Privacy: What Do You Prefer?
Break it down.
If a customer lands on your preferences page and sees a list of 50 questions, he’s likely to bail out. Break it up into several shorter pages, and keep in mind that you don’t have to get all the information at once; you can allow the customer to complete the questionnaire during subsequent visits, says McNamara. Give her a log-in she can use to return to the page to continue filling out the form at her convenience.
People move, e-mail addresses change, customers lose interest in cats and gain interest in dogs—so if you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a database full of incorrect addresses and out-of-date preferences. Give the customer access to her data, so she can change it at will. “Once you have the database integrated into the preference center, it can almost be like a contact manager in that you expose the database element to your customers and allow them to keep their own contact information up to date,” McNamara says.
You also can allow customers to respond to e-mails with information changes, says John Murphy, vice president of professional services at Kintera, which develops online solutions for nonprofits. For example, a customer can respond to a newsletter to alert you to an upcoming change of e-mail address.
Don’t rely solely on customers to keep their info updated; take action when you notice something is out-of-date. “For example, say someone subscribes to the newsletter and it’s going great for a few months, but then we get a bounceback that the e-mail address is no good,” says Morse. “We have programs that have automated bounceback operations in place to trigger a direct mail piece that goes out the next day saying, ‘Please visit the customer preferences page so we can continue the dialogue.’”