Data sharing is a seemingly never-ending tug of war between customers and brands. In today’s age of information overload, it’s no wonder consumers hold onto their data so closely. Yet for brands to keep up in an increasingly competitive landscape, they must deliver better and better customer experiences — i.e., ones that are memorable, tailored and effortless — in order to build and sustain a loyal base.
If you want your customers to share their data, whether that be submitting an email address, taking part in a survey or even providing a credit card number, you need to create a customer-first approach. Consider these three strategies for creating a more open dialogue with consumers around data sharing.
1. Show, don’t tell. Our recent 7 Customer Engagement Index showed that seven out of 10 customers are in fact willing to share their data if it means they’ll receive a better customer experience. So, with that, ask yourself: “How does collecting data help me deliver a better experience for my customer?”
When we look at companies like Amazon.com and Netflix, the way they put our data to use is crystal clear. They deliver recommendations based on our purchase and viewing history, and tailor the content we see to our unique interests and preferences. This helps customers see the immediate benefit of sharing data. The more they share, the more personalized their experience will be.
Identify ways to tell your own story of how customer data will be put to good (aka beneficial!) use, as opposed to leaving customers with the impression that giving up their information simply means yet another unwanted, irrelevant email or text.
2. Target your data sharing efforts to your most loyal customers first. Rather than overwhelming new customers with requests to input their email or fill out a survey, focus your efforts on your most loyal customers to start. These are customers that have already bought into your brand and are more likely to share their data in order to receive a better experience. For these customers, focus on understanding their journeys so you can deliver better support within the channels these customers use most.
By maximizing your use of customer data, you can offer more positive online experiences; deliver targeted messages; and identify “problem” areas that may be impeding your customers quick and easy access to information. This kind of insight can then be applied towards ensuring new and prospective customers receive the best experience possible.
3. Put predictive analytics to good use. In the 7 Customer Engagement Index, 53 percent of respondents noted that customer service should be effortless and fast, while 29 percent said that anticipating a customer’s needs is a top attribute for great customer service. Herein lies the formula: Show your consumers how sharing their data will help your brand deliver a richer experience for them.
For example, when looking into hotel vacancies, a consumer could start by asking their question about the availability of rooms in natural, everyday language to a virtual agent on that hotel’s website or mobile app. If that same consumer then wanted to request a special, custom enhancement or add-on to their booking, they could seamlessly chat with a live agent, who would have an understanding of the customer’s recent booking, as well as specific customer data including where they’re from and whether they’ve stayed at the hotel previously, to help deliver the best possible customer experience. Data sharing can make customer interactions predictive and personalized, providing a low-effort customer experience that builds trust and loyalty.
The secret to making customers want to share their data is to take the practice out of the dark, and put in under the spotlight by answering the why and the how. This will make every customer understand why sharing their data will ultimately result in a richer, more in-depth experience with your brand.