Consumers in this day and age should recognize their interactions with a brand will be recorded and analyzed. The good news is that most customers are okay with this – under the right conditions. Microsoft recently performed a survey of consumers that found 55 percent of respondents expected companies to monitor searches, site visits and purchases online and 54 percent want brands to provide them with a personal experience when shopping, according to Marketing Land.
To provide special services, businesses need to recognize each customer as an individual. In order to do this, they must gather information on each consumer from a multitude of sources. This data collection task becomes simpler with customer consent, so brands should encourage participation through personalized incentives:
What to offer customers
Even before online channels became a primary means of communication, companies used various methods to capture the data associated with customer actions. These methods include recording customer call center conversations or providing in-store comment cards. The advantage of the digital age is it allows businesses to easily demonstrate the benefits of data collection procedures to consumers.
“Companies need to deliver the special service and incentives they market.”
The Microsoft survey asked consumers exactly what would encourage them to submit personal information and discovered 99 percent wanted cash rewards. Discount and loyalty points were also effective incentives. In exchange for these benefits, consumers were willing to share their personal and search history, general demographics like age, gender and site browsing data.
Looking at a specific industry, Sabre Hospitality Solutions research concluded hotel guests were willing to exchange personal information to receive special service, according to eHotelier. Individuals welcomed resorts to look at their histories to help them determine schedules of stay, saved room preferences and recommend local activities.
When businesses ask for data, they should accompany these request alongside the specific rewards consumers will achieve. Then, the company must deliver the special service and incentives it markets.
Keeping data safe
An example of collecting data for the sake of convenience is when online shopping platforms keep billing addresses and preferred payment options stored in membership accounts. Because of this process, returning customers don’t have to keep filling out the same forms every time they want to make a purchase. It makes shopping easier and also means the consumer must trust the company with payment information.
According to Gallup polls, 68 percent of consumers have a least some trust with brands when it comes to protecting their data. In the last year, more customers have lost faith in business data security. Much of this distrust is in banks, credit card companies and health insurance organizations, but 14 percent of consumers don’t feel safe giving their personal information to retailers.
Major news stories about data breaches don’t do much to raise customer confidence. Software Advice said businesses should promote security and make appeals to cautious customers by marketing security features through general publicity, media coverage and information on purchase receipts. The best way to create an atmosphere of safety is to guard against private invasions by making sure data is only used for specific purposes.
How to collect data
Whether a brand captures information through call recordings, text subscriptions, online monitoring or membership accounts, the information needs to be shared with the proper parties – and only them. A customer relationship management software system can restrict access and still display personal data for sales teams reconnecting with clients or care agents fielding questions from individual callers.
The better the system, the more information a company can collect. If a business is especially effective at eliciting data submissions through marketing or other tactics, the organization can plan more ways to learn about their customers. It may be time to start looking for specific answers through post-customer care center interaction questionnaires such as voice response surveys.