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How to Make Customers More Comfortable with Data Collection

Gigya, a customer identity management firm in Mountain View California, has just released a report about consumers and privacy. This report shows that customers are increasingly concerned about their privacy. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially after customers were outraged over Samsung’s Smart TVs.  These TVs have the capability to listen to voice commands and then change the channel or turn up the volume automatically, but there is a catch. For this to work, these televisions were listening to everything that customers were saying and then sending that information to a third party to have it translated and turned into a command. To be expected, people weren’t so happy that their conversations were being recorded and sent to a different company for analysis. In the wake of this incident, Gigya proposes two ways to keep customers satisfied with customized content but still comfortable with data collection.

First, Gigya suggests a focus on collecting first-party data. This means that you should only use information that customers actually provide you. Instead of using information from data-brokers, getting information directly from the consumer allows your customers to feel more comfortable with your brand. First-party data is not only more accurate, but it respects your customers’ privacy. Some companies, like McCormick, are taking first-party data collection a step further and allowing customers to go in and customize their tastes specifically so they can have their own “flavor print.” McCormick then uses this information to suggest recipes and spices to try, which leaves the customers with a positive and customized experience.

Secondly, Gigya suggests being completely transparent about how you will use the customer’s data. Almost half (45%) of customers say they are more willing to give their information if a company makes it clear how they will use the data. What’s more, 80% of respondents reported leaving sites or closing registrations because they were concerned about the type of information requested.  Clearly, telling the customer exactly what the data is for and asking only for data that you need is important to make customers feel comfortable and trust your brand.

Customers’ concern for privacy is certainly not going to disappear anytime soon. It is likely that customers will become even more guarded and less trusting towards data collection as the age of digital technology continues to evolve. It is important, then, to establish a trusting relationship between your company and your customers now. Show your customers what you need their data for, collect it directly from them, and then use it in a way to give them a customized, uniquely-curated experience. That should help you make customized products or services that customers will feel comfortable using again and again.