Author : Vikas Kumar
Director - Customer Experience, Espire | Sitecore MVP 2021

Vikas is a Sitecore MVP who heads the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) initiatives at Espire. A skilled craftsman in competency building, Vikas is a go-to-CMS expert, known for designing & developing best practices, that consistently transforms digital journey for clients.

Why Personalization and Privacy the Catch 22 for Brands?

Customers today expect brands to offer them relevant and contextual offerings and at the same time do not want their personal data to be shared or infiltrated. It's a Catch-22 situation for companies and consumers both. For companies, the situation is to ensure data privacy is maintained as well as right placements are offered for improvised customer experience. For Consumers, the Catch is regarding personal-data privacy as well as data protection. Such consumers want their data to be protected on one hand and let brands offer personalized solutions that cater to their wants and needs on the other.

Unlike knowing favorite color and pure name; storage and marketing of highly private data related to customers like their full name, their insurance number, home address, salary, purchase history etc. is a security and privacy concern. Such data can impact the individuals and place them at risk. Hence, powerful European data law, GDPR (General Data Protection regulation), enforced on May 25th, 2018 protects how, what and where data is retrieved, stored and marketed.

According to a recently conducted survey, 89% consumers want their data secure whereas 86% believe that it is very crucial for them to be made aware whether their data is being passed to third parties for marketing purpose- which in the very first place is used by brands to offer them personalized customer experience. It is not surprising to note that 80% of consumers also wanted services that is personalized.

Data Protection Policy-the way ahead

Customer experience and personalization strategies used to meet customer needs focus on initiating direct contact with customers individually. However, regulations governing the handling of personal data and data protection have become stricter. The result of these scenarios in the business industry is that companies will have to face more challenges now as they work their way towards streamlining their CX programs. Every customer associated with a given brand trusts them with their data and it is the responsibility of the companies to protect this confidential information. Ignorance and neglect of data privacy of customers can altogether lead to failure of CX program and damage the reputation of the company badly.

The GDPR regulations have made it more than important to focus on data protection policy apart from the genuine concerns of customers. Such a policy is about simplifying and defining storage, access and protection of internal data. It should explicitly assure customers that how you are committed to and approach collection and usage of personal data of your customers. Such transparency with the customers will go a long way in ensuring trust and confidence with them and ultimately into a higher ROI, revenue growth and loyalty.

In the days of hyper personalization and improvised CX, the differentiator would be data protection, privacy and maintaining transparency. It will put you in the leadership position as you chart the ways and rules for others to follow suit. It shall build a culture of awareness responsibility in terms of data security and privacy.

Demand for transparency

With stringent data protection norms companies will be forced to retreat and keep the curtain. Companies will now need to fulfil the demand of full transparency and cannot misguide the customers with their data privacy concerns anymore. One of the main principles of GDPR is to be fair and legally upright towards maintaining transparency and informing customers about the use of personal data.

Organizations will need to maintain how they plan to use the personal data in concise, easy to understand and clearly distinct terms, free from legal complexities. As information percolates and there is increase in awareness, people are and will be proactively asking for policies and practices that are easier to access, read and understand.

Creating the right balance

All said, brands are bound to offer highly personalized services and to fulfil the expectations of today's customer require to access data pertaining to customer's behaviour, their preferences, their journey across different channels and their purchasing history. Hence, there is no way out but to manage both the expectations and concerns of the customers at the same time. Creating the right balance between data extraction, storage and data privacy will be the differentiator between brands.

Tags : Data Privacy | Customer Experience | GDPR | Data Protection | Personalized | Hyper Personalization | Customer Behaviour | Customer Journey | Data Extraction | Data Storage | Catch 22 for Brands | personalized customer experience | Digital transformation


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