Managing customer preferences can be a delicate balancing act. It can seem like an arduous task, but ultimately the work will pay off: Your customers will thank you and that gratitude will eventually show up in tangible measures of increased customer loyalty, spending and revenues. Here are five best practices marketers should consider when collecting and managing their customers’ preferences:
1. Make it easy and intuitive for your customers and provide them with choices that make sense. Sometimes marketers encourage customers to sign up for blanket opt-ins that are too broad, which can ultimately lead to brand erosion as well as opt-outs. Customers don’t want to spend a lot of time managing their preferences, but they do want to be offered a choice about the information they receive.
Tie opts (both in and out) to a limited number of logical categories (e.g., brands, products, programs, subscriptions, channels) that will be familiar to the customer and then help them understand what they are signing up for.
A Preference Center page on your website is a good way to provide information on the various types of communications you’ll send. Also, it should give customers an easy way to select what they want to receive. Include a link to your Preference Center on all customer communications; it puts choice in your customers’ hands and will lead to more favorable outcomes (e.g., fewer global opt-outs.)
2. Create an extensible permissions framework that allows you to capture opt-ins at a very granular level. Even if your website does not allow individuals to sign up for your product newsletter via the email channel today, you might want to be that specific in the future. Permissions should map to logical categories that can be added, removed or updated easily. The framework should support permissions that have been captured historically and those that will be captured in the future. This mapping exercise can be challenging, but ultimately your customers will thank you for presenting them with messages that align to their interests.