co What Is It Like To Be Your Customer? |

The question asked in the title is a good one to ask yourself on a regular basis if you are a business. It can be very easy to forget that the average person experiences your website and interacts with your business without a script. The result of having no script to follow means that customers will not necessarily be doing things on your site the way your tech team does, and that the questions they ask customer service may not follow the dialog your representative is told to follow.

There’s a big discussion in marketing on the benefits of using customer information as a way to target campaigns, etc. But if you ask many consumers about this practice, they are not sure it’s a good idea.

Benefits Should Flow Both Ways

Confronting Privacy Issues in Big Data Gathering was recently the subject of a Minority Report on the Business 2 Community site. In this article there are some interesting points made:

  • 20% of companies using data analytics outperform their competitors
  • 80% of internet marketing companies are implementing big data initiatives
  • 49% of consumers are less willing to share their personal data for fear of identity theft & other privacy concerns

So here we see the problem: Companies want to jump on the data bandwagon and utilize the obvious benefits of having accurate information to analyze; and customers are saying, “Whoa! I don’t see any reason to get on this bandwagon at all, and I see lot of reasons why it may be a risk for me.”

Thinking about your customer’s viewpoint can help identify the specific concerns, and these should be addressed. Here are a couple of suggestions from the B2B article:

  • aggregate data instead of identifying customers — make it clear that the name is not attached to the activity and be prepared to have an easily understood policy
  • collect data ethically — make sure consent is given and fine print isn’t impossible to read, and be prepared to explain how data and the technology are used along with the security measures

Of course, there’s more, but you get the idea. I think that there would be a lot more consumers willing to share their valuable data if they felt confident about the company they share it with,  the way it will be used, and saw a real benefit for themselves in exchange.

When you look at what it is like to be your own customer, it should be clear which things are not a good idea.