Privacy: What Do You Prefer?
Protect their privacy.
Asking for personal information that doesn’t impact what the customer actually will receive is a big customer turn-off. “We encourage, as a best behavior, not to make the customer preference page too overbearing,” says Morse. “It’s not a survey to ask for all their personal information; it should be used only to capture information that the company can act on to make communications more timely and relevant. People will give information if they think they’re getting value.” Be sure to explain why you’re asking for personal data. For example, you might say, “We ask for your date of birth so we can help you communicate with other members who are in your demographics” or, “If you tell us your interests, we can provide special offers from our advertisers that are relevant to you.”
If you don’t explain the value that sharing information will give the customer, you also risk the chance that they’ll, for lack of a more delicate term, lie on the form. “It’s amazing how many astronauts from Afghanistan with a company size of ‘one’ you get,” says Dennis Smith, associate vice president for membership and loyalty at CNET.com. “It’s not trustworthy.”
Use the data.
Once you have data from a customer, you must use it or lose it. “When you set up a customer preference center, you’re saying, ‘I want to cater to your needs,’” says Murphy. “You want to make sure you can deliver to fulfill that promise.” The most obvious imperative is to send the customer what she signed up for; if she signed up for information on weight loss, then you’d better have something weight-loss-related to send her on a regular basis. If certain information, such as new product alerts from your advertising partners, is available only sporadically, let the customer know.