By Tara Kelly, CEO, SPLICE Software
Thanks to big data, we now have more insights into customer preferences, consumer buying patterns, and market trends than ever before. Technology makes it possible to gather data – big and small – at every point in the sales funnel and customer service process, and we can use that information to create a more relevant, personalized experience for customers while improving sales and increasing satisfaction. But to paraphrase Spider Man’s wise uncle Ben, with great insights come great responsibility. In other words, as data custodians, we have an obligation that goes beyond keeping data safe; we ought to also use the information we have considerately. Here are five ways to capture and use data responsibly – and politely:
- Get information up front: When customers first make contact with your company via a loyalty program application or other transaction, use that opportunity to get all the information you’ll need while keeping the transaction short. Customers often find later pleas for additional data irritating.
- Get permission: If you intend to use customer data to make contact, ask for permission to contact the customer in the future at the time you solicit the data. It may seem perfectly obvious that you’ll contact them using the information they provide, but it never hurts to ask for permission.
- Honor contact preferences: If you ask customers how they’d prefer to be contacted, i.e., email, text, phone, etc., it’s only polite to honor their contact preferences. Make sure your CRM processes are equipped to handle all the contact choices you provide.
- Don’t be creepy: Although it’s now possible to use one data point, such as a phone number, to instantly uncover other information, such as an address, it’s never a good idea to use the information NOT provided by the customer to make contact. It can come across as stalker-like.
- Don’t be annoying: When customers entrust you with their personal data, they do so with the expectation that they’ll receive something of value in return. Make sure you only contact customers with offers that are relevant to them and worth their time to consider.
The ability to capture data at brick-and-mortar locations, online and from social media platforms has transformed the way companies do business. We can now use big data to gain incredibly valuable insights into customer preferences, consumer buying patterns, and market trends.
But, as a variation on the Golden Rule, we have an obligation to treat customer data the way we’d want our own information handled. That means more than respecting privacy and keeping data safe – it means using data politely. By following these five tips, you can make sure you mind your manners when using customer data.
Founder, President & CEO of SPLICE Software, Tara Kelly has a passion for enabling clients to engage in a meaningful, data-driven dialog with their customers. As a serial entrepreneur who has developed three companies including one outside the technology field, Tara’s expertise is multidimensional but focused on creating businesses that use technology to enhance operations, service, and the customer experience.