Duplicate records confuse your users, they harm the accuracy of your reporting, they can lead to duplicate emails being sent and are a recipe for disaster when important information is missed on one of the records. So yes, duplicates are BAD.
Luckily there are things you can do inside of Salesforce to prevent the manual entry of duplicate records.
The duplicate prevention functionally was introduced by Salesforce sometime last year, but seems to have gone unnoticed to a lot of SFDC Admins. Since the tool was built by Data.com the function is nested under the Data.com drop down in your SFDC Setup and is so easy to miss!
The duplicate prevention tool allows you as an admin to control whether and when users are allowed to create duplicates records in Salesforce. You can customise the logic used to identify dupes and can even report on duplicates users have in the system.
SO HOW DO I SET IT UP?
There are 2 parts to the setup:
1.Matching Rules are used to determine how two records are compared and identified as duplicates. Salesforce comes with standard Account, Contact and Lead matching rules, but you can create your own custom ones too.
2.Duplicate Rules define what happens when a user tries to save a duplicate record. You can either alert users who try to create a dupe record and allow them to save the record anyway OR you can stop them from saving a possible duplicate.
The duplicate prevention functionality is really quite advanced and contains some clever options like:
1) Enforce or bypass sharing rules. I.e. should users be alerted when the duplicate record found is a record they don’t have access to?
2) The option to match CROSS-OBJECT. This allows you to search for duplicates across leads and contacts.
3) Specify conditions a record must meet before the rule to run. Quite handy if you require certain users or departments to create duplicates in some situations.
So if you haven’t yet, give the duplicate prevention tool a try and tackle those dupes!