“Personalization is the key to acquiring customer data. An estimated 63% of millennial consumers agree they are willing to share data with companies that send personalized offers and discounts,” – SalesForce.com
Modern customers and business enterprises operate in an age of pervasive electronic information. Data is a critical asset in modern times and it can be wielded in the interests of commerce and expanding business operations. However, modern customers represent an informed constituency that may not readily share personal information in the interests of safeguarding their privacy. These concerns are valid because customer information is prone to various types of abuse in the commercial realm. Therefore, brands and businesses must deploy techniques and tactics that extract information from modern customers in a non-coercive manner. We shall discuss some of these techniques in the following paragraphs.
Business enterprises can choose to pursue a transparent relationship with customers and other stakeholders in a bid to win their confidence. Winning the customer’s trust is vital and therefore, businesses can furnish FAQ documents on their websites. These documents detail the information collection policies and practices. We note that such an approach to cultivating customers boosts mutual trust and lubricates commercial relationships. Further, customers can easily share personal information when they are convinced that they can fully entrust businesses with said data. In addition, this approach to customer service can encourage higher volumes of trade per customer in future transactions, thereby enabling the business to expand its profit margins.
A conversational approach can induce customers to share personal information. Brands and businesses can elect to initiate regular customer conversations in a bid to discover the requirements, needs, choices, and wants of customers. Over time, these conversations can offer vital clues into the minds of customers and enable a business to incorporate said information into its processes. For instance, a bakery business may encourage its customers to share personal information through over-the-counter conversations. This encourages a genial approach to conducting business, boosts confidence in businesses, and empowers customers to be candid with business owners.
Regular customers generate steady revenues for a business and can be considered business assets. Therefore, businesses can offer home delivery services and discounts to such customers. The cycle of repeated and regular custom is conducive to the acquisition of customer information. For instance, a grocery business that delivers groceries to the home address of customers would generate a certain level of familiarity in terms of quality goods and services, thereby encouraging customers to share personal information. In addition, the grocery can upsell its merchandise to regular customers, thus securing a larger number of customer dollars from each client. These outcomes should encourage businesses to cultivate regular customers and to acquire personal information in the interests of expanding business relationships.
Business tactics that hinge on retention marketing techniques can induce customers to share personal information. We note that common courtesies and extraordinary customer services enable the propagation of retention marketing strategies. For instance, a computer services provider can offer welcome emails and product demonstrations to customers in a bid to retain their custom over the long term. Further, personalized attention and efficient customer support can enable the business to boost the confidence of customers and inaugurate a long-term business relationship. Consequently, these customers would invest faith in the business enterprise and would be amenable to share personal information. These outcomes enable the services provider to expand the remit of its business and serve a growing number of captive customers.
Market research indicates that social media platforms enable businesses to incentivize customers to share personal information. The sheer amount of customer information that can be harvested through social media validates such customer engagement strategies. Most social media platforms provide analytical tools and these can help businesses to harvest customer information. For instance, these tools can enable a commercial social media handle to extract information on the number of visits per customer, the ‘like’ and ‘share’ activities of individual customers, etc. This information can help to create a composite profile of each customer, thus laying the foundations for enhanced interactions with customers. Further, brands and businesses that operate in such realms are advised to offer electronic coupons and great content to their customers in a bid to deepen customer engagement.
High value customers deserve special attention from brands and businesses. We note that these customers represent a special business opportunity of multiplying the quantum of business availed from each customer. Therefore, the modern business enterprise should make special efforts to encourage such customers to share personal information. Exclusive rewards programmes and associated business privileges can enable the enterprise to cater to high value customers. A personal note of gratitude from business leadership figures can help to seal these business relationships. In addition, high value customers may bring in additional prospects that can help businesses to amplify outcomes.
Clients and customers that return a product or piece of merchandise on account of dissatisfaction represent a prime opportunity to gather customer feedback. For instance, a branded clothing business may choose to entertain product returns and in exchange, may encourage the customer to share personal information. This may comprise home addresses, email addresses, and telephone numbers. Subsequently, the business may despatch top-notch merchandise to the addresses of said customers in an attempt to elicit customer delight and to inaugurate a long-term and profitable business relationship. In light of the above, we note that a brand or business can turn an adverse situation in its favour using the stated tactics.
Business enterprises can use the services of online landing pages in a calibrated effort designed to help customers to share personal information. We note that the growing numbers of online customers makes this tactic very useful as an instrument to gather information. For instance, a business that advertises itself on search engine return pages should consider attaching a landing page to its online advertisements. This would enable the business to gather basic information about online visitors and perhaps, pitch business offers to such entities in the future. That said, we note that landing pages can be designed to elicit a variety of information from visitors and customers. In a similar vein, business websites can offer customers the choice to fill in their personal information prior to proceeding with browsing website offerings.
Competitive activities such as online quizzes can be used to encourage online customers to share personal information. For instance, an e-commerce operator can deploy a quiz on its app or website and offer participants an opportunity to win high quality prizes. We note that more than one winner may emerge from said contest and each can receive an email seeking personal information prior to receiving the promised gifts. We note that most customers may not have any compunctions about complying with the request. This instance illuminates a wholly novel tactic designed to extract information from the masses.
In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the techniques that enable businesses to extract personal information from clients and customers. We note that the privacy of customer information remains sacrosanct and therefore, commercial operators should utilise such data exclusively for the intended purposes. Businesses should realise that customers entrust them with their personal information and expect the business to utilize it judiciously. Therefore, brands and businesses should safeguard customer information. These actions represent aspects of information hygiene, which can shield enterprises from potential legal actions and subsequent lawsuits, other such liabilities.