Without sacrificing the data you need to deliver personalised customer experiences

Customer data has become a golden tool for businesses. It enables you to segment and communicate with customers in a highly targeted and personalised way. But, many consumers view this collection of data differently. As they’re becoming savvier and more aware of things like data hacks and breaches, data collection can feel like an invasion of privacy and create fear and distrust.

According to a recent report from KPMG, a whopping 86% of consumers feel a growing concern about data privacy, while 40% don’t trust companies to use their data ethically. It’s not without good reason – a frightening 62% of business leaders said their company should do more to strengthen their existing data protection measures.

The question is, how can businesses tighten their data privacy practices to deliver personalised customer experiences and also give customers control over their data?

1. Prioritise first-party data

When Google finally joins Apple’s Safari and Netscape’s Firefox in discontinuing support for third-party cookies on Chrome, the cookie-less world will be upon us. Around 80% of marketers currently depend on data from third-party cookies, making the shift to first-party data a significant change that needs to happen quickly. The use of first-party data comes with several benefits:

  • Increased accuracy – it’s collected first-hand from customers, meaning there is less chance of errors occurring within the data. First-party data is also the most relevant information specific to your business.
  • Easy to access – the information should already be housed in a CRM system or easily sourced through a data management platform.
  • Cost-effective – with no intermediary involved, first-party data isn’t purchased from other parties, saving businesses significant costs. It can take more time and effort to process, but the benefits outweigh this.

2. Promote transparency

Consumers aren’t completely averse to sharing their data. 40% of consumers said they’d happily share their data provided they knew how it would be used and by whom. Unfortunately, only 6% of consumers think businesses are doing an excellent job of this. The best thing businesses can do is use simple, easy-to-understand disclosures that tell consumers how their data will be used, by whom and why.

3. Tick more than just the regulatory boxes

Off the back of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, businesses have become more aware of the importance of data privacy and are also subject to regulatory requirements. The global standard set by the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has trickled down to localised regulations, privacy bills and Acts. While these have provided essential guidance for many businesses, they need to do more to win consumer trust:

  • Eliminate security risks. Silos of data across a business create inefficiencies and also pose a huge security risk. Businesses can eliminate this with unified customer profiles that enhance customer experience and lower the risk of mishandling data.
  • Analyse current ethics. The onus falls on businesses to prove that they act ethically with customer data. Companies need to regularly assess their data ethics policies and governance to ensure they’re working in a way that will build, not erode, customer trust.
  • Take the lead in establishing corporate data responsibility. While consumers might vocally fear for their data privacy, according to this study, 58% of respondents admitted they don’t understand what firms do with the data they collect, and almost 50% feel unable to protect their data due to a lack of knowledge or time. Businesses that take the lead in educating consumers on how to protect their data will not only build trust but also remove barriers to sharing data.

4. Manage cookie consent

A business can give consumers increasing amounts of control by allowing them to choose more than just a blunt ‘accept’ or ‘decline’ of cookies on its website. This benefits both the business and the consumer, by letting customers choose what they want to share and providing your business with customer data that may have previously been met with a flat decline.

Alleviate the unknown with a customer data platform (CDP)

Consumers have accepted the fact that data privacy is, to a degree, out of their control. It’s now up to businesses to build trust and show consumers that we’re not living in a Wild West of data.

CDPs allow businesses to meet data privacy regulations by providing visibility into the collection and usage of customer data, while also supplying tools for consumers to manage their data preferences. CDPs also allow businesses to unify data from all customer touchpoints for a single customer view. In the context of data privacy, that gives businesses the power to see and manage usage data to improve performance and mitigate risk as well as build consumer trust, enhance customer data, and continue to bring innovative customer experiences to market.

Ready to unlock the potential of your customer data and deliver personalised multichannel experiences? Download SpeakData's definitive guide to CDP.