Customers view companies as one entity, not as individual business units or discrete functional groups (e.g. sales, customer support, and so forth). They expect when one department or division asks them for information, that information will be shared across the organization. They don’t want to be asked the same questions for the same information again by another department. In order to support customers’ expectations and maintain compliance, consent and preference collection should take place across the full spectrum of prospect and customer interactions.
In this blog series, we’re going to discuss some simple best practices for collecting and utilizing customer information.
1. Ask for Less: Trusted customer relationships are established over time. As technology, social media and other marketing tactics replace the traditional face-to-face relationship developed in a store, by a salesperson or through a call center agent, it is important to determine the right moments within the customer journey to collect customer data, ask for permission to contact and use that personal information correctly once collected.
Structuring the ask from the customer’s perspective, at moments that matter, improves the odds of receiving permission to collect, store and use customer data at a later time. The collection of self-reported customer data — their likes and dislikes— enables mutually beneficial communications over the lifespan of the customer relationship. Asking the customer for their preferences is the essential key to maintaining permission. Identifying all potential customer data that will improve the customer relationship and breaking the collection up over time is an effective strategy. Resist the temptation to ask for as much as possible during an initial interaction.
A good rule of thumb – one that aligns compliance with customer experience – is to understand why you are asking for customer information in the first place. This simple exercise of identifying the why behind the collection assists in overall decision-making regarding the governance and logical right time to collect customer data.