People aren’t Psyched when you get their Name Wrong

“I’m Shawn Spencer. This is my partner, Gus ‘Sillypants’ Jackson.”

If that sentence made any sense to you then I’m sensing that, like me, you’re a fan of the television series Psych. For those of you not in the know, the show stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer, a consultant for the Santa Barbara Police Department who pretends to be a psychic while using his heightened observational skills and impressive detective instincts to solve crimes. Dulé Hill stars as Shawn’s best friend and reluctant partner Burton “Gus” Guster, whom Shawn almost always introduces using an outlandish nickname (click here to read the full list and click here to watch a video montage on YouTube).

Contact data quality, however, is no laughing matter. Especially when you’re trying to solve the complex case of name validation. “The reason name validation is so complicated,” said Geoffrey Grow, CEO of Service Objects, “is because of variants.” In fact, his given name is a great example since there are at least a dozen variations of Geoffrey that include Jeffrey, Geoff, and Jeff.

Name validation is further complicated, Grow explained, by the fact that “the distribution of name information is much larger than in the past, and the quality is much worse. As marketers dig deeper into their big data resources (like social media) they run the risk of embarrassing themselves, tarnishing their brand, and wasting their resources in the meantime. Proper name validation is critical for businesses because it’s vital to the customer relationship.”

For example, in one Psych episode, one of Gus’ nicknames gets printed on a museum plaque, prompting the curator to happily greet him by saying: “You must be Bruton Gaster.” To which an annoyed Gus replies: “Burton. Guster. It is Burton Guster.”

The point is you don’t need to be a fake psychic to know that people aren’t psyched when you get their name wrong.


This blog post is sponsored by Service Objects, the leading provider of real-time contact data quality solutions including name validation and address verification software. Their APIs allow businesses to easily reduce waste and increase data quality by identifying fraudulent records, standardizing and appending contact information, and processing transactions in a more efficient manner.