The Great Journey to Improve the Customer Journey

In fact, according to Smart Insights, 63% of consumers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics. Similarly, a study by Segment reports that 71% of consumers feel frustrated when the shopping experience is impersonal.

But does personalization conflict with our right to privacy?

The answer is yes, but our reactions depend on circumstances and context. Pew Research Center reports that 6 out of 10 people in the United States believe that personal data may be collected daily by companies or the government. This is whether it pertains to online or offline activities. The tone of the report is not particularly optimistic. Most respondents reported “being out of control” or other negative responses.

However, respondents agree that there are acceptable times and types of data collection. In general, we recognize the benefits of living in a data-driven environment when it comes to, for example, improving education or increasing national security.

Knowing who sees our data and how that data is used affects our level of anxiety. This is how we seek privacy protection laws (eg GDPR in Europe and CCPA and CPRA in North America) but willingly share personal information almost daily. This is true for both our private life and our professional life.

Personalization and privacy at home and work

In our business life, we provide work email addresses and phone numbers to upload documents and videos. Getting the tools we need to do our work simply requires checking our online privacy statements boxes. Sometimes we read the data. We also accept cookies. Life at home is a little different because we exchange the same data for special offers, “free” mobile apps, and access to social media.

At work and remotely, we trust VPN and IT staff to protect our data. When it comes to working on our own devices in our homes, we think we retain some control simply because we have physical devices. Both views are wrong for several practical reasons.

Trust, transparency and the benefits of personalization

It is important that you share your information voluntarily. We trust the brands we love as much as we do when we loan our car keys to a friend. We tell ourselves that nothing bad is likely to happen, and if something does, we can fix it when the time comes.

According to a report from Salesforce.com, consumers are willing to provide personal information as long as that information is used transparently and in a way they are happy with. The benefits come in the form of improved comfort and experience. In fact, Accenture reports that 83% of consumers want to share their data to create a more personalized experience. Similarly, SmarterHQ adds that 90% of consumers want to share personal behavioral data with companies for a cheaper and easier experience.

So, despite the risks and uncertainties we described above, how is this possible?

Every experience is a digital experience. And at some point, time, savings and less frustration became commonplace. The data we use to purchase a product is our personal data. This is our perspective as consumers, but as entrepreneurs who trade on this value, we need to redirect that.

Treat customer personal information like any other data

Like any other data exchange, this one comes with certain expectations. Of course, responsible use and privacy concerns are of paramount importance. They should be clearly identified, easy to find, and strictly adhered to once the terms are accepted.

Big brands know that customers can spend their money with any other brand. The same goes for personal information, whether it’s email addresses or names. Of course, communications must be personal. But the level of familiarity with communication should match the level of brand affinity.

For existing customers, email marketing companies differ in the effectiveness of simpler customization, such as including the customer’s name in the subject line or sending out birthday wishes. Some discount the potency of these things as too obvious and cliched to impress today’s audience. Others insist that this type of message should be a staple of any promotional campaign. Customers expect you to get this contact information, but they also expect emails to be combined with relevant offers tailored to them.

For marketers, reaching an unfamiliar potential customer with a first contact email may have less impact and may sound too familiar or presumptuous. But this is highly dependent on the specifics of the campaign and can be a great opportunity for A/B testing.

Finally, there should be a return on investment for the client. And not just through a general follow-up email. Ensure that every interaction is clear, tested and has the potential to raise the digital maturity of the customer (or potential customer).

Strategize to overcome obstacles

The customer journey should be punctuated by distractions, challenges, etc. Planning a thoughtful customer journey with the right uses of personalization is the only sure way to get them back.

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