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Honoring Consumer Privacy is Paramount to Successful Customer Experiences

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Companies have emerged with solutions to create more personalized and meaningful brand experiences for their customers. To reach these greater levels of customer experiences, they are collecting more data than ever. Protecting and securing this data is table stakes in establishing consumer trust. But what’s often missed is making sure to always honor the consumer’s privacy in the process.

Just because the data can be used doesn’t mean it should be used. We should always consider The Golden Rule of Data (which I’ve written about for a few years now): Use customer data only as you would want your own data to be used. This is ultimately the only way to provide an exceptional customer experience.

More Data, More to Protect

Honoring a consumer’s privacy isn’t a new concept, dating back to the 1970s when the FTC began enforcing one of the first privacy laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Since then, we’ve seen rapid changes in technology that are raising new privacy challenges at an accelerating pace.

An ever-increasing number of connected devices are producing unprecedented volumes of data. Consider that data in the world is doubling every two years. More customer data means more to protect and more to consider when it comes to honoring privacy. Used the right way, this data can inform marketers about consumer preferences and their buying journeys with the goal of delivering better customer experiences through timely and relevant interactions.

Used the wrong way—without regard to honoring consumer privacy—will cost you customers, considering that 87% will take their business elsewhere if they don’t trust a company is handling their data responsibly.

Finding the Balance

As I wrote about in this previous MTS article, we see the increased focus on consumer privacy as an opportunity for Jornaya to help the entire marketing ecosystem. Our products enable marketers to provide the most relevant and timely interactions, protecting the consumer at the same time. While it’s mandatory to be compliant with regulations, combining privacy, consumer preference, and the Golden Rule are the most critical parts of providing an exceptional customer experience.

Data privacy and identity resolution technologies help organizations strike the right balance. In 2013, our company developed solutions to help companies become compliant with the recently expanded Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Beyond just helping them be compliant, our solution was tailored to help these brands protect their reputations—with their customers and with their markets at large.

We’ve since extended these solutions to help our customers meet the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) regulations as well as future-proofing these solutions to help with the largely expected future state and federal regulations that will be similar to CCPA.

Outlining the Benefits for the Consumer

In a recent survey of customers and marketers, half of the customers surveyed (51%)

are not comfortable giving brands personal data in exchange for an improved experience. Our hypothesis is that these customers don’t yet have trust that the marketers will use access to their data to in fact make the experience better. If they did have that trust, it would be a no-brainer to share their data in return for a better experience.

Consider the following ways to create privacy-friendly customer experiences:

  • Increase consumer trust by being 100% transparent about data usage: Be explicit about consent and explain your data practices clearly. 
  • Provide consumers with more control over their data: Ask permission to use consumer data for a specific purpose (only using it for that purpose) and allow them to remove themselves from your database (as stipulated in the CCPA for CA residents, a good practice for everyone).
  • Invest in solutions to help: Consider investing in data security and privacy solutions to protect your brand and obtain consumer consent. For other solutions, read this MTS article.
  • Ensure “The Golden Rule of Data” is part of your marketing team’s DNA: Use customer data only as you would want your own data to be used.

Marketers need to go beyond just complying with regulations and data protection and security measures. They need to truly honor the consumer’s privacy in order to build complete trust in their brand. With that trust established, the marketer will have more valuable engagements with consumers, and consumers gain value from these well-timed, relevant, and trusted interactions with brands. And everyone wins.

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