ID Status, Contact, first middle and last name, company, etc. With this list view, sorting by contact will give you the best look at any naming errors you have.
There are a couple different kinds of common naming errors you can find, starting with contacts that have a first name and no last name. When you enter a single name by itself, Act will assume it is their last name and sort it as such. This is an easy fix, as you just can put a question mark instead of a last name, and they’ll now be corrected and sorted in you list view appropriately.
You may also run into errors will prefixes and suffixes, such as M.D., PhD, Mr, Mrs, etc. While Act sorts most of these with no problem, it can’t cover everything. Often these are user mistakes, and adding a missing period or deleting an extra letter will fix the name in your database. However, if you have contacts with a unique prefix or suffix, you can add it to your database to be automatically identified along with the rest. To do this, go to tools, scroll down to preferences, and select name and salutation. At the bottom of this page, you can see, edit, or add any prefixes and suffixes that you want.
In many users databases, they can have tens or hundreds of thousands of contacts, meaning a lot of naming errors are likely to occur. In this case, you need to prioritize what contacts to fix first. While contacts like employees and suppliers are important to keep updated and correct, customers and prospects are a top priority for most users. To help with this, you can sort by ID/Status in your list view to find these contacts. Or, you could go to your groups page in Act, which likely has premade groups for prospects and customers separately, as well as groups segmented by region, like prospects NA, Europe, etc.