Sharing Means Caring: What Brands Need To Know In The Post-GDPR Era

Data is the new currency. But without trust, brands can’t cash in on it, and it may actually cost them. Since consumers have more power over their data than ever, it’s up to brands to explicitly state the value they’ll deliver in exchange for it — and then consistently keep their promises.

Consumers expect brands to use personal data to create more individualized and relevant experiences, but thanks to a plethora of example of terrible execution, they are growing wary of sharing it. In fact, according to InMoment’s 2018 CX Trends report, a whopping 75 percent of customers report most forms of personalization efforts that rely on access to their data as being somewhat creepy, creepy or very creepy.

Faced with growing customer caution and a host of policies and laws making their way through various countries and states around the globe, brands need to go beyond gimmicks and tricks to convince customers to hand over their data or risk losing their trust all together. Fortunately, consumers are less reluctant to share personal information if brands handle it responsibly — and if they get something they truly value in return.

According to findings from InMoment’s report, there are a few best practices that can motivate today’s consumers to share data in the post-GDPR era:

Keep Customer Data To Yourself

An easy way to violate your customers’ trust is by selling their data. Customers are savvy about who has access to their personal data, and they’re not happy when they feel like the private information they’ve shared with brands is up for grabs.

Facebook learned this lesson the hard way. For many users, the Cambridge Analytica revelation proved to be a tipping point that led them to delete their profiles. Learn from Facebook’s mishap by refraining from selling or sharing data to companies without explicit customer consent.

For example, MoviePass has based an entire business model off of selling its customer data. But the brand makes it abundantly clear as to what data it’s collecting and selling from customers, who get cheap movie tickets in return. That brings me to my next point.

Offer The Right Value

Customers are more willing to share information if brands actually use it to improve their experience by offering something of value in return. That could mean insider exclusives, a more customizable and unique customer experience, or even just a more streamlined buying process.

The report reveals that 80 percent of customers will share personal information if they receive special or exclusive offers for doing so — which is why many brands are finding success requesting email addresses in exchange for special offers.

Asking for customer data is inevitable in today’s data-driven age, but brands that sweeten the deal in the right way create an exchange of value that not only nets a goldmine of data, but stronger relationships as well.

Don’t Be A Creeper

The report revealed that, for many customers, the line between “cared for” and “creepy” is thin. When using personal data to “make customers’ experiences better,” make sure to actually use it that way and instead of in ways that make them feel uncomfortable or worse.

Customers report that common strategies (like retargeting ads or aggressive emails about previously viewed products) are intrusive. In the study’s qualitative data, researchers found words like “annoying,” “stalked,” and “harassed.” This is worse when they perceive a crossover between physical and digital realms, such as feeling as though brands have been “listening” to conversations they’ve had offline, or knowing and using their physical location.

Additionally, customers are hesitant to give brands data they don’t feel would actually enhance their experience. Today’s customers are savvy, and they know what data brands need and what they don’t — for example, unless they are attending nearby events or receiving location-specific offers, they don’t want to provide location data for the sake of it. This puts pressure on brands to make a common sense case as to why they are asking for information.

Creepiness comes with consequences: InMoment’s report reveals that 22 percent of customers report they will look for other brands after a creepy experience. Additionally, 20 percent will tell their friends and family, and one in 10 will share Big Brother-type experiences on social media

The stakes are higher than ever for brands to balance their own needs with their customers’ interests — especially when it comes to personal data. Brands must not only be responsible with data, but also use it efficiently to improve the customer experience without violating trust.

About Author

Andrew Park VP, Customer Experience Strategy

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